Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday Shopping Made Easy

So now we're into the Holiday Season. Wine makes a great gift and perhaps you're thinking about giving a bottle to a business associate, friend, or family member. Here are some suggestions that are good for both experienced wine drinkers and novices alike, it's a selection for the Holidays of the best of the best.

1. Barolo and Barbaresco. Nebbiolo is the top grape from Piedmont, Italy and the best ones are so good and justifiably famous that they aren't classified by the grape varietal at all but by these names of these two small communes. Superior aromatics are a hallmark of these wines and words like dried cherries, leather, roses, tar, cinnamon, and tobacco come to mind. In general you'll find that Barolo tends to produce a slightly bigger, darker, and earthier wine than Barbaresco, which is a little leaner and more delicate. Great choices are Barolo from Brovia, Cogno, and Burlotto as well as Barbaresco from Produttori Del Barbaresco and Cascina Della Rose.

2. Brunello Di Montalcino. In Tuscany, the most prized reds are from the town of Montalcino where a local (and considered superior) clone of sangiovese is grown and made into Brunello. These wines are ripe, full, and powerful yet elegant, graceful and aromatic at the same time, a combination that makes them highly prized in the wine world. We have Altesino's 2004 which is sublime.

3. Napa Valley Cabernet. With their big, forward flavors and mouthfilling texture, cabernets from Napa are loved by a lot of wine drinkers. The best ones generate complexity from notes like cedar and mint leaf to go along with the ultra ripe, blackberry tinged fruit. Some selections to consider are Corison, Cultivar, Chappellet, and Bell.

4. Chateauneuf Du Pape. Considered the best terroir in Southern France for serious red wines, Chateauneuf Du Pape has the ripeness, body, and complexity that rank it with the world's greatest wines. Full, dark fruit is mingled together with savory herbs like thyme, sage, and rosemary. If a Cotes Du Rhone is your thing, try one of these.

5. Pinot Noir. Pinot noir is a noble grape and in Burgundy it's the Holy Grail for serious wine enthusiasts. Unrivaled complexity and a myriad of variation as you go through wines from village to village keep drinkers passionate about pinot noir for a lifetime. Cheveaux Clos De Vougeot (a Grand Cru) and Bouley Pommard Premier Cru "Les Fremiers" are just two examples. Also excellent to try are two stellar Sonoma wines like Chasseur "Joyce" and the legendary Hanzell Vineyards.

I hope that you are able to give the gift of one of these great wines to a worthy recipient this year or better yet, someone gives one to you!

Happy Holidays,


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