It’s the thought that counts. Well, yes, but even the mind reader who can channel that thought prefers a gift. Any gift says, “I’m really thinking about you.” But a special gift — like an exceptional bottle of wine — says, “Here’s a toast to your good taste.”
So, what kind of wine says that?
Albariño, for one. Grown in Galicia in the northwest corner of Spain, it is that country’s finest white grape, and Pazo Pondal Albariño 2004 is one of the finest examples of its wine. Pale and crisp, it offers complexity, a silky body and a basketful of floral and fruit aromas. Consider it a winter white. $20.
While many winemaking regions produce chardonnay, few can match the mother of them all: Burgundy. And one of its vintages that is elegance personified is Clos des Mouches, a premier cru (first growth) wine from Joseph Drouhin. Supple, satiny and exquisitely balanced, it has a bouquet that mingles citric fruit with vanilla and a creamy, rich, almond-like taste. Price varies with the vintage, from $70 to $91.
From California, J. Lohr Cuvée Pau 2000 is complex and concentrated, with hints of black currant, clove, chocolate and vanilla. Cabernet sauvignon with a small amount of petit verdot, Cuvée Pau is crafted in the tradition of Bordeaux’s Pauillac wines. The two other wines in this special cuvée series are Cuvée Pom (Pomerol) and Cuvée St. E. (Saint-Emilion). $56 each.
“Summus” is Latin for “highest,” and Castello Banfi Summus is a wine worthy of the name. This Tuscan wine, a blend of 40 percent each of sangiovese and cabernet sauvignon and 20 percent syrah, is a dark ruby color and has an aroma that recalls cassis, cherry and a shelf of spices. Both the 2000 and 2001 vintages are currently available. $66.
A final suggestion is Montes Purple Angel 2003, a deep-colored red wine made by the outstanding Montes winery in Chile. Spicy, full-bodied and powerful, with layers of rich fruit flavors, it is 92 percent carmenère, a grape that until the 19th century grew in Bordeaux. Today, virtually all of the world’s carmenère comes from Chile. $48.
Raise a glass to good taste this holiday season.
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