#WineWednesday: Deck the Halls with Holiday Wine Gifts

by Robin Barr Sussman on December 14, 2022 in Food+Drink, Gift Guides,
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Tis the season to pamper loved ones or clients with an elegant holiday wine gift. From winning whites to luxurious reds, global finds, wine gift packs, and epicurean perks, we’re uncorking our master guide to last minute gifts!

WINTER WHITES

Inglenook Blancaneaux 2020

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Sharing its name with one of the Family Coppola hideaway hotels in Belize, Blancaneaux—meaning “white waters” in French—is Inglenook’s preeminent white wine. This distinctive blend features Rhone varietals roussanne, viognier and Marsanne, resulting in an exquisite range of flavors, a dense palate, and intriguing aromatics. An exceptional bottle for that VIP on your list ($68).

Bricoleur Vineyards

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Since opening this amazing estate a few years ago in Sonoma County, family owned Bricoleur has not stopped evolving. Besides its full portfolio of well-crafted vino, recent perks include chef food and wine pairings and a full line of gourmet products, many of which are prepared from the garden (check out the Holiday Gift Guide below). Its 2021 unoaked chardonnay is a fine start for holiday pairings ($36) but also consider the 2019 pinot noir magnum if you have a group ($150).

 Benovia Winery

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Benovia’s 2020 Russian River Valley chardonnay bursts with aromas of Asian pear and citrus blossom with notes of ripe apricot and white peach. Catch nuances of toasted almond and spice cake on the long, luxurious finish ($45). The renowned pinot noir collection is just as thrilling and its zinfandel is spectacular for the zin fanatic.

LUXURIOUS REDS

Jordan Vineyard & Winery

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This iconic Sonoma County winery, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary, has a stronghold on producing classic Bordeaux-style wine that magically pairs with everything. Its 2018 Alexander Valley cabernet sauvignon is a showstopper with flavors of blackberry and boysenberry enveloped in silky tannins and enticing vanilla bean and hazelnut on the long finish ($60). The Russian River chardonnay is also French-inspired with mouth-watering acidity, fresh flavors and French oak nuances ($40).

Keller Estate

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Velvety and medium-bodied, the 2018 La Cruz Petaluma Gap Sonoma Coast pinot noir is a treat with allspice, tea and forest notes. Its bright acidity carries flavors of strawberry, pomegranate, and a kiss of mint. ($55)

Lail Vineyards

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Blueprint 2019 Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon has a cult following for its gorgeous black cherry and boysenberry aromas, and finely balanced flavors of blue and red fruits with notes of cocoa, black olive and sage. Ten percent of all online sales of Blueprint cab are donated to organizations fighting climate change ($90).

FOR THE PURIST

Fresh Vine Wine

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This premier producer of lower carb, lower sugar, lower calorie and gluten-free premium wines recently released a holiday-ready sparkling brut rosé, making it the seventh varietal in its expanding portfolio. Right now, set your radar on its Napa Holiday Gift Box. The impressive package includes three bottles of Fresh Wine’s award-winning 2020 California cabernet sauvignon ($85).

Grounded by Josh Phelps

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Crafted from sustainably farmed fruit grown in California, Josh Phelps’ sauvignon blanc ($15) and cabernet sauvignon ($18) are terrific values to purchase by the case or in duos. Widely available at retailers like Target when in a pinch!

Wander & Ivy

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Organic. No added sugar. No added flavors or preservatives. What’s not to like? Expect single-serving reusable bottles with a variety of wines spanning the globe per gift pack. Ready to gift 5-pack boxes are on sale now—learn more about the options and prices here.

SPLURGE GIFTS

Theorem Vineyards

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The secret to learning about this striking winery located on Diamond Mountain in Calistoga and owned by Houstonians Jason and Kisha Itkin, is to schedule a tasting. Keepers of the Key have access to the luxurious wines including the flagship Voir Dire cabernet, merlot, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and syrah (starting at $110).

Daou Vineyards

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This popular Paso Robles winery offers several splurge-worthy gifts but Sleigh Bells is the best of all worlds. Shipped in a gift box, expect one bottle each of reserve rosé, reserve chardonnay and reserve Unbound cabernet blend, as well as a leather luggage tag—for that trip to wine country you’ve been dreaming of ($145).

LOCAL FLAVOR

Texas Fine Wine Group

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If you’re looking for someone to handle the gift decisions for you, as well as ship it to your front door, order the Texas Fine Wine Holiday Bundle.  The kit includes one wine each from Bending Branch Winery, Duchman Family Winery, Pedernales Cellars, and Spicewood Vineyards ($135 plus tax, shipping is included).

FOR THE GLOBETROTTER

Alto Adige

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St. Michael Eppan Fallwind pinot grigio is an elegant and affordable option ($23) from the world famous Alto Adige region of Italy. Optionally, the Abbazia di Novacella sauvignon blanc is a zesty sip made in the Old World style with an easy-open, yet discreet, screwcap ($24).

De Négoce

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This newly launched brand from wine icon Cameron Hughes features award-winning wines from Washington, Oregon and beyond priced at a discount online only. During these inflationary times, pluck wines that typically sell for about eight times the price! Its 2020 syrah from Chile and 2018 syrah from Carneros-Napa both impress ($20-$32), but expect myriad varietals to choose.

Trapiche Medalla

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Known for its approachable and distinctive malbec collection, here’s the 2019 full bodied and surprisingly smoky, warmly spiced Argentinean chardonnay for friends who say they don’t like chardonnay. And the price is always right, no matter the occasion ($20).

WINE-FRIENDLY EPICUREAN TREATS

 Jordan Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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Rows of thriving olive trees on the winery property create this golden nectar in a bottle. Gourmands will savor every drop of the 2021 vintage—think aromas of artichokes and a creamy palate boasting layers of pistachio, white pepper, and a hint of jalapeno on the buttery finish ($29).

Bricoleur Vineyards Gift Guide

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From estate made butter biscuits (galettes bretonnes) to Breakfast in Bed with bubbly, and a Baby It’s Cold Outside chocolate bundle, anything is possible at Bricoleur for your gifting needs (various price points).

Gather & Graze Holiday Bundle

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Featuring a selection of True Story Food’s premium hors d’oeuvre-ready meats, this coveted bundle contains two packages each of prosciutto dry-cured in the Pocono mountains; uncured Genoa salame flavored with a secret blend of spices and a splash of red wine; and addictive applewood smoked Kurobuta (the Wagyu of pork) bacon. A bonus Holiday Appetizer Guide is also included ($49.99).

BUY WINE: Order directly from each website or check with Houston Wine Merchants, Austin Wine Merchants and Spec’s for special ordering and availability.

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Cover Photo courtesy Jordan Winery

Robin Barr Sussman (rbs@pdq.net) 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 CityBook, Get Lost Houston, Prime Living and Houston House & Home. Her work also appears in Texas Monthly, Fodor’s and Private Clubs Magazine.