What to buy for the holidays:
The holiday season is upon us. This blog will focus on wines for the holidays, and in three sections. Wines for a crowd, wine to bring as a guest, and cellar worthy wines for that special someone. As I was thinking about writing this blog WineSpectators top 100 arrived, and we were out shopping at Costco. Both provided critical information to share.
Wine for the Crowd
So you have a crowd coming and need some good stuff cheap. You will find a range of options. Costco was featuring in our location three wines by the case @ around $5.50 per bottle. None of these wines will be winners of any contest but at under $6 and most likely rated in low to mid 80s it is not a bad deal. Close De Bois Pinot Noir, Blackstone Merlot, and Sterling Cabernet all at around $50 per case. I also tried a Kirkland, yes Kirkland, Malbec last night. It is very drinkable. We also found a number of wines at fairly large discounts at Costco making for some good bulk buying for the masses.
In the next section you will also find some good stuff reasonable.
Wine as a gift for the host
So you are headed over to a friends house and you desire a pleasant wine to bring as a gift. What follows are wines in the $20 range. Some a little less.
- Vina Santa Ema Cabernet – rated 91 @ $15
- Dry Creek Zinfandel Sonoma County Heritage Vines rated 92 @ $22
- Santa Cristina Tuscana 2015 rated 89 @ $13
- Santa Cristina Toscana 2015 Italy This light, juicy red has black cherry, blackberry and herb flavors, with moderate grip. Merlot blend rated 90 @ $13
- Hess Family Latin America Malbec Salta Amalaya 2016 Argentina Creamy and lush, showing vibrant red fruit flavors, with good cut and length on the peppery finish.— rated 90 $16
- Turley Zinfandel California Juvenile 2015 rated 90 @ $20
- d’Arenberg Shiraz McLaren Vale The Stump Jump 2014 Australia rated 89 @ $13
- Columbia Crest Cabernet Horse Heaven Hills H3 rated 89 @ $15
- Kendal Jackson vintners reserve rated 91 @ $17
- Hess Select Chardonnay yMonterey rated 90 @ $12
- Yalumba – Viognier Eden Valley Austrialia rated 90 @ $20
- Banfi – Gavi di Gavi – Italy many Gavi di Gavis are great rated 88 @ $16. Great with seafood
- E Guigal Cotes du Rhone White rate 89 @ $15
- Muta Savingnon Blanc Australia rated 90 @ $12
Wines for the cellar
- Duckhorn produced a number of great wines in 2015. Its Merlot Three Palms was the wine of the year. The wine is rated 95 points at just under $100.
Plush and rich-tasting, with finely interwoven flavors of dark cherry, plum tart and blackberry that are accented by cocoa powder notes. Asian spice accents fill the lush finish. Drink now through 2022. 52,000 cases made
- Duckhorn Merlot – Napa – rated 92 @ $54 – this is a wonderful wine
- Chateau de St. cosme Gigondas- rated 95 @$45 really nice Shriaz
A textbook version of the brawny side of Gigondas, this offers a grippy alder bass line underneath layers of dark currant and fig fruit, while lots of tobacco, rosemary and bay leaf fill in throughout. Muscular and energetic, this is built for the cellar. Best from 2019 through 2030. 4,000 cases made
- Bedrock made a number of great zins in 2015. They made a number of different Zins all rated highly.
jammy blueberry and stony mineral aromas and deeply layered boysenberry, licorice and dark Asian spice flavors. Zinfandel and other red varieties
- Dry Creek Zinfandel Sonoma Heritage rated 92 @ $22
Zesty and expressive, with jammy black raspberry and licorice aromas and supple, layered blackberry, toasty dill and pepper flavors. Drink now through 2026. 17,500 cases made.
- Justin Justification Paso Robles rated 94 @ $50 – a nice juicy wine
Smooth-textured, graceful and refined, with a tenderness to the texture and tannins. Features a warm, inviting mix of red and dark berry flavors and subtle shades of licorice, light mocha and savory herbs, revealing floral scents and a long, persistent finish that echoes the core essence. Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Drink now through 2035. 11,000 cases made. –
- Lancaseter Cabernet – rated 94 @75
A big, rich Cabernet, with firm, structured tannins that are powerful and edgy, framing the core of blackberry, black cherry, plum and espresso flavors. An impressive effort. Best from 2019 through 2029. 4,075 cases made
- Lewis Cabernet rated 94 @ $90
A creamy textured charmer, infused with mocha and dark berry flavors and offering density and complexity, this builds on tiers of jazzy oak, polished currant and blackberry. Ends with rounded tannins that let the flavors glide on the finish. Best from 2019 through 2030. 2,000 cases made.
- Hall Cabernet rated 93 @ $80
A seductive style that mixes jazzy, mocha-scented oak, pure dark berry, spice, gravel and cedar flavors and fine-grained tannins, making for a distinctive drink. Drink now through 2030. 4,134 cases made.
- Raymond Cabernet rated 92 @ $40
Note: It is not unusual for Costco to have a high end section of wines. In fact we have bought a number of very high end wines at Costco. In Waltham MA the high end wines are to the left of cash registers. Other locations have them in the stores. Look closely and it is my suggestion use the ratings from Wine Spectator and Robert Parker as your guide. If by chance both rate a specific wine highly then you will most likely love it.
Without going into the Montrachet range you will find some very good Chardonnays:
- Beringer Private Reserve rated 92 @ $48 – a great white wine
Beautifully crafted, rich and layered, with tiers of smoky oak, buttery fig and tangerine, showing touches of fig and melon. Adds up to a delightfully lingering aftertaste. Drink now through 2020. 8,051 cases made.
- Lewis Chardonnay
- Shafer Chardonnay rated 93 @ $52
Rich and spicy, featuring an elegant mix of baked apple, honeydew melon, pear and light minerally notes. Ends full and persistent, with a long, layered aftertaste. Drink now through 2021. 6,700 cases made
- Kosta Browne Chardonnay rated 92 @ $62
Charming for the rich, creamy mix of anise, pear, fig and apricot notes. A wine that is both intense and, at points, seamless and refined. Ends with edgy tannins but complex flavors. Drink now through 2022. 2,337 cases made.
- La Crema Chardonnay Russian River rated 92 @ $30
Pure and lively, with flavors of lemon meringue, green apple, honeydew and spice. Though rich and dense, this is also elegant. The vibrancy keeps the flavors dancing. Drink now through 2021. 21,104 cases made