Last-minute Gift Ideas For Wine Lovers

Christmas is barely a week away, and I am still trying to figure out what to get for a few people. I know this is a time to celebrate and enjoy, but it can be stressful trying to find just the right gift for someone, get it wrapped and delivered. Right?!

If you are looking for wine to get a friend, here are some last-minute recommendations at different price points for both red and white — leaving out Pinot Noir because I gave my top selections a couple of weeks ago.


Image 1 of 2

There are Cabernets, then there are Napa Cabs PHOTOS FROM ROBERTO VIERNES

• $10 and below: 2012 Stonecap Chardonnay ($9, R. Field Wine Co., Tamura’s, Fujioka’s) This Chardonnay touches all the spots for Chardonnay lovers: fully ripe orchard fruit and lovely notes of vanilla and butter. You will be surprised at how quickly it disappears.

2011 Massimo Malbec ($10, Fujioka’s, Tamura’s) Juicy fruit leaning toward the strawberry and raspberry spectrum together with a spicy wood note, this Malbec has ample structure that longs for red meat.

2012 Luna Pinot Grigio ($9, Tamura’s, R. Field Wine Co.) Zesty, lively, refreshing, light and buoyant. This is a wine that puts smiles on faces and it is great with almost anything cooked that comes from the sea.

• $10 to $25: 2011 Ancient Peaks Merlot ($16, Fujioka’s, Tamura’s, R. Field Wine Co.) Smooth and velvety, filled with plum and berry fruit. There is even a note of chocolate in this wine, which gives added complexity — more complexity than its price tag would suggest.

2012 Landmark Overlook Chardonnay ($23, Fujioka’s, Tamura’s). I can’t think of a better Sonoma Chardonnay in this price range — really! I think it has everything in the right place: beautiful fruit, supple butter and vanilla, lovely balance and a long finish. It is great with chicken and fish or just chilling out with friends.

2012 Salvard Cheverny Sauvignon Blanc ($15, Fujioka’s, Tamura’s, R. Field Wine Co.) This has all the hallmarks of higher-priced Sancerre. It has that scintillating citrus character along with minerality and sense of place. It is light but not wimpy, with intense flavors driving through to the long finish. Pair this with mussels, anything with crab and your favorite goat cheese.

• $25 to $50: Champagne Louis Roederer Brut Premier ($49, HASR, Tamura’s) This is truly high-class juice. It is luxury in a bottle with complex flavors that transcend description. There are such rich flavors along with an elegance that only the best Champagnes can combine. Remember, you don’t need an occasion for Champagne. You make it one with a bottle of Champagne.

2012 Justin Cabernet Sauvignon ($25, Foodland, Longs, Tamura’s, Fujioka’s) This Cabernet is lusty, with tons of blackberry and blueberry fruit laced with sweet vanilla tones. It is as rich as Napa Cabernet, but at a nicer price!

2012 Pine Ridge Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($49, Tamura’s) There are Cabernets, then there are Napa Cabs. This is a terrific expression of the latter. This hedonistic version comes with full-throttle fruit, lots of wood influences and plenty of girth. This Cabernet is not for the shy of palate.

• $50 plus: 2010 Moone Tsai Howell Mountain Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon ($85, Tamura’s) This wine is like thunder in a glass. It wakes the senses with huge flavors, thickness and richness. Yet there is a sense of harmony in the wine. This is Cabernet built for Cabernet lovers. This wine is for dining on red meat — lamb chops, ribeye and prime rib are ideal.

2012 Paul Lato Chardonnay “Belle du Jour” ($70, Fujioka’s, Vintage Wine Cellar) This is a WOW Chardonnay — verbose, ripe, opulent and polished — a veritable “poster child” for sexy California Chardonnay. This requires luxurious food: lobster or shaved truffles on butter-tossed pasta. We can all dream, can’t we?

Roberto Viernes is a master sommelier.
Twitter: @Pinotpusher