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Wines Above $40

Ultra Last Minute Super-Duper Wine Gifts

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I know that I definitely haven't finished my shopping, so I'm figuring I must have company out there in the rest of the world, too. Here are some terrific wines and other items (books, chocolates, etc.) that caught my eye recently:

I tasted a plethora of New Zealand Pinots on my recent trip there, but many of them are upcoming releases. I'll blog about those later; in the meantime, the 2006 Peregrine Pinot Noir (about $40, find this wine) is classic Central Otago Pinot, with a sort of blue floral scent (oh, you know what I mean...right?), juicy raspberry fruit, and a brambly, smoky finish. It's big enough to pour with some nice New Zealand grass-fed lamb.

For the crazy funkmeister wine fanatics in your acquaintance, a bottle of the 2000 Chateau Musar Red (about $40, too; find this wine) is just the ticket. It's got that classic Musar aroma of bicycle tire and sweet red cherry, with the same sweet red cherry fruit continuing in the flavor, along with wild strawberries and lightly twiggy tannins (by which I mean not-unpleasantly prickly in a dry twig sort of way). It's a big, dark Musar, representative of the vintage, which Serge Hochar says "was a year of Cabernet." Hochar also says, "If my wines had no V.A., I would stop making Chateau Musar. End of story." So be warned!

Since toasts are inevitable this time of year, Champagne is inevitable as well, and given its inevitability, you might as well pour something really good. Lately I'm liking the Ruinart Brut Rose NV ($75, find this wine). Not cheap, but it's a terrific rosé, dense with flavor even as its graceful structure gives it a kind of Grace Kelly beauty, in a wine way. 

In a non-wine vein, chocolate-genius Drew Shotts of Garrison Chocolates has a nifty and very tasty six-piece box of chocolates ($10) with fillings infused with Pama Pomegranate Liqueur. Too late, most likely, for Christmas, but not too late to order a box for yourself. You deserve one, since you're probably exhausted with all this present-buying craziness.

Lastly, I left one book off of my post about wine-book gifts, which is Ben Wallace's compelling page-turner dissection of one of the bigger wine scandals to happen in, oh, the past century or so. The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine rolls scads of money, super-valuable (or not so!) counterfeit wines, some very high-profile collectors, shady business dealings, and a few read-it-to-believe-it debaucheries involving bottle after bottle of ultra-rare wine together into one big juicy narrative. I've never read a wine book that was as much of a page-turner; it's also smart and well written, which doesn't hurt.

And that's it. I'm out of here until after New Year's. 

 

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Run with chefs and wine experts in the Celebrity Chef 5K and dance all night at Gail Simmons’ Last Bite Dessert Party during the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.