It’s the first day of winter and that means it’s the perfect time to cozy up next the fire place with your loved ones and a perfect glass of red. We rounded up all the best wines for the holiday season that works with every budget! Whether you’re bringing a bottle home to the parents or suppling a few for a gathering with friends, we’ve got you covered!
Clos Du Val Hirondelle Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (SRP: $120)
It may be hard to imagine now, but in the early 1970s, Napa Valley was not well known outside small circles. It was a handful of wineries, including Clos Du Val, who helped bring the quiet winemaking valley to the world’s attention. Today, this family-owned winery is still making news and gaining fans for their distinctive Cabernets and warm hospitality. Look for their flagship Hirondelle Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon with its deep violet and luscious earthy aromas. And no visit to Napa Valley is complete without a stop at their brand new Hirondelle Housetasting room.
Jamieson Ranch Vineyards Double Lariat Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($55)
Each vintage, Jamieson Ranch Vineyards Winemaker Linda Trotta aims to make a “true representation of Napa Valley.” That’s no easy feat, but her efforts are being recognized! Renowned wine critic James Suckling (who has joined the likes of Thomas Keller, Judd Apatow and Steve Martin as a MasterClassinstructor) gave the 2015 vintage 90 points. Linda was also recently named Napa Valley Winemaker of the Year by the Business Journal for her successful career and her mentorship of younger winemakers, especially women.
JUSTIN ISOSCELES 2015 (SRP: $72)
Based on a classic Bordeaux-blend, it is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon supported by Cabernet Franc and Merlot. ISOSCELES is not simply JUSTIN’s flagship wine, but also a quality benchmark for Paso Robles as a whole. First introduced in 1987, ISOSCELES has been and continues to be instrumental in putting Paso Robles on the world wine map.
Landmark Vineyards Overlook Pinot Noir 2016 (SRP: $25)
Talk about a Pinot Noir with great table manners. Landmark Vineyards got its start as primarily a top notch producer of California Chardonnay. Today, they are equally known for their expressive Pinot Noirs from throughout California. Wrapped up in a gorgeous package, this wine is full of cherry and berry aromas balanced by earthy and spicy notes. It’s a crowd pleaser at any dinner.
Geyser Peak Walking Tree Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP: $30)
Geyser Peak Winery has a long history in Sonoma, and in particular has special ties to the Alexander Valley. The Walking Tree Cabernet is aged in French oak barrels which introduce luscious blueberry and blackberry flavors that are refined and perfectly balanced by a spiciness that lingers on a long and elegant finish. Cabernet’s from Alexander Valley are great alternatives to more expensive Cabs from other areas of California, delivering the same elegance and flavor for a lower price tag.
Terres Des Amoureuses Dandy 2016, IGP Ardèche (SRP: $18)
A sophisticated red blend with hints of black fruit and cherry made from primarily Grenache and Syrah, from southern France. Enjoy this wine during a romantic meal as the name loosely translates to “land of lovers”!
Hahn SLH Pinot Noir 2017 (SRP: $30)
The perfect weekend wine should be a crowd-pleaser, have a great story but not break the bank. And wine is it! The winery’s late founder, Nicky Hahn, started almost 40 years ago in an area of Monterey County, California, known more for dairy cows, horse ranches and lettuce farms than wine grapes. His vision inspired him to pioneer the creation of a special geographic designation for the area where his vineyards are planted. He called it the “Santa Lucia Highlands.” Or for short, “SLH,” – the initials proudly displayed on this bottle. Today, his son Philip oversees the family business and is just as committed today to crafting delicious Pinot Noir from this up-and-coming region.
Balletto Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2016 (SRP: $29)
It’s family first when it comes to Balletto Vineyards. Owner and founder John Balletto got his start in the 1970s as a vegetable farmer alongside his mother. Today, John’s wife, Terri, and eldest daughter, Jacqueline, are also at the helm (as well as four dogs: Hudson, Addie, Luigi and Harley!). If you’re looking for an introduction to high-quality California Pinot Noir, this flagship bottling of Pinot Noir from the famed Russian River Valley is a great place to start.