The Vinous 2018 Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for that perfect gift for the wine lover in your life? We’ve got you covered with a selection of gifts ranging from new books, to glasses, maps and much more in Antonio Galloni's article The Vinous 2018 Holiday Gift Guide . ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Godforsaken Grapes: A Slightly Tipsy Journey through the World of Strange, Obscure, and Underappreciated Wine by Jason Wilson Readers of Vinous will no doubt be familiar with Jason Wilson's excellent writing as demonstrated in his recent coverage of spirits. If you enjoyed reading about Armagnac and Calvados , and especially if you were somewhat unfamiliar with them before, then you'll also enjoy Jason's latest book, Godforsaken Grapes. Jason takes the reader on a journey through Europe and beyond, at each stop quenching a thirst for information, and indeed wine, with offerings made from the more unusual grape varietals. Written as a personal memoir, though ending up as a guide for the curious, Godforsaken Grapes will be sure to amuse the adventurous wine lover in your life, and perhaps also inspire them to raise a glass of Mondeuse Noire. ($26). Red & White by Oz Clarke The latest book from Oz Clarke, the popular British wine communicator and longtime host of the BBC's Food and Drink show, is part memoir, part guide, always interesting and ever amusing. I could go on but instead I'll simply quote in full Neal Martin's words from the book's back cover: “Food and Drink was compulsive viewing because it opened a nation’s palates to the joys of wine, opened their eyes to a rapidly expanding world of winemaking. Oz Clarke democratized wine. Once the preserve of middle-aged men in pinstriped suits pretentiously swirling their claret, Oz demonstrated that wine can be enjoyed by everyone. Even posh wine. Oz was like “us” and, if he liked wine, “we” could like wine as well. Oz’s sheer love of, and infectious enthusiasm for, wine have made him an educator and communicator without equal over many years. His knowledge, razor-sharp palate and humour are driven by a resolve to help as many people as possible to drink better wine.” ($30). The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste by Rajat Parr and Jordan Mackay This newest book from sommelier-turned-winemaker Rajat Parr and Jordan Mackay is a very personal exploration into trying to understand why wines taste the way they do. Parr and Mackay take the reader on a trip through a series of regions in a book that is part travelogue, part discussion of terroir and part an analysis on how we taste wine. The focus is on Europe and specifically the classic regions of France, with touches of Italy, Austria and Germany. In any book, choices of regions and producers are very personal. Parr and Mackay make no secret of where their deepest interests lie. So, rather than lament the relatively brief sections on Bordeaux or Piedmont, readers should, for example, relish the chapter on Burgundy, which distills a tremendous amount of information into bite-sized sections that offer enough depth to be of interest to both the casual and expert reader. The Champagne chapter is another highlight. More than anything else, The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste is a beautifully written book that transmits an enormous amount of passion and wonderment with all that wine has to offer. It is a delight to read and highly recommended. ($40). Barolo MGA Vol. I: The Barolo Great Vineyard Encyclopedia, 2nd Edition by Alessandro Masnaghetti Barolo, with its ability to produce complex, multi-dimensional, ageworthy reds, is one of the world’s most fascinating wine regions. For years, Alessandro Masnaghetti has enchanted us with breathtaking books and maps that explore the vineyards of Barolo to a degree that has never been possible before. But one piece of the puzzle in understanding Barolo has long been missing: a thorough study of its geology and soils. Leave it to Masnaghetti to shed light into this complex and fascinating subject in the just-published Second Edition of his book Barolo MGA Vol. 1. I can’t recommend the Second Edition of Barolo MGA Vol. 1 enough. It is absolutely essential for anyone who wants to discover all the nuances that make Barolo and its wines so special. ($90, signed). Vinous Napa Valley Vineyard Maps Creating reference-point vineyard maps of Napa Valley and other American winemaking regions was something I wanted to do for many years. I am thrilled to partner with renowned cartographer Alessandro Masnaghetti to bring you this collection of Vinous Maps of Napa Valley. These are the most detailed vineyard maps that have ever been produced of the vineyards of Napa Valley. The Collection presently includes seven maps: St. Helena & Conn Valley, Oakville, Pritchard Hill, Rutherford, Stags Leap, Howell Mountain and Yountville. Vinous Maps are available in a handy, folded format, full-size poster format suitable for framing and special autographed Collectors’ Edition. In 2019, the Collection expands to include maps of Sonoma Valley and more regions within Napa Valley. Vinous readers can take advantage of special pricing on folded and poster maps now through 3pm December 14. (Regularly priced $25/folded map, $50/rolled map, currently 30% off until 3pm EST, December 14). Richard Brendon/Jancis Robinson Wine Glass This new, all-purpose glass is a collaboration between celebrated designer Richard Brendon and Jancis Robinson MW, who needs no introduction to Vinous readers. The Wine Glass, part of the Jancis Robinson Collection that includes two decanters (one for old wines and one for young wines), a water carafe and a water glass, is designed to work well with every type of wine. The design is quite elegant, while the glass is very nicely proportioned in both size and feel. I found it to work best with white wines and Champagne. Red wines showed well, too, although the slightly narrow aperture felt like it constricted the aromas just a bit on aromatic reds. The boxed set of two glasses makes for a very attractive gift. ($100 for a set of 2 glasses). The Durand Corkscrew The Durand Corkscrew is a must-have for wine lovers who enjoy drinking older wines. Two blades work alongside a conventional corkscrew mechanism to extract even the most fragile, brittle corks. Sufficed to say, the Durand has saved many an older bottle from the terrors of a lost cork. ($125). Vinous Classic Gift Subscription Give the gift of (wine) knowledge this holiday season with a Classic subscription to Vinous. Our team of critics spends months of the year on the road to bring Vinous readers the most up to date and in-depth insight into the world's major wine regions. Just as Vinous is the go-to destination for wine enthusiasts around the world, a Vinous gift subscription can make it become so for the wine lover in your life. A Classic subscription gives full access to the Vinous website and the apps, where you can look up reviews on the go. And if you use any of these services, you can also link your account to Delectable, CellarTracker and WineOwners. Tip: the gift subscription email is sent immediately to the recipient. You can send the email to yourself to get the gift link that you can pass on whenever you like. ($140). Coravin Model Eleven Coravin takes their revolutionary wine preservation system to the next level with the recently-released Model Eleven. Coravin allows consumers to enjoy a bottle of wine without pulling the cork. A surgical needle accesses the wine through the cork and replaces it with argon gas. As an inert gas, unlike oxygen, argon doesn't react with the wine so it is preserved until the next time the bottled is accessed. The new Model Eleven includes Bluetooth connectivity to the Coravin Moments app, which uses Delectable’s label recognition technology and allows users to save impressions on wines as well as track a wide range of Coravin functionality, including monitoring argon gas capsule levels and choosing between Sip and Glass serving sizes in Pouring Mode. ($1000).

Viña Real (CVNE)

Gran Reserva Rioja Tempranillo Blend 1970

Raw leather, plum, blackberry, prune, anise, dried strawberry, cedar, campfire smoke, black peppercorn. Acid is still moderately present. Tannins have fallen off considerably.

Leakage from the cork. Wine about a quarter inch below taper of neck. Cork had no hope without a Durand. With ah-so it still went straight in-- better than falling apart though. Honestly, I thought this was a bad gamble but wine came out better than I expected. Not prime but still good. 91
— 5 years ago

Comte de Lamaestre

Bas Armagnac 1979

Clear, deep amber colour with clean, pronounced aromas of dates, toffee apple, vanilla, chocolate and nutmeg. Medium dry with a full bodied palate that has flavours of dates, cocoa and soft spice perfectly counterpointed by drying and slightly grippy tannins. Dried apricot, nutmeg and clove aftertaste with a surprising length. Outstanding example of Armagnac. — 5 years ago

Michele Walker
with Michele
Severn liked this

Château Rieussec

Sauternes Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend 1970

The cork was blackened and a bit raised, so I was anticipating the worst. This was the first true test for the Durand and I was amazed how it got the cork out whole. The wine had held up remarkably well. Dried apricot, touch of nuttiness, brotrytis, and still solid acidity. Finish was a touch short but otherwise excellent. Shared generously by a friend. — 5 years ago

Marion KaighnRobin Mendelsohn
with Marion and Robin
Robin, John and 1 other liked this
John Knudsen

John Knudsen

Wow, nice friend.

Domaine de la Côte

Memorious Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2016

Perhaps the best SRH Pinot I’ve ever had - it’s so full of life, traditional cherry compote, herbs and spices, a layered, wonderful nose. Watched Somm III while enjoying this.... and I see why Jancis chose this wine. So good. Very ageworthy because the acid and high toned fruit is just bursting with energy. This in 10 years could be spectacular. — 5 years ago

Shay and Velma liked this

Calais Winery

La Cuvee Du Ruisseau Newsom Vineyards Merlot 2016

Outstanding Texas Merlot! When your wife is traveling and you can't open a bottle without her...... Helloooo Coravin! 😂

Delicious Merlot from the Texas High Plains AVA (yes Texas 🇨🇱 has an AVA!) and made by Calais Winery. Owner and Winemaker, Ben, is a mad French scientist when it comes to Texas grapes.

Notes of anise/licorice, rosewater, plum, blueberry, blackberries, and toast.

Aged 22 months in French oak barrels.

@Mark Flesher and @Shay A you both have got me hooked on these Texas Wines! Thank you!! 😀🍷👍
— 5 years ago

Shay, Ron and 7 others liked this
Mark Flesher

Mark Flesher

Awesome @Stephen Pierron . I have not had the 16. Still need to purchase! Very nice write-up on this wine. The 15 and 14 both seem similar, with the 15 edging the 14 IMO.
Stephen Pierron

Stephen Pierron

@Shay A you will have to pay him another visit ... he's going to have some pretty cool stuff come out next year. @Mark Flesher I think his wines will continue to get better and better. Texas weather and climate consistently give him new challenges, so there is a lot more to learn on how to adapt to those conditions. Texas wines still are not my favorite choice, but Calais produces the best representation of Texas Terroir in my opinion. I give Ben a lot of credit for what he is doing and the passion behind it.
Mark Flesher

Mark Flesher

@Stephen Pierron not sure how I have done it, but I have held several of his wines for a few years. If you find yourself in Cowtown, hit me up... 6824789700

Girolamo Russo

'a Rina Etna Rosso Nerello Mascalese - Nerello Cappuccio 2016

Girolamo Russo “a’Rina” 2016 Etna Rosso 🇮🇹 $25

Nerello Mascalese (94%) and Nerello Cappuccio are the yin and yang of red grapes that grow exceedingly well in the wild and high altitude clime atop the Sicilian volcano #MountEtna.

A hell of a bargain at about $25 as this crushes most Bourgogne/Hautes-Cotes under $50 and would give pricier versions a run for their money. It is also more complex now and ready to consume when compared to many similarly priced, well made “Langhe” Nebbiolo wines. From the @coravin this was ready to go and opened up well with 10-15 minutes in the glass.

A youthful medium ruby color, fairly transparent. The nose suggests to me a red Burgundy, possibly a Beaune or Chassagne-Montrachet red from the wildness of the Etna character. A deep underpinning of rocky minerality, hints of ash, rose petal and purple florals, with dabs of red cherry and red plum fruit, sweet spices with hints of old leather jacket and unsmoked pipe tobacco. The palate is juicy and fresh, with refined, silky, ripe tannin that are youthfully firm. Excellent density and persistence, but light as a feather. Medium+ on the finish.

Etna red wines are commonly described as having similarities to nebbiolo from Piedmonte and pinot noir from Burgundy. There are for sure some similarities, but make no mistake that Etna wines, when made well, refract the wild and volcanic Etna terroir well and are genuine in their own right. •
The complex volcanic soils of Etna, combined with some of the highest elevations for vineyards in Europe at 3,000+ feet, can produce wines with immense complexity and freshness. A sense if refinement comes across in the density without excessive weight, allowing for transparency of terroir. Most vines are trained in the traditional bush-vine method, which works well in the rocky soils that see a lot of wind and sunlight at these high altitudes.

#GirolamoRusso #aRina #NerelloMascalese #NerelloCappuccio #EtnaRosso #Sicily #Italy #GiuseppeRusso #coravin #winesolutions #wine #winelover #somm #sommelier #instawine #wineporn #naturalwine #vinnaturel #winegasm #winegeek #vin #vino #vinos #vinhos #wein #ilovewine #winetasting
— 5 years ago

Kimberly, LM and 5 others liked this
James Forsyth

James Forsyth Influencer Badge

Terrific tasting note. Nailed it.
Tom Kobylarz

Tom Kobylarz Influencer Badge

Thanks James! 🤜🏼

Jarvis Winery

Reserve Estate Grown Cave Fermented Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1996

Had to use the Durand on this soft cork, not fairing well compared to the 92 mag of Heitz I had a couple months ago..
Fortunately I have 2 more mags of that Heitz,
— 5 years ago

Shay, Ellen and 31 others liked this
David T

David T Influencer Badge

That’s a great corkscrew. Heitz always goes long stored correctly.
David T

David T Influencer Badge

You had been too quiet for awhile, I was wondering, where in the world is Paul T? But now, I see you are back on a roll. You should have started with the 97. 🤷‍♂️


Merlot 1995

Finally got a Coravin and raided my father-in law’s cellar. We didn’t think this guy would make it to 2018 but we were quite mistaken. Terrific Merlot with hints of lavender, chocolate, and leather. — 5 years ago

Severn liked this

Schrader Cellars

Old Sparky Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Soft cork, finally used my Durand corkscrew! But didn’t effect the wine, awesome juice , 2.5 hour decant so far — 5 years ago

Roy, Sharon and 35 others liked this

Cullen Wines

Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 1999

My final bottle of 6 I bought on release and the best. Deep crimson in colour - quite dark for 19 years of age. Notes of violets and all the classic Cabernet descriptors of Bay leaf and cassis. On the palate a beautiful mature Cabernet blend at the peak of its powers. Really enjoyed this. Jancis Robinson MW compared this to Margaux. A tradition of female Wine making with Di Cullen as Winemaker from 1971 until 1989 when daughter Vanya took over and continues to this day. Consistently one of Margaret River’s better Cabernets. — 5 years ago

David, Paul and 10 others liked this
David L

David L Influencer Badge Premium Badge

Sounds amazing!
Bob McDonald

Bob McDonald Influencer Badge

@David L It was. I wish I had more to drink at full maturity in the 2030s, according to Aussie Wine scribe, Huon Hooke.