Hosting a holiday feast at your house this year? Have oenophiles on your shopping list? There’s a wine – and price point – for everyone on this list of ten special bottles.
10Château Le Puy “Emilien,” Francs Côtes de Bordeaux, France, 2012, $40
With 400-years of grape growing under the Amoreau family’s belt, le Puy remains surprisingly under-the-radar to American consumers. Tucked between the appellations of Pomerol and Saint-Emilion, this biodynamic property makes superb, long-lived Merlot-based wines.
9Spottswoode Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California, 2014, $190
Organically-farmed and family-owned, this consistently excellent producer has just released their 2014 estate Cab. Showing focus, density, and power balanced by elegance, the hallmark of their style, it earns the price tag. Enjoyable now (but it wouldn’t hurt to wait.)
8Guigal “Brune et Blonde,” Côte-Rôtie, Northern Rhône, France, 2013, $78
This well-known wine family from the Rhône Valley produces one the finest examples of Côte-Rôtie’s most famous soils. Blending Cote Brune, darker soils of clay and iron, with Cote Blonde, a lighter mix of schist and limestone, brings the best of both sites: structure and depth with elegance and perfume.
7Maison Olivier Bernstein, Les Lavrottes, Chambolle-Musigny, Burgundy, France, 2014, $140
Technically a négociant, Bernstein and his team take responsibility for the vineyard work on their plots. The 2014 Les Lavrottes, a site of younger vines (relative to the rest), entices with red fruits, spice and rose petals on the nose, and brims with juicy raspberry folded into dusty tannins on the long finish.
6Bruno Giacosa, Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2014, $124.99
Considered by many the greatest traditional winemaker in Barolo, Giacosa’s Barbarescos are slightly easier to find. Cast a wide net when searching for Giacosa vintages on the market, but the 2014, available in a few online stores, impresses with opulent cherry notes layered with classic tar and rose petals.
5Thibaud Boudignon, Savennières Les Fougerais, Loire Valley, France, 2015, $60
Boudignon is of the most exciting young winemakers in Savennières, a small appellation in the Anjou region of the Loire growing Chenin Blanc on schist. If you can’t find this bottle, track down anything from him; the wines will appeal to lovers of organic artisan producers and, of course, Chenin.
4Weingut Dönnhoff Riesling Dellchen GG, Nahe, Germany 2016, $60
The Dönnhoff family has been farming in the Nahe region of Germany for 250 years, turning fully to winemaking in 1971. The Dellchen GG Riesling, bone dry, mineral-laced, and elegant, testifies to Dönnhoff’s year over year recognition by critics as a top estate.
3Ramey, Platt Vineyard Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, California, 2014, $65
For lovers of cooler-climate Cali Chardonnay, David Ramey’s Platt Vineyard delivers a beautiful expression. A master of the grape, Ramey sources fruit from his chilliest vineyard to create a focused, mineral-driven wine that leans towards the Asian pear and citrus spectrum of flavors.
2Domaine Dauvissat, 1er Cru La Forest, Chablis, France, 2015 $89
Few wines in the world better serve the holiday season than white Burgundy; and from Chablis, the father-and-son team at Dauvissat transcend their peers. Collectors may know their grand crus, but in-the-know drinkers buy La Forest, a premier cru at half the price that achieves depth and complexity akin to the top of their pyramid.
1Loimer, Langenlois Spiegel Grüner Veltliner, Kamptal, Austria, 2016, $59.99
With Grüner Veltliner commonly reduced to an easy-drinking party wine, it’s easy (for Americans anyway) to forget that Austria makes stunning, complex expressions worthy of the dinner table. Fred Loimer from Kamptal turns Grüner into a creamy, layered food wine from his Spiegel vineyard.