This holiday season, the primary color is red. Here are some of the best selections, gifts from California.
Shafer Vineyards offers the full-flavored, plummy 2012 Relentless ($85), a smooth, powerful Napa Valley syrah with some petite sirah included. It’s a rich choice to go with red meat and aged cheeses. Shafer’s peak is the 2011 Hillside Select ($250), an outstanding, complex, rewarding cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District, with dark-fruit notes, a hint of herbs, and a minerally undercurrent, leading to a very long finish. This also is made for red meat, especially lamb and beef. Both wines have years ahead of them.
Robert Mondavi’s To Kalon vineyard is a prime location in Napa and has yielded wonderful wines for decades. The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve To Kalon Vineyard ($155) is a concentrated, potent red, heady with blackberry and spice, but also refined and elegant. Enjoyable now, you still can expect it to mature for quite a while before you uncork it to accompany rack of lamb or a crown roast.
The 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($28) is a balanced, silky varietal that gives you a satisfying introduction to the Mondavi repertoire.
Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery comes through with the ripe, stirring, focused, layered, grand 2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($165). The wine has a harvest of berries and plum, with vivid cassis and spice. It was finished with cabernet franc and petit verdot. Spottswoode’s seductive, velvety 2012 Lyndenhurst Cabernet Sauvignon ($75) delivers red fruit and classic style.