You can’t go wrong with a bottle of wine as a holiday gift item. For non-adventurous drinkers, it’s safe to gift something the recipient already knows (yeah, boring), but for a true wine connoisseur, choose something with a story behind it.
Football lovers might enjoy a wine from Dick Vermeil, John Elway, Drew Bledsoe, or Dan Marino. Any of these will score:
2015 7 Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Calif.: Made for John Elway by Mari Wells Coyle at One Hope Wines, this accessible, crowd-pleasing red sports smooth and supple tannins, and ample dark cherry. It’s the very antithesis of monster cab. Elway’s label also offers a lovely chardonnay.
2016 Flying B Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Wash.: Leather, cedar, and tobacco show up in this deeply satisfying cabernet-syrah blend from Drew Bledsoe, former New England Patriots quarterback, who hails from Walla Walla.
2016 Patriarch Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Calif.: From the label of five-time Emmy-winning sports broadcaster, Jim Nantz, comes this harmoniously crafted wine, brimming with alluring mountain spice and forest floor aromas.
Movie fan? Drew Barrymore, Kyle Maclachlan, Kurt Russell, and Francis Ford Coppola invite you to screen their offerings. And the Oscar goes to:
2015 Baby Bear Syrah, Columbia Valley, Wash.: Big-shouldered, dense, and vivid in color and flavor, this wine from Kyle Machlachlan of Dune, Twin Peaks and Sex & The City delivers the relentless intensity we love in syrah. Bestially packed with cassis and olive tapenade.
2013 Drew’s Blend Pinot Noir, Monterey, Calif.: Made in concert with Kris Kato of Carmel Road Wines (owned by Jackson Family Wines), this is pure Monterey pinot, laden with fern, earth, and red apple aromas, and filled with pomegranate and ripe red raspberry.
2015 Gogi Wines Southpaw Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills, Calif.: Kurt Russell, famous for roles in Escape from New York, Tombstone, Backdraft, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, is infatuated with pinot noir. He plays a very hands-on role in every aspect of winemaking—he sliced his thumb on the very first cluster he picked. This savory, elusive pinot is made with, and for, pleasure. He hopes you enjoy.
Checkered flag fan? Take a solid lap around the track of tasteful and trophy-worthy with these fast finds:
2016 Adobe Road Wines The 24 Red Blend, Calif.: Championship driver turned team owner, Kevin Buckler, pays homage to his 2003 Le Mans win with the stunning blend of grenache, syrah, and mourvedre, called The 24. The chronograph is rad. Or choose the SHIFT red blend, with a capsule that looks like a driver’s shift lever. There’s a Racing Series Gift box, too.
2015 Insomnium Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Calif.: Napa cab lovers can rev up their passion for grippy tannin and a dense mouthfeel layered with unctuous fruit in this high-octane palate rocket from former NASCAR darling, Danica Patrick, who teamed up with renowned winemaker, Aaron Pott, to make her post-racing wine dreams come true.
2015 Pruett Vineyards, Championship Cuvee Estate Syrah, Sierra Foothills, Calif.: After a 50-year career in racing that included CART, NASCAR, IMSA, and wins at Le Mans and Daytona, Scott Pruett devoted his driving passion to grapes. Powerfully purple and oozing dusty blackberries, boysenberry, and allspice, this syrah achieves near textural perfection. He does everything, from berry to bottle, and is damn proud of it.
Another nifty gift idea is the Mountain Collection of nine Santa Cruz Mountains wines from top producers, including Big Basin Vineyards, Mount Eden, Thomas Fogarty, and Rhys, curated by Master Sommelier David Glancy.
May your holidays be merry and bright, and make mine red…and white!