It’s your very grapey gift guide for 2013! Fret no more about what wine to buy the lucky gift-getters in your life. Here were some of my favorite bottles this year, for so many different reasons, and who they’d be make great presents for.
rad chick: Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch Riesling
Best. Name. Ever. The winemaker said, “If you eat lunch in your finery, grab a shotgun and see where it comes from.” It has a sustainability message, but is also just a super fun name and great label. The Riesling is full of lime, white flower petals, a tiny bit of powder and a perfect dose of acid. It’s from Fowles Winery in Strathbogie Ranges in Victoria, Australia. Strathbogie? Another awesome name. $35, available at Whole Foods in Beverly Hills and northern VA or Ambassador Wines in NYC.
cheerful chick: Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc
As I said last week, the Merry name makes this the greatest Christmas wine. And I love the Sauvignon Blanc with its nymphy label, $32. The Pinot Noirs are also pretty nice, and the label is a much more conservative rose and hands thing.
rocker: 2010 Landslide Fire Cabernet Sauvignon
All of Cliff Lede’s vineyards are named after rock songs. Once a year, they make a new blend from two vineyards. This year’s grapey mashup is made from “Landslide” and “Light My Fire.” I think Stevie, Jim, and the rocker in your life would be psyched to sip it. $95 here
relocator: Tablas Creek Mourvèdre
Mourvèdre is really known as the third most important player in the Rhône region. But Tablas Creek
took their experience in the Rhône to Paso Robles, CA, and bottled this grape all on its own – and its mineraly currant flavor is awesome. If you’ve got a friend who just recently moved, send them this to prove it’ll go well. $40
scaling the heights: Catena White Stones Chardonnay
This was the mind blower of my Argentina trip, and it wasn’t altitude sickness. The vineyards are
at 4757 feet, which is what seems to make these grapes so great and the wine so minerally and elegant. It’s pricey but worth it, so splurge on somebody (and make them share it with you). $76 here
summer lover: Chêne Bleu rosé
As all grapefriends know, I love rosé all year round. a) It’s great with spicy food, b) a roaring fireplace is making you dream of summer days, c) you just love the taste. (All of the above is a perfectly acceptable answer, too.) I’d gift my favorite rosé of the year, Chêne Bleu, which is soooo deliciously raspberry and peachy. $33 here
explorer: Domaine de la Butte “Mi Pente” or Vietti Roero Arneis
If “trying new things” is on someone’s list of New Year’s resolutions, give them a new grape to try. Lots of people geek out over Cab Francs form the Loire – I usually don’t, until I had this one. Amazing cranberry, purple florals and lots of mineral. LOVED it, $38 here
. Next on my new-love list was this Arneis, a grape from the Roero region in Piedmont. White floral, lemon, and green melon all mix together into crisp deliciousness, $22 here
play it safers: Pinot from all over
When people ask me what bottle of wine to get someone, I usually just say Pinot Noir. It’s light enough not to offend anyone, and complex enough to probably amaze everyone. I’ve detailed a ton of Pinots in the past, some of my new faves this year were: Steven Kent
‘s La Rochelle, Donum Estate from Sonoma, $75, and even their Santa Lucia Highlands is good, $38; Barda Chacra
from Patagonia $29; and Morey-Coffinet
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chaumes from Burgundy, $27 and up.