Wine is a great gift to give, to take to a party to share with the host, or to just savor with a great meal and friends. This is not an exhaustive list, but should give you a place to start along with 'around' price.
Bubbles are always a great gift when you are not sure what to get. Here are a couple of our favorites.
Beau Joie Brut Champagne
93 points Wilford Wong
This bottle not only holds great Champagne from Champagne, France, it is a beautiful bottle. The innovative hand-crafted bottle has a copper casing designed to look good and it’s designed to keep the champagne colder for longer. Aromas of honeysuckle, apple, pear, and bread with flavors of peach, grapefruit, toasted bread and sourdough. Beautiful from the bottle to the empty glass. Priced around $90.
Lanson 1760 Champagne Black Label Brut
90+ points from all major wine rating agencies
Le Black Label Brut is an iconic Champagne name, originating in 1937 and named for Victor Lanson as a tribute to the Royal Court of England. Lanson has been supplying the Royal Court with Champagne since 1900. The authentic style is crafted from a rich and diverse palette of wines that highlight the full diversity of Champagne terroir. The method stays true to the origins of Champagne. The lengthy ageing process, three times longer than the official requirements of the appellation, allowing it to combine maturity and vitality. Its freshness and elegance will seduce both the sprightly enthusiast and the most seasoned of connoisseurs. Racy acidity is tightly meshed to flavors of ripe red and black currant, preserved lemon, chopped almond and honeycomb in this sleek Champagne, with a fine, chalky bead. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier. Priced around $50.
Here are some fun and unusual white wine recommendations.
Chimney Rock Elevage Blanc 2020
Elevage Blanc is a complex white wine that has depth and great potential for aging but is also enjoyable to drink now. It provides aromas of white peach, fresh papaya, with hints of brioche, citrus, and pear caramel. Full-bodied and rich with viscosity weight, this wine demonstrates both subtle acidity and a long, broad finish. Drink between 2023 and 2027. Priced around $50.
Folktale Le Mistral “The White Witch” 2020
88 points Wine Enthusiast
Le Mistral pays homage to the intense wind that blows from the Mediterranean through our vines each afternoon. This maritime influence is key to the beautiful, layered flavor development of our grapes. New world fruit in an old world style. This blend of 37% Grenache Blanc, 23% Marsanne, 21% Roussanne and 19% Viognier is sharp on a lot of fronts, starting with lemon peel, lime balm and grapefruit zest aromas. There's a wild edge to the palate, where puckery lemon-peel combined with flavors of peach, apricot, honeydew melon, chalk, almond husk, and hay notes evolve as the wine opens. The wine has moderate acidity and is balanced with a soft texture and creaminess that should pair with a variety of cheeses or seafood. Best to drink between 2022 and 2024. Priced around $18.
Three Sticks Chardonnay 2016
95 points Wine Enthusiast and Decanter and 91 points Connoisseurs’ Guide
This wine is from the producer’s Estate Vineyard, and offers flavors of white flowers, Meyer lemon, melon and mineral that mingle effortlessly on the medium-bodied palate. Beautifully layered and balanced, it lingers in tones of nutmeg, crushed rock, and lemongrass. Best between 2019 and 2023. Priced around $50.
Bodyguard Chardonnay 2020
90 points Wine Enthusiast
Bodyguard Chardonnay is a tribute to Marie Daou. In her honor, we have partnered with women around the globe who also exemplify strength and grace. Each custom, limited edition item features a handcrafted specifically for DAOU by inspirational women artists around the globe. This wine has flavors of lime leaf, crumbled herb and chiseled stone aromas hit the nose in this bottling, a new project for the Daou brothers. The palate is bright in a citrus tonic flavor, with a Key lime pie element that arises as well. Drink between 2020 and 2025. Priced around $35.
Red wine suggestions. There are many great options not listed here. These are a few of my favorites.
94 points Robert Parker & 93 points Wine Spectator
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Bordeaux Blend Papillon springs from the glass with plum preserves, baked blackcurrants and black mulberries with touches of menthol, tobacco leaf and pencil lead. Full-bodied, the palate has a firm texture of ripe, grainy tannins with a lively line and a long earthy finish. It also has an very unique label, sure to enhance this wonderful wine. Best from 2022 through 2034. Priced around $77.
Mt Brave Mt. Veeder Cabernet Franc 2016
94 points & Editors’ Choice Wine Enthusiast
This 100% varietal wine offers earthy sage, diesel, tar and dried herb tones around a core of tart black fruit. Additional accents of gunpowder and toasted oak creep in on the midpalate. The structure is impressive and well-integrated. The is a classic and delicious Cabernet Franc. Best between 2020 and 2033. Priced around $74.
Lokoya Howel Mountain 2009
93 points Robert Parker
Deep garnet in color, this Cabernet Sauvignon from Howell Mountain offers up pronounced notes of baked cherries, blackberry preserves and warm cassis with touches of espresso, mincemeat pie and tree bark plus a waft of dried herbs. Full-bodied, the palate is laden with Indian spices, fragrant herbs and warm black fruits with a chewy frame and earthy kick to the finish. Only 195 cases were made in 2009 and we have a few bottles still available. Best to drink between 2015 and 2034. Priced around $270.
96 points Robert Parker
A brilliant wine from the Kendall-Jackson family. A blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Merlot, mostly coming from mountain vineyards owned by the Jackson family, is fabulous. It is a dense purple-colored, a big, sweet kiss of crème de cassis as well as licorice, blackberry and espresso are all present in this full-bodied, rather sublime and intense Cabernet that should drink well for 25 or more years. This was aged in about 91% new French oak for 18-20 months prior to bottling. It is certainly one of the finest Cardinales I have tasted in my experience. Best to drink between 2019 and 2035. Price around $210.
Velvet Glove 2017
96 points Robert Parker, 94 points Wine Spectator
This Shiraz is reminiscent of a lush, chocolate-covered raspberry, a mouth-filling one imbued with a uniquely plush, supple texture and a lingering finish. There are hints of mint, pepper and anise to bring complexity and a slight savory-herbal edge, but much of this wine's considerable charm is in the way it feels in the mouth, caressing, expansive and complete. The presentation is as beautiful as the wine inside coming in a black velvet bag. Drink between 2020 and 2032. Priced around $195.
Verite La Joie 2009
96 points Robert Parker
A blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 9% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec, the 2009 La Joie sports a very deep garnet color. It opens with baked plums, licorice and blackcurrant cordial notes on steroids with an undercurrent of oolong tea, aged meats, fragrant earth and new leather plus a waft of black olives. Medium to full-bodied, it delivers mouth-filling evolved black fruits and earthy sparks with a foundation of firm, chewy tannins and soft freshness, finishing long with some herbal accents coming through. Drink between 2017 and 2041. Priced around $290.