Red wines make great gifts…

  • Dec. 7, 2017 1:30 p.m.

Picking the right red wine to give as a gift can be challenging – there are so many to choose from.

This short list of wines has been chosen with gift giving in mind. Regardless of price, these are red wines that overdeliver within their category. Any red wine lover would be happy with these treats.

Italy has been awash with wine for centuries. No surprise, then, that some of the most affordable and highest quality reds come from this Mediterranean paradise.

A blend of 60 per cent Merlot and 40 per cent Corvina, Gran Passione Rosso (509018) $17.49 is crafted in an ‘Appassimento’ style like the Amarone wines of the Veneto. Over the centuries, this technique of drying the grapes before crushing has clearly been perfected. Ripe dark cherry, plum, vanilla and cake spices predominate in this remarkably luscious red.

Closer to home, California has been a dependable source of wonderful wines for more than 50 years. Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are favourites… but California Merlots can be rich and seductive with a dash of other wine grapes in the blend.

Grown in the Livermore Valley, east of San Francisco, the grapes that make up Wente Sandstone Merlot (171025) $21.99 are harvested, fermented and aged separately before they are blended together. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Petite Verdot are added to the blend. Expect to be captivated by the aromas and flavors of strawberry, cherry, blackberry and fig with wisps of toast, caramel, and spice.

Cabernet Franc is one of the traditional varieties – with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec – in red blended wines from Bordeaux, France. Not nearly as widely planted in British Columbia as Merlot, Cabernet Franc is making a name for itself in the Okanagan Valley.

Knowing they couldn’t ripen Cabernet Franc on Quadra Island, Jill Ogasawara and Ben McGuffie compromised their principles and brought in Cabernet Franc grapes from the Okanagan to make SouthEnd Farm Principles (284497) $27.05. Outrageously flavourful, this is an inky, dry red wine with lots of peppery liquorice, dark red and black fruit and sweet vanilla notes in the lengthy finish.

Quality red wines from Chile outnumber equivalents from Argentina on our shelves. Tapiz ‘Alta Collection’ Cabernet Sauvignon (119485) $27.79 is an overwhelmingly intense red that would be a prefect pick to cellar for 5 years. Classic blackcurrant, mint and cedar notes emerge slowly as the wine opens after an hour in the glass.

We’ve become so accustomed to enjoying the jammy fruitiness of affordable Australian reds that we routinely overlook the extraordinary depth and complexity of carefully crafted premium wines from legendary regions like the Barossa Valley.

Langmeil Three Gardens SMG (640821) $33.99 is a silky Barossa blend of 40 per cent Shiraz, 32 per cent Mataro (aka: Mourvedre in France, Monastrell in Spain) and 28 per cent Grenache. Pepper-spiced raspberry and blackberry aromas and flavours ride a base of earthy mint, black olives and tree bark.

Great French wines from Bordeaux are rarely even remotely affordable. Beyond that, the best red wines from Bordeaux need to be aged a few years to allow the tannins to settle down and the fruit flavours to develop.

A treat from the exceptional 2010 vintage, Chateau Bibian Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois (375881) $39.99 is a sturdy red wine just moving into its prime. Raspberry, blueberry and cedar aromas lead into blackberry and cassis flavours with subtle notes of liquorice and mint. Decant for an hour and drink now or cellar for 3-5 years.

The wines of Ribera del Duero are mainly red – white wines here are not exported or revered. The reds come primarily from a variation of Tempranillo, called Tinto Fino or Tinto del Pais in this region. Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon are also used. The best wines of the area are refreshing yet sturdy and complex, with an ability to age and mature gracefully.

The 2010 Finca Villacreces Ribera del Duero (317826) $63.15 is intensely aromatic seductively attractive on the nose. It’s a blend of 86 per cent Tempranillo, 10 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and 4 per cent Merlot aged for 14 months in French oak barrels. Aromas of violets, morello cherries, and exotic spices predominate, with touches of graphite and tar.

Any red wine lover would be happy to receive one of these beautiful wines as a gift.

Reach WineWise by emailing douglas_sloan@yahoo.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A picture of John taken at Children's Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River grocery store parking lot

The seven-year-old Campbell River resident has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

In a statement, BC RCMP’s media relations officer Cpl.Chris Manseau said that even an amount as small as grain of sand could be fatal. (File photo)
Sayward RCMP alerts residents after highly toxic opioid carfentanil found in community

The opioid’s toxicity levels is 100 times more than that of fentanyl

Kuterra’s smolts will come from Cermaq hatcheries. (Whole Oceans image)
Cermaq to supply salmon smolts to land-based farm Kuterra

Emergent Holdings, which operates Kuterra, and Cermaq signed a four-year agreement

Joshua Ogden and his family pose for a photograph outside their new place at Walters Island. (Submitted photo).
B.C. teacher who went through a buyer’s nightmare in Kyuquot finds home after the Mirror reported it

Joshua Ogden is urging Vancouver Island MLAs and MPs to look into housing situations in remote areas

Candice Woloshyn prepares her flower beds for the next season at her ‘Dirty Girl Flowers’ farm in Merville. Despite the pandemic, Woloshyn was able to sustain her homegrown business as community members opted for regular deliveries of fresh cut flowers. Photo by Binny Paul/ Campbell River Mirror.
Vancouver Island flower farmers were blooming as the pandemic wilted everything else

Floriculturists saw increased subscriptions as fresh flowers became a ‘sight for sore eyes’ during isolation

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Most Read