Aside from summer, it’s the most wonderful time of year – because you get to give and receive great bottles of wine! Based on some of my favorite bottles of 2014, here’s what to give or what to tell everyone to give you (there are 12 total so you can make a whole case out of them!).
for the risk taker
Cast Your Fate to the Wind Cab Franc: Cab Franc is my favorite grape on Long Island. This one from Southold Farms has the typical North Fork funk to it, but it was well-crafted and elegant. $32 here.
Arbois Trousseau: Trousseau was my grape of the year! I discovered it at a Jura wines tasting and fell in love. Super light and earthy red. Just absolutely perfect for a pre-dinner sipper or refreshing in spring, summer, and fall. Heck, I’ll drink it in winter too! $34 here
Abbazia di Novacella Gewürztraminer: Great winery with lovely wines (love their Kerner too) and pretty labels (I point this out because when you’re giving a gift it’s important, don’t lie). When we visited the winery in Italy, the guy pulled this bottle out of a cold well right in the vineyard, next to the vines that grew it – awesome. $22 here
for the easy breezy frolicker
Chateau Pradeaux rosé: This was one of my winners form the rosé taste test we did this summer on the sidewalk (I miss summer!!!). Always trust Bandol. $25 here
Pazo Senorans Albarino: This is super peachy with a hint of apricot – totally delicious and my fave from all my travels in Rias Baixas. Great acid and very elegant. $23 here
J Vineyards Vin Gris: Just loved this rosé – rich strawberry fruit and super refreshing ($20 here).
Poivre et Sel Pineau d’Aunis: I so dig this light and fruity red! It’s a blend of Pineau d’Aunis and 20% Gamay that’s blueberry, cranberry and earthy. Drink it with a little chill on it. $24 here
for that strong, solid type
Emmolo Merlot: The other day someone asked me if Merlot is a cheesy wine. Noooo. I can’t believe Sideways is still having ripple effects – Merlot makes some of the best wine in the world! Lots is made cheaply and badly, but this Emmolo was lush and cinnamon-y and delicious. $60 here
L’Ecole No. 41 “Apogee” Pepper Bridge Vineyard: A blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 7% Malbec, and 3% Cabernet Franc, and was named after trying to reach the highest level of quality from the vineyard. All rich blackberry fruit and mellow tobacco. $49 here
for the classic lover
Masut Pinot Noir: Ugh, YES. I love finding a Pinot Noir that’s not crazy expensive like in Burgundy or crazy fruity like in Sonoma. This is such a perfect balance – gorgeous black cherry fruit, some tartness, some earthiness. My favorite wine from Mendocino and just a big fan of it in general. $40 here.
Dauvissat Vaillons Chablis: Premier Cru Chablis is so good, and this one is fantastic. Lots of slatey mineral, racy and complex. $76 here
1978 Latour: If you’ve got the coin, this is one of the best wines I’ve ever had. We cracked it open for my dad’s birthday this summer. He bought it in 1983 for $55. It now costs wayyyyyyy more, so splurge or invest in some young Bordeaux that you can crack open years from now.