The Perfect Gift

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: enough with the wine gadgets. Unless you’re springing for a Coravin, we don’t need any more. Aerators, stoppers, corkcicles, etc. It’s enough already. For the most part, these are all gimmicks designed to separate you from your money, and they’re probably just going to collect dust on top of our cellars. Want to make a wine lover happy? Buy us wine.

But I don’t know which wine to buy, you plead. Well, that’s why we’re here. (And, even if you go wrong, remember, it’s still the the thought that counts. Plus, once that bad bottle you bought has been drunk, we can recycle it. Unlike the aerator that is still collecting dust.)

Here are some Chairman’s Selections currently in stores that should make any wine lover eternally grateful:

Clos La Coutale Cahors 2012 ($16.99)
A conversation starter at the lower end of the cost spectrum, Cahors is the ancestral home of Malbec, Argentina’s star grape. The original French version can be quite different from its popular South American brother, however, rustic and rugged like a stone cottage in the Gallic countryside. That said, this wine can be extremely rewarding to those willing to seek out its charms, evolving with air (give it a good decant, or lay it down for a few years) to show a broad swath of complexity and flavor. Dark fruit and violets intermix with savory notes ranging from green herbs to sanguine, rusty iron, to dirty forest floor, all the way to rich cocoa. This is a heck of a lot of wine for $17, and would make a great gift for an adventurous oenophile.

BR Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon Olive Hill Estate Vineyards 2010 ($34.99)
Moving to the safer side of the aisle, this Sonoma Cab will certainly appeal to those Napa Cab and bold Cali wine lovers out there. It’s got all the markings – full-body, big cherry fruit, smooth, with notes of green pepper, tobacco and cinnamon. It’s delicious now, but also has enough structure to last 5 years, maybe 10.

Bocelli Alcide IGT 2011 ($49.99)
Long before Andrea Bocelli was famous for making music, his family was making wine. This particular bottle, their flagship SuperTuscan, a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet, is named for Andrea’s grandfather Alcide. It’s a lovely bottle of wine that features a nose of leather and loamy earth, with big cherry fruit and wild herbs on the palate, but needs 3-5 years on its side to bring out its best, and should last until the 2020s. This would certainly make a great gift for wine collector who also loves classical music and/or Italian culture.

Roger Peguet Hermitage 2010 ($49.99)
For Syrah lovers (which should be everyone, but for some reason is not), Hermitage is the crown jewel and spiritual ground zero. A hill in the Rhone region of France with just 345 acres under vine, bottles are not exactly easy to find, even beyond the confines of the commonwealth. So it is always notable when the Chairman’s program brings one on board, even if they do tend to come at a steepish price. This one is on the younger side, and will reward patience, but shows all the markings of a fine, fine specimine. Though tightly wound, this wine is alive with verve and spirit, showing sprightly notes of violet, mint and brooding black fruit, alongside tobacco, black pepper and, deep down, slumbering earth. For those with patience and the right cellar, this will be a stunner.

Arnaldo Caprai Montefalco Sagrantino 25 Anni 2009 ($59.99)
Let’s get this out of the way first: if you drink this now, it might be the most tannic juice you ever imbibe. An absolute sledgehammer to the gums. There’s no other way around it. Beyond that, this is an awesome wine. I’m partial to Sagrantino, I’ll admit; I love the way the cherry intermingles with the herbal and floral notes, the cedar, the earth and the chocolate. It’s all here, behind the wall of tannin. In time, when those tannins settle (they’ll never fully subside), it’ll reward patience with soaring power and beauty. This particular wine should arrive in a lovely wooden box, perfect for gift-giving, so feel free to ask if it isn’t displayed that way.