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Wine Experts Want Luxury Bottles for Christmas

Only quality wine for those on Santa’s nice list

Janice Williams By December 13, 2021
illustration of Santa holding wine bottles
Photo illustration by Pix

Adults on Santa’s naughty list are likely to find lumps of coal waiting for them under the Christmas tree. But for those who have been good all year, St. Nick might be delivering bottles of luxury wine. At least, that’s what some wine experts are hoping will happen. Here are the bottles experts have on their holiday wish list.

7 splurge-worthy wines to try:

bottle of Ferrando Vini Etichetta Nera Carema Nebbiolo 2017

Ferrando Vini Etichetta Nera Carema Nebbiolo 2017 ($224)

Who wouldn’t want an exceptional Nebbiolo for Christmas, especially if it’s one as elegant as Luigi Ferrando’s “Etichetta Nera,” Black Label bottle? Produced in the steep hillsides of Carema, Italy, this wine is filled with violet, berries, and vanilla aromas and flavors, rich fine tannins, and firm structure. “It’s bright, gracious, inviting, complex, and wonderfully surprising,” says Kevin Day, the Denver-based wine educator behind Opening a Bottle. This particular Nebbiolo is not an easy wine to come by, unfortunately. Of the 300 cases Ferrando produced of this wine, only 100 were shipped to the U.S. “If Santa could drop off a bottle of Ferrando’s Black Label Carema, it would be a Christmas miracle,” says Day.

bottle of Comando G Rumbo al Norte Sierra de Gredos Garnacha 2017

Comando G Rumbo al Norte Sierra de Gredos Garnacha 2017 ($345)

From the jagged mountain tops of Spain’s Sierra de Gredos comes this single-vineyard Grenache, produced by Comando G. It’s plush with dark fruit flavors and a spicy backbone. Wine critics have given this bottle an average score of 98 points. It’s all Napa-based Maryam + Company founder Maryam Ahmed wants to drink for the holidays, but even Santa may have difficulty finding it. Only a few bottles are still available, and they’re all overseas. A good alternative? Comando G’s La Bruja de Rozas Vinos de Madrid 2019 is just as complex with its black fruit, black pepper, and crushed earth flavors, and it’s a steal at $35 a bottle. “Just bring the Comando G, Santa! Please and thank you!” says Ahmed.

bottle of Opus One Winery Napa Valley Proprietary Red Wine 1997

Opus One Winery Napa Valley Proprietary Red Wine 1997 ($475)

From one of the United States’ most storied wineries comes this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Near-perfect weather in Napa Valley made this particular vintage of Opus One a standout. This bottle makes a perfect gift with a concentrated aroma of toasted oak and vanilla integrated with complex flavors of blackberry, clove, roasted coffee, and cassis. “Santa Baby, I want a 1997 Opus One. Aged for 25 years, this wine will be ready to enjoy now as I celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary. Think of all those boys I haven’t kissed!” says Karen Goodlad, CSW, an associate professor and lead beverage instructor for the department of hospitality management at New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn.

bottle of Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac 2020

Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac 2020 ($640)

Santa will really have to work his magic to get a bottle of this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot under wine educator Jaclyn Misch’s Christmas tree. Produced by the First Growth Château Mouton Rothschild in Pauillac, within the Médoc district of Bordeaux, Mouton is famous for its artist series of labels. Each year, a notable artist is commissioned to produce the label; the label of the 2019 vintage, the current release, was created by Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. The 2020 has not yet been released, though it is available for pre-order. “2020 was intense, heartbreaking, eye-opening, and life-changing for so many of us. I’m excited to see what artwork is chosen for this bottle because it really should encapsulate what the world went through. I think it would be incredible to own this bottle considering the history of the wine and the artwork,” says Misch, an instructor for the Napa Valley Wine Academy.

bottle of 2017 MacDonald Cabernet Sauvignon

MacDonald Vineyards Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 ($700)

The Napa Valley estate of brothers Alex and Graeme MacDonald has been heralded as some of the best terroir in the area. The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes used for this wine come from the To-Kalon vineyard within their Oakville estate. This wine is vibrant with ripe red berry aromas while the palate is full-bodied, balanced, and complex with flavors of plum, blackberry, cassis, ropes of licorice, and gravel. If its concentrated flavors and incredibly long finish aren’t impressive enough, its 98-point rating from wine critics certainly is. “We would be thrilled if Santa brought us a bottle of MacDonald Cabernet Sauvignon,” says Philip Kou, one-half of the Instagram influencers and wine review team, The Wine Guys, in San Francisco.

bottle of Krug Clos du Mesnil Champagne Blanc des Blancs Brut 2004

Krug Clos du Mesnil Champagne Blanc des Blancs Brut 2004 ($1,200)

There’s only one thing sommelier and Sommation founder Anna-Christina Cabrales wants for Christmas: “2004 Krug Clos de Mesnil pretty please, Santa,” she says. Who could blame her? With its energetic, persistent bubbles, intense golden hue, vibrant aromas, and complex flavors, Krug is one of the most recognizable brands of Champagne, and this particular vintage of Chardonnay comes from one of the winery’s most esteemed vineyards. Critics deemed it an outstanding wine with excellent aging potential, and it averages a 98-point rating. If the price is outside of Santa’s budget, he can grab a quality alternative bottle of Krug Grande Cuvée Champagne Brut for just $160.

bottle of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Echézeaux Grand Cru 2014

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Echézeaux Grand Cru 2014 ($3,000)

It really doesn’t matter what bottle Santa brings certified sommelier and wine educator Desiree Harrison-Brown for Christmas, as long as it’s a bottle of Pinot Noir from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. A producer of some of the world’s most prestigious wines, the winery only produces about 6,000 to 8,000 cases each year, making any bottle of D.R.C. a hot commodity with a heavy price tag. Not to mention the grapes are grown in one of the most revered winemaking areas, the Côte de Nuits. “Wine from D.R.C. is fabled and highly sought after. I’ve always wanted to see what the hype was about,” says Harrison-Brown, a Los Angeles-based instructor for the Napa Valley Wine Academy and founder of The Wino Shop.