Wine Wednesday: Ho, Ho, Ho, the Holiday Wine Gift Guide is Here!

by Robin Barr Sussman on December 13, 2023 in Food+Drink,

‘Tis the season to pamper loved ones or clients with an elegant holiday wine gift. Whether you want a cult-following splurge gift, a rare wine, or to stock up for lots of holiday entertaining, we’ve got you covered.



Inglenook 2021 Blancaneaux

Photo Alexander Rubin.

Everyone has a white wine fanatic on the Christmas list, and this gem is sure to please even the pickiest aficionado. The distinctive blend of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier has nice acidity and floral and aromatic notes that pair beautifully with turkey and other poultry, but it’s also a treat as an aperitif. $68

 Lail Vineyards 2022 Blueprint Sauvignon Blanc

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According to winemakers Philippe Melka and Maayan Koschitzky, this vintage shows vibrant aromas of honeydew melon, tangerine, green and yellow apple, lime and Asian pear. “The texture is creamy and complex with grapefruit, jasmine and Bartlett pear notes. Snappy and spirited!” For the gift that gives back, ten percent of all online sales of Blueprint wines is donated to organizations deep in the fight against climate change. $60

 Kenefick Ranch 2022 Sauvignon Blanc

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Pairing perfectly with seasonal vegetables, shrimp and asparagus risotto, or chicken with fresh herbs, the Napa Valley wine has a dry aromatic profile showcasing grapefruit and tropical fruit notes. The ideal accompaniment when you want to lighten up the meal, it’s also a worthy gift for sauvignon blanc drinkers. $30

Jermann Dreams 2021 Friuli-Venezia Giulia

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Safe to say this refined Italian chardonnay is the stuff of dreams. Aromas of ripened yet vivacious fruit, melted butter, and vanilla leap from the glass and the balanced flavor and lush texture is equally exquisite. Worth every penny! $85

 Jordan Vineyard & Winery 2021 Russian River Chardonnay

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In the Alexander Valley in Healdsburg, California, find this enchanting estate owned by John Jordan specializing in French-inspired chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. Estate produced olive oil, culinary products and wine gift sets are also offered. Jordan’s chardonnay honors the finest white Burgundy with its mouth-watering acidity, bright lush fruit, French oak nuances and lingering finish. $42


Bricoleur Vineyards 2021 Russian River Pinot Noir

Photo courtesy Outshinery.

The team has expanded at Bricoleur with the addition of local renowned winemaker Bob Cabral, and his impact has already been felt on farming, sourcing, and blending decisions. For gifting and entertaining, Bricoleur’s choices are many, but the 2021 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is a favorite. The wine is perfect with Salmon Patties, as well as pork tenderloin with sautéed mushrooms or grilled tuna for a cozy holiday dinner. $65

B. Wise 2019 Fort Ross-Seaview Old Vine Pinot Noir

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The winery’s portfolio features single vineyard cabernet sauvignon from its Moon Mountain estate as well as pinot noir and chardonnay from prestige Sonoma County vineyards. Limited estate-grown varietals include cabernet franc, zinfandel, syrah, petite sirah, and tannat. Sourced from coastal vines, this pinot noir leans into red fruits and earthy nuances with a pronounced structure, youthful grip, and velvety mouthfeel. $110

 Big Basin Vineyards 2020 Alfaro Family Vineyards Pinot Noir

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Here’s a silky sipper with depth and deliciousness on the palate from the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation. Wild cherries, Fuji persimmons, mulberries and an orchid scent resonate as an exotic perfume from the glass. The region produces naturally low alcohol wines, which is fantastic for food pairings. $48


Argiano 2018 Brunello di Montalcino 

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Winemaker Bernardino Sani is bringing back the classical elegance of Argiano with this Brunello. Smooth and well balanced with balsamic and meaty nuances, the one hundred percent sangiovese pairs well with roast turkey, grilled pork, or a peppered beef tenderloin. $100

ColSolare 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Washington State

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The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon offers aromas of black currant, plum, and blackberry with subtle notes of dried herb, coffee, and loamy earth. Layered in complexity with flavors of dark cherry and cocoa, anticipate rich, refined tannins that lead to a long, elegant finish. $145

 Moone Tsai 2019 Howell Mountain Hillside Blend

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The portfolio of celebrated wines includes Bordeaux blends as well as limited production cabernets, chardonnays, micro-lot wines and more. A combination of cabernet and merlot make up this bold blend that offers glimpses of earthy lavender and intense dark ripe fruits like boysenberry, black currant and black cherries with a long finish. $170

Theorem Vineyards 2021 Moon Mountain Syrah

Photo Briana Marie Photography.

Based in Calistoga in the Napa Valley, Theorem Vineyards produces boutique wines including sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, cabernet, merlot and syrah. The syrah, rich with precision, balance, and a soft mouthfeel will wow the connoisseur on your list. Anticipate nuances of tobacco, sage, violets, ripe blackberries, plums and dried cranberries. $145            

Ram’s Gate 2020 Syrah, Richards Vineyard

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The Richards Vineyard is a very small parcel situated within a geological bowl with the Mayacamas Mountains to the east and the Annadel Ridge to the west and the vineyard sees late sunrises and early sunsets that extend the growing season. The result is a dark, hedonistic syrah with distinct aromas of sage, rosemary, and thyme – essentially creating a bouquet garni in your glass – which is a classic characteristic of this California Sonoma Valley vineyard. $80

BRION 2019 Sleeping Lady Cabernet Franc

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To be as true as possible to the grape, the Napa Valley fruit was picked on the early side of harvest which gives it a little more acidity and freshness. Aromatic and fully ripe with layered spices, expect a powerful wine with hints of blue fruit and a natural herbal scent. $250

TEXTBOOK 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles

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A proprietary blend from sub-AVAs across Paso Robles, here’s an approachable cabernet sauvignon with notes of juicy black cherry, raspberry, and hint of baking spice. $27


Grounded by Josh Phelps 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon 

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Based in Napa Valley, winemaker Josh Phelps crafts wines for a new generation of wine drinkers using sustainably grown grapes from California, Oregon and Washington. For his fresh approach and industry leadership, Phelps has been named to Forbes’ 30 under 30 list, along with Zagat’s 30 under 30 and Wine Enthusiast’s 40 under 40. His easy drinking cabernet is well-priced by the case for parties and readily available at retailers like Target. $18

Bread & Butter Wines

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Bread & Butter’s various vintages of everyday California rosé, pinot grigio, and chardonnay are approachable and easy to locate. About $15.99

Columbia Crest 2021 Grand Estates Merlot

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This Washington state merlot is for those who want a red but smoother than cabernet. Anticipate an aromatic profile with notes of chocolate, cassis, and dark cherries. About $12

Chronic Cellars Suite Petite  

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This petite syrah from Paso Robles, Calif., is everything but petite. It’s for those who like a big dark, deep and inky ripe-fruit red perfect for sipping by a fireplace on a cold night. And the whimsical label is always a conversation starter. $20

Liquid Light 2022 Chardonnay, Washington State

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This guilt-free choice will indeed keep you light on your feet with its flavorful but low calorie content. $16

True Myth 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon

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Here’s a crowd-pleasing California Central Coast cabernet that is soft enough to pair with anything and sports beautiful label art – the perfect host gift! $24


Cover photo courtesy Moon Tsai.

Robin Barr Sussman ( is a freelance culinary and travel writer who studied at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone, Calif. As a chef for Sonoma County wineries, her specialty was food and wine pairing. Sussman is a columnist for Houston Modern Luxury Magazine, Prime Living and Houston House & Home. Her work also appears in Texas Monthly, Fodor’s and Private Clubs Magazine.