Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

High-End Holiday: Put something nice—very nice—under the tree this year

“Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus Lane.”

Are you someone’s Santa? If that person is a wine lover, you are in a perfect position to make their holiday a memorable one.

Discounting gadgets, which are usually cute and trendy, oenophiles value and appreciate gifts of wine above all else. To find the perfect gift, one need look no further than the Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores with the Premium Collection designation. Most of these have a wine cellar, where their finest offerings are available in a climate-controlled environment. Once inside, it becomes obvious that this is where you will find treasure. Many major wine regions, and others more obscure, are represented by the offerings within.

California here is front and center with Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and pinot noir all in attendance. Meritage blends, which are New World wines blended in a more traditional, Bordeaux style, also make an appearance. Russian River Valley in Sonoma/Napa and Santa Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County are other California regions with high-quality quaffs that will delight your gift recipient. While we’re talking West Coast, check out the offerings from Oregon and Washington.

If the subject of your gift giving loves the wines of France, a quick glance will show a variety of bottles from the regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhone Valley. The noble grapes of cabernet sauvignon and merlot dominate the blended, age-worthy wines of the Bordeaux, one of the greatest regions in the world.

Burgundy relies on only two noble grapes, red pinot noir and white chardonnay, arguably the finest on Earth. The noble grape of the Rhone Valley is the red syrah. In the southern part of the valley, it is blended with grenache and reaches its zenith in the city of Avignon with chateauneuf du pape. North of the ancient city, the grape is bottled singly, becoming an amazing wine of balance and nuance unlike many other syrahs you may encounter. Also in the northern part of the valley is one of the few places where you can find viognier, a unique white grape that is the only one allowed in the area of Condrieu.

Those in your social circles that like Italian wine are not to be left off your gift list. The nebbiolo grape makes a heavy red wine that is renowned in the Piedmont region for its bold complexity and the ability to age. It takes many names in its native land, although the two biggest are barolo and barbaresco. A worthy gift for anyone.

We can’t talk about Italy without talking about amarone. This blended wine from the Veneto region has the distinction of having the grapes dry on straw mats until they become raisined before crushing in a process known as appassimento. One of the richest quaffs that anyone can find, it has an explosion of fruit on the palate and a dusty finish.

These are just some of the high-end wines that will work as a gift for any wine lover.

Keep sipping,

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