For years I have enjoyed working with the inimitable Kathie Lee Gifford. We have had so much fun tasting and pairing wines through the years and she will be sorely missed. In honor of her time at the Today Show, Ray Isle and I toasted her with 6 wines fit for a legend.
One: Wonder Women of Wine
Since Kathie Lee is a female vintner herself, we chose two wines not only made by women, but also honor women in their name and labels.
Ray: 2018 Mas de la Dame “La Gourmande” Rosé Provence, France $19
A charming medieval village in Provence is home to the Mas de la Dame Estate, which translates to “the farm of the lady,” a nod to owners Anne Poniatowski and Caroline Missoffe, the dynamic female duo behind this winery. The crisp, berry-scented La Gourmand Rosé is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre and 10% Cinsault, all grown organically.
Leslie: 2017 Bodegas Septima “Obra” Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina $20
Winemaker, Paula Andrea Borgo, helms the stunning property in Argentina set in the backdrop of the Andes Mountains. Meaning the “seventh” winery of a Spanish wine company, Bodegas Septima focuses on vibrant, intense wines. This Malbec is smooth yet refreshing. The label showcases an angel who — after toiling to create the beautiful wine — is peacefully at rest.
Two: SB for Kathie Lee?
Leslie and Ray aim to convince Kathie Lee that she really DOES love Sauvignon Blanc with these two affordable bottles. One is Old World and the other, a New World surprise.
Leslie: 2017 La Petite Perriere Sauvignon Blanc, France $10
When it comes to value, this white tops my list for zesty yet layered Sauvignon Blanc. It is a wine to buy by the case. Created by the Saget family who is lauded in Sancerre for their classic La Perriere bottling, this is a juicy, crowd-pleasing sipper to pair with fish, salads and grilled vegetables.
Ray: 2017 Beyond Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa $10
An extraordinary steal at $10, this citrusy, elegant white will convince even a Sauvignon-skeptic of its deliciousness. South African Sauvignons tend to walk a line between the fruitiness of California versions and the grassy, peppery notes of New Zealand, and this one is no exception.
Three: Legends in a glass
These two wines rank at the top of world-class Chardonnays. Wines made from the classic white grape are among Kathie Lee’s favorites.
Leslie: 2016 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, Napa Valley, California $58
When it comes to wine legends, Chateau Montelena hits the pinnacle of fame. The historic Calistoga property helped put California wine on the world wine map when it bested French Chardonnay in the famed 1976 Paris Tasting. A complex and elegant white built to enjoy now or age for up to a decade.
Ray: 2016 Gaja Gaia & Rey Chardonnay, Langhe, Italy $175
One of the great Chardonnays of the world, Gaia & Rey is the handiwork of legendary Piedmontese vintner Angelo Gaja, and named after his daughter Gaia Gaja. Admittedly, it’s extremely expensive, but its layers of citrus, melon, toast and minerals speak to its excellence—plus we hear it’s Kathie Lee’s favorite wine in the world, and who can argue with that?