Luxist Holiday Guide: Bottles to Bring, Wine
What: Four Vines 2002 Zin-Syrah Port
Where: I brought this to a Thanksgiving dinner with my homemade pecan pie but it would be even more decadent with a flourless chocolate cake or a box of truffles to be opened at the end of dinner party. This Port-style dessert wine has raspberry and plum notes and a jammy sweetness.
How Much: $25 (plus shipping) from the vineyard
What: Schramsberg 2002 Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine
Where: When you want California sparkling wine, it's best to head straight to Schramsberg. Their 2002 Blanc de Blancs is the type of bottle you could bring to a larger party and open immediately. It's a friendly sparkler that will appeal to most palates and matches well with cheese and fruits.
How Much: it retails for $32.50
What: The Melsuine 2003
Why: One of the fun things about giving wine is the chance to show them something they might not purchase otherwise. Case in point, The Melsuine, which Anne Metz recommended earlier this year on this blog. The story of the wine alone, will leave you smitten. The Austrian wine comes from Marion Ebner, who tends the grapes at the Schloss Gobelsburg winery. The white wine is rich in fruit and spice with a white pepper finish. Bring to a party with a female host who is interested in great wine made by a woman.
How Much: It sells for $58.99
What: Hyde de Villaine 2004 Syrah
Why: French wine or California wine? Why not have the best of both worlds. The Hyde de Villaine wines represent the collaboration of French know-how and Napa vineyards. The result is California wine with a French accent. I attended a tasting last spring and really enjoyed these elegant wines. The 2004 Syrah and 2003 Bordeaux-style Proprietary Red are new releases. They both could use a bit of cellaring so I might give these as a host gift to someone who has a cellar stocked with treasures.
How Much: Both the 2004 Syrah and the 2003 Proprietary Red are $60 from the vineyard
What: Used Automobile Parts Wine
Why: Sometimes it's fun to bring a wine that gets people talking. Case in point, Used Automobile Parts wine which features the quirky name in elegant 22K gold script. What will also get people curious is that the three pack of wines comes with three different closures, screw cap, Zork, or the new German Vino-Seal. Not to worry, the stuff inside is pretty good too. It's a Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec sourced solely from Napa Valley vineyards.
How Much: $50 each or $150 for the three pack with different closures
What: Mer Soleil 2001 Late Harvest Viognier
Why: I've been a fan of late harvest Chardonnay for a few years and love Viognier whites but hadn't experienced late harvest Viognier wine until this year. The Mer Soleil late harvest Viognier has a pleasingly floral nose and flavors of apricots and honey. Just don't tell anyone that this dessert wine's great flavor comes from grapes affected by botrytis (mold) but then that's the key ingredient in many fine cheeses. Bring to a dinner party where you know that dessert isn't chocolate (this would work well with a fruit tart or perhaps a creme brulee).
How Much: $34
What: Dom Perignon 1996 Rosé
Why: As I have noted before on this blog, 1996 was a good year for Champagne with many of the houses declaring it a vintage year. If you have something really wonderful to celebrate, show up with the 1996 Dom Perignon Rosé. It's pale pink color, subtle berry flavor and astronomical price make sure you won't just show up with it anywhere but wherever you do go you will be welcomed with open arms.
How much: $400
What: 1999 Orneilla
Why: The phrase "Super-Tuscan" always invokes a bit of excitement. Ornellaia is created from 63 acres with various clones of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and a splash of Cabernet Franc. The wines are separately aged for one year in French barrels and then blended. The wine has the big presence of a classic Italian, spicy with blackberry flavors and the luscious plush mouthfeel that makes the Super Tuscans so craveworthy.
How Much: $149
What: Darioush 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon
The Darioush Estate Vineyards in Napa Valley create lovely Cabernet Sauvignons which are meant to be enjoyed now rather than stashed in a cellar. The grapes are grown in the cooler-climates of southern Napa Valley and on the rocky slopes of Mt. Veeder. The wine hits the nose with berry and chocolate and is rich in spice flavors with soft tannins. The winery recommends decanting so you may want to make sure you bring this somewhere that the wine will get the appropriate treatment.
How Much: It sells for $150 from the vineyard
What: Royal Tokaji Wine Company 1999 Essencia
Tasting the Royal Tokaji 1999 Essencia isn't so much drinking wine as it is an event (elaborate dinners are planned around this stuff). The precious elixir comes in a brass-hinged oak box with a Hungarian crystal sipping spoon that delivers 33 sips from the 500 ml bottle. Devilishly sweet and rich in flavors of apricots, quinces, marmalade and butterscotch, it offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Enjoy with 33 of your nearest and dearest.
How Much: $500