It’s the heart of the holiday season and if you’re still looking for gifts or bottles to pour at parties to ring in 2019, here are some of my favorites from a year of tasting and traveling.
Affordable Party Wines
Not only is Cariñena one of Spain’s best value wine regions, it’s also the name of a grape variety. This spicy red is ideal for pairing with just about any food. Buy it by the case.
Made with organically-grown Glera grapes, this is a bargain for bubbly drinkers.
From Sonoma’s Cline family comes a crowd-pleasing blend of red Rhone varieties. With a splash of holiday color, the packaging is stylish for gift-giving, too.
If you love sparkling wine as much as I do, Palmer is a worthy discovery. Its class and complexity are apparent in every sip of this glorious Champagne.
The New World outpost of Champagne superstar, Taittinger, Domaine Carneros crafts bubbles that rank among the best in the world. This limited-edition sparkling is a treat for any time of the year.
Impress for Less than $25
A beautiful bubbly to span the seasons, the J is crisp and juicy. Ideal by itself to indulge before dinner, it’s layered and structured enough to pour throughout a meal.
Lush and full with a kiss of oak, this blend of Semillón, Torrontés and Sauvignon Blanc is a statuesque white that is imposing yet alluring.
There is no better value in the red wine world than Gran Reserva Rioja. With years of aging, this smooth red is worth twice the price.
Diamonds of Napa Valley
This vibrantly supple wine offers chance to see why Spottswoode is one of Napa Valley’s classic stars and one of its iconic wine producers.
In an ode to the history of the famed winery, this lush blend is named for the TD-9 tractor John Shafer used when he started the iconic property in the 1970s. If you really want to splurge pick up a bottle of their Hillside Select ($295). It’s is one of my choices ‘Best Cabernet Sauvignon in the World’ status.
Listen to my podcast with Doug Shafer to find out more about their history (and mine).
If I scored wine, this one would deserve a perfect 100 points. It has everything a world-class Cabernet should have – structure, dark-fruited intensity, cellar worthiness, and impeccable balance. Love.
As one of Cognac’s most celebrated producers, this silky, medium-bodied, aromatic version from Pierre Ferrand is an ideal way to begin exploring the beauty of Cognac.
In my opinion, Hibiki is the pinnacle of Japanese whisky with its elegance and style. This stunning Limited-Edition bottle is a piece of art. Drink the whisky then save the bottle.
I just returned from a visit to El Tesoro. What an amazing spot to see. Using traditional methods to craft tequila from the Jalisco Highlands, this creamy, vanilla-scented spirit with a touch of herbal freshness is aged in bourbon barrels for up to three years. Indulge yourself…you’re worth it.
Have you ever tried wines from Virginia? You should. A historic wine region with a modern twist, it’s an emerging hot spot with wines that are garnering attention. One of the producers to look for is Early Mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s a winery to watch.
A supple red blend led by Merlot and Petit Verdot with a mélange of other varieties including the white grape, Petit Manseng. Delicious.
As a pink wine fan, I’m always on the hunt for swoon-worthy versions and found one in this delectable sipper. It’s like a ray of sunshine – drinking a glass just puts a smile on your face.
This delectable bundle includes a bottle of the 2016 Gary’s Improv Zinfandel, as well as three tins of Cliff Family dark chocolate goodies. Let me tell you…the chocolate-covered Toffee Pistachios are fabulous (and I’m pretty sure they’re very good for you).
The category of Cider is growing. The best versions are succulent, racy and complex. Eden Specialty Ciders from Vermont is creating excitement with their wide range of sips. Working with heritage apple varieties, their high-quality ciders even include a Rosé style. Sign me up.
Eden’s Heirloom Ice Cider takes up to three years to produce and you can taste the care that goes into this decadently delicious drink.
As a lover of all things bubbly, this sparkling Cider won my heart. It’s tangy and dry with a juicy kick. A wonderful way to begin your Cider journey.
Stocking Stuffers and More!
The result of my partnership with Traveling Vineyard is a dry pink wine named for the special relationship I share with my mom and daughter. Who are your three hearts? Share a bottle with them this season!
This wine preserver is easy to use and effective. It’s a must-have for any wine drinker.
Who wants wine stains on their teeth? You don’t need to worry about that with stocking-stuffer worthy Wine Nots.
When I tasted this creamy round of deliciousness, I was ready to eat the whole thing myself! You will too.
Last but not least, if you want to read about wine as WELL as drink it, try these two awesome reads.