Here's the second half of K&L's Holiday Gift Guide. If you missed part one earlier this week, you can check it out here. And, as always, if you're looking for something in particular, or have a challenging person to shop for, you can live chat, call or dry by any of our stores for shopping help. We're here to make the season brighter (and tastier).
Macallan 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky ($119.99) Macallan 18 year is a modern classic. Often held up as the standard-bearer for Sherry cask single malt, the Macallan has become ubiquitous with exceptionalism in whisky. Non-chillfiltered and bottled at 46% exclusively from the 1992 vintage and earlier, you’ll never find the flagship Macallan 18 year old Single Malt at a better price.
Matt Kramer on Wine: A Matchless Collection of Columns, Essays and Observations by America’s Most Original and Lucid Wine Writer ($12.99) One of the most entertaining and perceptive books on the wine world I’ve ever read. Matt “say it like it is” Kramer gives insight into the world of wine, culled from years of wine writing (you might recognize his name from the Wine Spectator). This is easy to read, entertaining and enlightening—a must read—a fun gift for your favorite wine nerd and a delightful way to drown out the screaming baby on an airplane.
Valdespino "Solera 1842" Oloroso Sherry (375ml $39.99) I love Sherry. Dry Sherries, in particular, be they Manzanilla, Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso, or some variation on or interstitial species of these. Of course, dry isn’t necessarily what most people think of when they think of Sherry—if they think of it at all. The Valdespino Oloroso strikes just the right balance for the holidays, achieving a delicious compromise between the sweeter dessert-leaning styles of Oloroso and the more austere yet complex and intense dry ones. With a discernable yet subtle sweetness to its deep, rich, savory, walnut-y flavors, this could be a fine end to a holiday meal. The guests you serve it to, on tasting it, might even imagine that you’re rather fond of them.
2008 François Chidaine "Clos Habert" Montlouis Sur Loire (demi-sec) ($22.99) If rosés conjure up patios and summertime warmth, and full, hearty, tannic reds seem most satisfying when there’s a chill in the air, a Chenin Blanc like this one has always made me sense dry fallen leaves, their fragrance gently wafting through the air as they sit piled against the curb. Don’t misunderstand—this would be fabulous anytime of the year—but I emphatically recommend it for the holiday season. Robust yet fresh, distinctive and charming, I can’t see how this would fail to turn heads, especially at the dinner table. 94 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “Pineapple and tangerine as well as musky florality and pistachio extract mark the nose and lusciously refreshing palate of Chidaine’s 2008 Montlouis Clos Habert, in which residual sugar helps balance electric acidity, compliment its citricity, and reinforce flavors of white peach, quince, honey, malt, and toasted nuts. The aura of truffle oil that many of his 2008s have in common with his 1996s is totally alluring here…Expect this scintillatingly complex Montlouis to be worth following for at least 20 years…”
2007 Olivet Lane Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($19.99) The 2007 vintage of Olivet Lane possesses a citrus and mineral bouquet that reveals notes of pear, green apple, melon, honey and lightly toasted oak. On the palate, the wine is lively and complex, with flavors that include pear, fresh apple, limestone and butterscotch, all balanced by toasty oak. It has a long, expansive finish that ends with just the right amount of acidity to make this the perfect complement to many types of cuisine, and a great gift for a co-worker or your favorite Aunt.
Barbolini “Lancillotto” Lambrusco ($12.99) The perfect wine for the holidays. This is my favorite red wine to reintroduce my friends and family to Lambrusco because it’s light in alcohol and works well with antipasti or by itself. The purple froth on this is really amazing to watch rise in your glass. A little more intense perfume on the nose and the palate, it has lots of spice, black cherries, red currants and a hint of dustiness to add to its complexity. Give this a good chill, pop the cork and pour yourself a big glass.
2009 Domaine de la Tournelle Ploussard "L’Uva Arboisiana" Arbois ($18.99) Confession: After tasting a litany of Cabernet Sauvignons, Pinot Noirs, Syrahs and Malbecs, I’m more than ready for something different for the holidays, and hallelujah did I find it! My knowledge of Ploussard (or Poulsard) being limited, I allowed it to speak from the glass: a sinuous arabesque of tantalizing fruit, almost more rosé than red in appearance, dropping its transparent veils layer by layer to reveal nuances of rose hips, dried cherry, wild strawberry and pomegranate, splashed with a healthy measure of clean, tensile acidity in every sip. Although our online notes mention this as a hot weather wine, I could drink this lyrical charmer on an ice floe while sharing a plate of charcuterie with a polar bear…Well, maybe scratch the bear. Top Value!
2009 Domaine Gramenon "Poignée de Raisins" Côtes du Rhône ($19.99) "Each time you pass wine through a pump, you derange the yeasts." Philippe Laurent is as outspoken and meticulous about the level of care given his grapes after they arrive in the cellar as he is in their immaculate cultivation under vine. Youthful exuberance and joie de vivre only begin to describe the personality of this ultra-natural 100% Grenache. Aromatically alive, with appealing red fruits and subtle notes of orange peel and pomegranate, this wine transcends the parameters for a single varietal. You simply have to uncork and share a bottle of this beautifully lustrous wine with your lucky holiday guests.
NV Antech “Brut Nature” Blanquette de Limoux* ($12.99) Antech’s Brut Nature is produced with no added dosage, which translates to a super clean and crisp glass of bubbles. It is composed of 90% Mauzac, 5% Chenin Blanc and 5% Chardonnay. The Brut Nature is the perfect way to start off the evening’s festivities. Its fresh and crisp apple-pear flavors will pair beautifully with a wide range of finger foods and pre-dinner snacks. 12% abv.
2008 Jean-Louis Denois "Les Oliviers" Syrah Vin de Pays D’Oc ($9.99) Does Jean-Louis Denois ever fail to impress us? So far, this talented winemaker has an exceptional track record with K&L customers and staff alike. Denois’ latest offering is this boisterous little red that (once again) over-delivers for the price. The 2008 “Les Oliviers” exhibits enticing and spicy aromas matched with juicy black berry fruits and a whiff of black pepper on the nose. An immensely enjoyable red wine.
2007 Andrew Rich Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($19.99) Right now I am loving the wine press for lambasting the 2007 vintage in Oregon. Why? Because I love Oregon Pinot Noir, and because of their presumptuous dismissal of this vintage, which is lean and elegant, I’m finding some really incredible deals like this wine from Andrew Rich. Floral, with blue and red fruit aromas, this Pinot is even more intriguing on the palate. It reminds me of my first hike through the Armstrong Redwoods with its sweet, damp earth and moss notes, interlaced with strawberries, Porcini mushrooms and spice. Food-friendly and easy on the wallet.