by Fred McMillin
What wine should I give as a holiday gift?
Wine aficionados are always delighted to receive a free bottle of wine. So, decide on the price that fits your budget, and find below a very good wine in that price range.
Whites, Pinks and Sparklers|
|$14||Riesling, Cupcake Vineyards, Yakima Valley, Washington|
|$17||Pinot Gris, King Estate, Oregon|
|$19||Viognier, Steele Wines, Lake County|
|$25||Rosé of Syrah (pink), Peju Province Winery, Napa Valley|
|$30||Sauvignon Blanc, Mayacamas Vineyards, Napa Valley|
|$48||Late Harvest Chardonnay-Reserve, Hagafen, Prix Vineyards, Napa Valley|
|$55||Chardonnay, Hanzell Vineyards, Sonoma County|
|$100||Sparkling Wine, J. Schram, Schramsberg Vineyards, Napa County|
|$14||Barbera, Shooting Star (Steele Wines), Lake County|
|$16||Sangiovese, Valley of the Moon, Sonoma County|
|$17||Cabernet Sauvignon, Hess Collection Winery, Mendocino County|
|$18||Zinfandel, Sobon Estate, Amador County|
|$25||Syrah, Silkwood Wines, Stanislaus County|
|$30||Merlot, Hawkes Vineyards, Alexander Valley|
|$30||Petite Sirah, Sunset Cellars, Dry Creek Valley|
|$35||Pinot Noir, Domaine Carneros Estate, Napa Valley|
|$38||Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Supery Winery, Napa Valley|
|$75||Lake William Blend, Jarvis Wines, Napa Valley|
These also make a fun gift:
Above, we recommended the King Estate, Oregon, Pinot Gris, $17. Now, the winery is coming out with another Pinot Gris called Acrobat which, compared to the $17 version, has slightly more sugar and a little lower alcohol content. My contacts say it is a fine buy. We will taste it shortly.
Will Brown completed the winemaking program at U.C. Davis and moved to Oregon in 1979. He became (1) the winemaker for the Rogue Valley's Agate Ridge Vineyard and (2) the foremost authority on the history of wine in Oregon.
Some tidbits from Will:
1. Arguably, Chuck Coury (1931-2004) was the father of the Oregon Wine Industry. He studied winemaking in CALIFORNIA not Oregon.
2. In his masters thesis at U. C. Davis he proposed that the best wines are produced from grapes which ripen just at the end of their growing season.
3. Hence, he moved to the Willamette Valley, Oregon and planted a vineyard. Mr. Brown says of Coury, "This move did not have the blessing of his professors at Davis."
4. Coury was not successful in the Oregon wine business and eventually returned to California.
P.S. David Lett may have a similar claim to that of Chuck Coury,since Lett also learned his viticulture at U. C. Davis before heading to Oregon to plant his first Pinot Noir grapes. But that's a story for another time.
Speaking of the vaunted Willamette Valley, my mother is said to be the first woman to graduate in chemistry from the University of Willamette. I used to kid her that she got those good grades by marrying her professor...who became my dad!
Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He was voted one of the U.S.A's 22 Best wine writers by the Academy of Wine Communications. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.
Copyright © 2009, Fred McMillin. All rights reserved.
This page created November 2009
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