Fine Wine

A Wealth of Choices

The wine culture in this country has been growing by leaps and bounds.  It’s no longer something that we savor only on special occasions.  We explore it, find it, consume it and we share it everyday.

With the holidays fast approaching, everyone will soon begin to consider what gifts they want for family and friends.

The wine question I hear most often during this time of year is “What you do have for someone that already has EVERTHING in their wine cellar?”

I think there are two approaches to that question.  The first is finding that special wine that anyone would love to claim as theirs…the prestige wine.  These are the rare ones that wine aficionados collect like artwork, both superb in quality and with potential to improve with age.

Two of my top, “you can never go wrong” recommendations are Cabernet Sauvignons and French Champagnes.

Among a wealth of choices, here are some that are definite stand outs.

Bryant Family Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon-This cult cab is very small production, highly sought after and also lives up to the hype.  It has consistently been reviewed with some of the highest scores vintage after vintage.  It’s rare, expensive, will age for decades.  A bottle of the 2011 vintage will set you back $689.99.

Other Cabernets that warrant consideration are the Caymus Special Selection ($199.99) which has set a standard of consistency and quality for years and Silver Oak, a legendary winery that only makes cabernets…one from Napa Valley ($118.00) and a second from Alexander Valley ($74.99).

Among French Champagnes the elite are referred to as Tête de Cuvée or Cuvée Prestige.

These are made only in outstanding vintages and comprise a mere 1-2% of all the sparkling wine made in the world.

The two most famous are Moët & Chandon’s Dom Pérignon ($179.99) and Louis Roederer’s Cristal ($249.99)

Other notable Cuvée Prestige are Veuve Clicqout’s La Grand Dame ($154.99),

Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne ($194.99) and Perrier-Jouet’s Belle Epoque ($179.99).

The second approach to gift giving for a hardcore wine lover is finding that cool, unusual alternative to the wines they already know and love. For the vino fans that like to explore the possibilities, here are some suggestions for gift giving or for you to try this holiday season.

Tignanello ($118.99) is one of the original Super Tuscans, wines made in the Tuscany region of Italy that combine traditional Sangiovese grapes with non-traditional varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine has had a worldwide following and reputation for quality since its creation in 1974.

Cheval de Andes ($69.99) is a collaboration between the renowned French Bordeaux maker Cheval Blanc and the Argentinean wine house of Terrazas de Los Andes: a blend of Malbec from Argentina and Cabernet from plantings in France that results in an old world Bordeaux style wine with new world value.

Figgins Estate Red Wine ($95.99) is second label from the Figgins family that owns the esteemed Leonetti Cellars in Washington State. Figgins is a rich and balanced blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot that bookends Leonetti’s excellent Cabernet Sauvignon.

Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Champagne Cuvée Cuis 1er Cru ($59.99) is what is known as “Grower” Champagne.  These very small production, handcrafted Champagnes are made exclusively by the families that grow the grapes and are often made from fruit of just a single vineyard.

Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad ($24.99) is a Spanish Cava or sparkling wine made from only the first pressing of the grapes of each vintage and aged on the lees for 30 months in the bottle.  It has superb depth and complexity as well as offering tremendous value.

When the wine you choose is a gift there’s never an issue of what to do with it.

Of course, the more wine you purchase for yourself, the more space you’ll need to store it.

Though many of us buy our wine on Thursday and drink it by Sunday, wine cellars are still popular and a wise investment for anyone that wants to buy wine in volume and keep it properly for the long term.

And who knows, if you do start your own wine collection, then maybe….just maybe, someone will give you that special bottle that makes your wine cellar complete.