Great Gift Ideas

From our Hang Time tasting on Thursday December 3, 2015…

With three shopping weeks until Christmas and Hanukkah starting in a few days, we face the challenge of finding the perfect present. What size? What color? Will it fit her style? Does he already have one? Will it be regifted, like Aunt Barb’s fruitcake? Never fear, Red Feet is here! We suggest giving wines or spirits, so today we’ll taste some of our gift ideas. We’re also sharing some food ideas to share with your recipient.

Bubbles are festive and fun! Domaine Cattin Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé is 100% Pinot Noir made using the Champagne method. Its fresh berry fruit is delightful, and its fine bubbles tickle the palate. Pour it on its own or pair with salmon, crab cakes, or strawberry pie.

To reflect the locavore in all of us, Red Feet suggests another version of Pinot Noir—Red Tail Ridge Pinot Noir 2013. Made from grapes grown at the first LEED® gold-certified winery in the state, this wine is aged over eight months in older French oak. Its black cherry, pomegranate, smoke, leather, baking spice, and dried mushrooms are supported by clean acidity and lightly grippy tannins. This classic cool-climate Pinot can partner with salmon, tuna, lamb, mushroom risotto, and many cheeses.

Keeping to single-varietal wine before we mix things up, consider Teso la Monja Romanico 2012 from Toro in Spain, made from the local clone of Tempranillo. This region is known for powerful red wines and has attracted the attention of some great names in Spanish wine. Made from hand-harvested, organically grown and rigorously sorted grapes, the wine is fermented with natural yeasts and aged in French oak. Sweetly spicy dark fruits join boysenberry and cherry; licorice, leather, and black pepper provide savory elements. This is a full-bodied wine with a persistent finish and would pair well with dishes using balsamic or herbal marinades, and sauces with any red meat; robust vegetarian dishes also work.

Onto a delicious blend, a mix of more than five grapes (including one white) – Columbia Crest H3 Red Blend Les Chevaux 2012. The winery was one of Washington’s pioneers, and 2012 was a fine vintage. Aromas are vibrant, with rose petal, cocoa, and red fruit; flavors are dominated by black fruit and spice. This is an interesting, easy drinking wine sure to please any red wine drinker on your gift list. Pair with BBQ, gourmet burgers, or pungent cheeses like Stilton or Gorgonzola.

And now for some holiday spirit! Campari and Fernet Branca have been around for decades, but there are many new players on the Amaro scene. Amari are bittersweet Italian herbal liqueurs, often used as a digestivo before or after a meal or mixed in cocktails. Amaro Nonino is a good place to start; it has more sweetness than some, Alpine freshness, and a soft texture from the five years it ages in wood.

These are a few general gift ideas (we can help you zero in on more). There are also three holiday Demi-Sacs: Elves’ Favorites ($60), Santa’s Stash ($88), and the Locavore ($95)—grab and go!

-M.P. Rouse