Liquid gifts from cash-strapped friends and rich uncle

What would you like to see under the tree from a wine lover with more taste than cash? What would you like to receive from a generous and rich relative? Let’s call him Uncle Bob.

These are the questions we posed to several friends of the vine — what would be their dream bottles?

They answered with a selection of delicious wines and spirits that can be had for under $20 or with a very fat pocketbook.

Champagne, Riesling, Nebbiolo, Cabs, Amarone — there is something here for everyone.

Anita Jarmolicz, International Cellars

WenteFrom the cash-strapped friend:

2010 Wente Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon (Livermore Valley, USA), $16

Full-bodied, elegant, and packed with blackberry and black cherry flavours from the fifth generation Wente Family vineyards.

From the rich uncle:

2009 Pingus (Ribero del Duero, Spain), $1,025

The legendary flagship wine of Dominio de Pingus is a monumental offering. Dense, complex, and loaded with flavour and intensity. For your cellar; it can age for up to 50 years!

Rob Filipchuk, Glass Monkey Gastropub

MB Argetino NVFrom the cash-strapped friend:

2010 Bodega Catena Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina), $20

This red offers great value, and cellars amazingly well to evolve and improve for 10-15 years. It is from one of the most amazing looking wineries I have ever seen.

From the rich uncle:

2007 Remoissenet Montrachet Grand Cru (Burgundy, France), $480

A truly fantastic wine with amazing freshness, and exotic tropical fruit that explodes from the glass. I’ve only tasted this wine twice but still remember the beautiful complexity and incredible flavours.

Graham Usher, UnWined Fine Wines, Spirits and Ales

From the cash-strapped friend:

2009 Chateau LaBrande (AOC Cahors, France), $18

This rich Malbec has an enticing earthy, plummy nose, savoury flavours, mildly tannic with a medium finish. Chateau Labrande is a well-crafted wine, and highly recommended for those who wish to compare an old world wine with a new world Malbec from Argentina.

From the rich uncle:

1969 Macallan 42 year old (Scotland), $21,000

This extremely rare Macallan represents the peak of the distiller’s art, presented in a Lalique crystal decanter with silver engraving which mirrors the whisky’s exquisite refinement. Bringing the monumental journey full circle, the decanter is housed in an elegant display case, crafted from the very cask that matured the whisky to perfection. Only one available.

Paulette Scott, Pacific Wine and Spirits

From the cash-strapped friend:

Botter Moscato (Apulia, Italy), $14

This 100 per cent Moscato is off dry, expressive, with a soft spritz and flavours of sweet melon, peach and honey. Delightful!

From the rich uncle:

2011 Fonseca Vintage Port (Oporto, Portugal), $125

Imagine this: lifted scents of freshly-picked blackberries, kirsch, crushed stone. Well-defined, focused and direct; possessing a silky smooth palate with not a rough edge in sight. It will become an outstanding vintage Fonseca, the growing season taming its exuberance with spectacular results. So much potential. Drink? 2036+

Patrick Saurette, The Marc Restaurant

From the cash-strapped friend:

2012 Descombe Beaujolais Village (Burgundy, France), $20

I love Beaujolais! This is so fresh — good fruit, good acidity with the right amount of tannin; it has some good grip.

From the rich uncle:

2006 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Schlossberg Cuvee Sainte Catherine Grand Cru (Alsace, France), $70-ish

I am a firm believer that people must drink more Riesling. The Riesling dinner we had with Cave Spring dispelled a lot of myths about Riesling; we know we can have it with meat, we can drink it throughout a meal.

Wade Brintnell, The Wine Cellar

From the cash-strapped friend:

2011 Vondeling Baldrick Shiraz (Coastal Region, Paarl Voor Paardeberg, South Africa), $20

Peppery raspberry aromas, medium-bodied with supple, silky tannins.

From the rich uncle:

2010 Domaine de la Romanee Conti (DRC) Romanée Conti (Burgundy, France), $16,000

My rich uncle will have to pull some strings to get on the allocation list for Domaine de la Romanée Conti in order to secure one of the rarest wines in the world. The 2010 Romanée Conti is a near perfect wine that will take decades to mature, but should offer those fortunate to own one
an ethereal experience.

Leila Zuniga, Lifford Wine and Spirits

Cappellaccio 2006 rFrom the cash-strapped friend:

2006 Cappellaccio Aglianico Riserva DOC (Puglia, Italy), $19

No one would ever know that this fabulous little Italian gem was under $20. Aromas of ripe red fruit and tanned leather and spice will surely fool your friends into thinking you spent much more.

From the rich uncle:

1995 Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon (Santa Cruz, California), $200

This intense Bordeaux blend was described by winemaker Paul Draper as being from his most brawny and muscular vintage. If anyone knows of a rich uncle with those qualities please let me know!

Eberhard Tamm, Enotri

MONTECCHIESI PREZIOSATERRAFrom the cash-strapped friend:

2011 Tenuta Montecchiesi Preziosaterra (Tuscany, Italy), $20

This poor man’s super-Tuscan is a lovely marriage of Sangiovese, Merlot, and Cabernet. Bright ruby, ripe berry aromas with a hint of cassis and cedar; full-bodied and harmonious; soft tannins, lingering finish.

From the rich uncle:

2009 Massimago Amarone (Veneto, Italy), $79

Winemaker Camilla Rossi’s masterpiece. Its mouth-filling richness is balanced by elegant acidity, ripe, firm tannins, ending with persistence.

Sasha McCauley, Authentic Wine & Spirits Merchants

From the cash-strapped friend:

Vintage Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut (Washington State, USA), $17

Brut premI would be pleased as punch to receive a bottle of Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut from my cash- strapped friends. It’s deliciously balanced, not too dry, not too sweet, with flavours of apples and citrus and a lively acidity.

From the rich uncle:

Louis Roederer Brut Premier (Champagne, France), $70

My rich uncle knows my love of Champagne, and as he is so generous, he’ll leave a case of Louis Roederer Brut Premier under the tree for me. A most elegant Champagne — vibrant, fresh and generous.

Jason Sanwell, Fluid Imports

satellite_SB08_botFrom the cash-strapped friend:

2012 Spy Valley Satellite Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand), $14

Bright aromas and flavours of citrus, guava and stone fruit with a pleasing mineral finish. Graceful and delicately balanced, and amazing value for Kiwi Sauv Blanc.

From the rich uncle:

2009 Von Strasser Diamond Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Magnum (Napa Valley, USA), $240 (magnum)

Loaded with dark fruit, black cherry, mocha and caramel aromas, a hint of violet along with subtle cedar and vanilla in the velvety mid-palate. Lively tannins, full-bodied, with a lingering finish touched with flavours of sarsaparilla.

Juanita Roos, Crestwood Fine Wines & Spirits

From the cash-strapped friend:

2011 Chateau Gres Saint Paul Romanis (AOC Coteaux du Languedoc, France), $22

A spicy, fruity red wine from the south of France which warms both the heart and soul. Rich, but still elegant, balanced and so darn tasty.

From the rich uncle:

2009 Trisaetum Pinot Noir (Oregon, USA) $56

A robust Pinot Noir nose and palate that over-delivers with tons of ripe fruit, spice and complexity. Really delicious.

Valerie Albrecht, Crush Imports

claraval06From the cash-strapped friend:

2006 Bodegas Y Vinedos Del Jalon Claraval (Calatayud, Spain), $17

Old vine Grenache with alluring aromas of raspberry and black cherry enhanced with Asian spices, smoky mineral, violets. Gift this wine and the lucky recipient will indeed think you pulled out all the stops.

From the rich uncle:

2010 Palazzo Cabernet Franc (Napa Valley, California), $95

Scott Palazzo was first asked by chef Thomas Keller to produce an exclusive Cabernet Franc for his restaurants (French Laundry, Per Se and Bouchon). Only 250 cases were made of this elegant, seductively plush Cab Franc. The wine dances on the palate, offering crushed red and black cherry fruit, essence of wild herbs that give way to spice, earth and a touch of minerality.

Ryan Everitt, Trialto

Bottle Shot Syrah 2011From the cash-strapped friend:

2011 De Morgenzon DMZ Syrah (Stellenbosch, South Africa), $18

De Morgenzon, ‘the morning sun,’ was so named because it is the first part of the Stellenboschkloof Valley to see the sun. Rich and full in the mouth, with tremendous youthful vigour. It’s an excellent buy.

From the rich uncle:

2011 Corton Clos des Cortons Faiveley Grand Cru (Burgundy, France), $185

The nose is powerful, concentrated, fruity and woody. We are in the presence of a wine of great volume, with firm yet supple tannins and long-lasting aromas and flavours. This is a fine wine for cellaring.

Daniel Costa, Corso 32

From the cash-strapped friend:

2011 Il Feuduccio Ceresuolo D’Abruzzo DOC Rosé (Abruzzo, Italy), $20

Montevetrano Bottle Pic ColourChristmas Eve dinner is always a feast of fish in my home and I will definitely be enjoying this rosé at some point in the meal. Pair with light pastas, seafood and white meats.

From the rich uncle:

2005 Montevetrano (Colli di Salerno IGT, Italy), $125

This cult classic is one of my favourite wines from southern Italy. I also love the fact that it is made in my family’s region of Campania, less than an hour away from where my father was born. Montevetrano makes one wine — a blend of Cabernet, Merlot, and the local Aglianico grape — and a very small amount of it. I love its rich spice, tobacco, and black fruit. Pair with roasted red meats.

Tara Smith, Sherbrooke Liquor Store

From the cash-strapped friend:

2010 Waterbrook Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington State, USA), $14

HBlin-Vintage-2004Nice, full-bodied, fruit forward Cab with surprising structure. Drinks well above its price point.

From the rich uncle:

H. Blin 2004 Millésime (AOC Champagne, France), $52

Champagne! Always Champagne! And this vintage Champagne (brand new on the market) is priced well enough that Uncle Bob should buy two bottles. It’s a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier from a small co-op in the Marne Valley area. Classic biscuity and honeyed aromas (from the five and half years this wine spent on its lees), and a grapefruit-fresh palate with delicate mousse.

Brandi Dawson, Sabor Divino

From the cash-strapped friend:

2010 Candidato Tempranillo (Castilla-La Mancha, Spain), $17

Easy-drinking pizza wine.

From the rich uncle:

2012 Arietta On the White Keys (Napa, USA), $80

A blend of Sauvignon and Semillon from vineyards on Sonoma Mountain, and in Carneros and Napa. I love the Keys because it is bold and has some stink to it.

Stacey-Jo Strombecky, Clarus Wine & Spirits, Nobilis Wine Importers

Cash-strapped friend:

2012 Domaine des Cotes de la Roche Beaujolais-Villages (France) $18

Red fruit with delicate spice notes, really amazing with Moroccan food, curries, and most fowl or pork dishes.

From the rich uncle:

2010 Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune Greve L’Enfant Jesus (Burgundy, France), $150

Classic Beaune profile from one of the most well-respected names in Burgundy. Beautiful tension, harmonious acidity, smooth, with dark-red fruit notes, and trademark earthiness. Well-built for long aging.

Tricia Bell, The Cavern

Castillo de Monseran Old vineFrom the cash-strapped friend:

2008 Castillo de Monséran Old Vines Garnacha (Cariñena, Spain), $15

I am impressed with the quality and affordability of Spanish wines. This wine is bold without being overbearing, slightly spicy and charming in one fell swoop.

From the rich uncle:

2006 Gaja Sorì Tildìn Langhe Nebbiolo (Piedmont, Italy), $500

Nebbiolo is like a best friend, never once letting me down. This wine holds a rich body with a velvety-smooth character expression that will leave palate memory to satisfy for a lifetime.

Natasha Susylynski, Treasury Wine Estates

From the cash-strapped friend:

2011 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Chardonnay (South Australia), $18

Aromas of lime leaf and stone fruit with flavours of lemon curd and lovely mineral acid make this Chardonnay crisp yet complex.

From the rich uncle:

2010 Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz (South Australia), $60

Known globally as ‘Baby Grange’ because the wine is aged in barrels that held the previous vintage of Grange. A blend of Cabernet and Shiraz with intoxicating aromas of cola, bark berries, fig, vanilla, and leather. Created by the legendary Max Schubert, this ages as well as its inspiration, Grange.

Amanda LeNeve, The Tomato food & drink

PaulessenFrom the cash-strapped friend:

Bender Paulessen Dry Riesling (Mosel, Germany), $20

I fell madly in love with Riesling this summer — especially German Riesling. Winemaker Andreas Bender does a great job with this one, clearly honouring the traditional Mosel Riesling style, but adding his own modern spin to it. A little hit of effervescence off the top before the juicy, lemonade/honey flavours take over your mouth. The textbook acidity and mineral characteristics leave the palate nice and clean, though, ready for the next sip. Think I might have to swap my Christmas morning tradition of coffee-and-Baileys for a glass of Paulessen instead.

From the rich uncle:

2006 E Para e Figli Chiara Boschis Cannubi Barolo (Piedmont, Italy), $100

I’ve finally started collecting wines that I want to age and could use Uncle’s help when it comes to the pride of northwestern Italy, Barolo! Typically an age-worthy wine, research tells me the 2006s are even more so. Made of 100 per cent Nebbiolo, Barolos are often compared to Burgundy’s Pinot Noirs — delicate, yet hearty with pretty floral aromas accompanied by flavours you’ll think about long after you’ve taken your last sip.

Barb Giacomin, WineQuest Wine & Spirit Brokers

From the cash-strapped friend:

2011 Santa Maria La Palma “Le Bombarde” Cannonau (Sardinia, Italy), $20

Magnum Open - 2This sophisticated Sardinian offers cherry, plum with leather, spice, and earth for an explosion of intricately woven wine goodness. It’s so tasty with everything, we can’t wait to open our next bottle.

From the rich uncle:

Anvers ‘The Giant’ 2009 Old Vine Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon Magnum Auction Wine Package, $1,200 value

A giant wine package, to be auctioned at the Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers & Big Sisters’ November fundraiser. The inaugural release of Giant (rated 94 points by Australian wine critic, James Halliday) is made from 95-year-old-vine Shiraz and 45-year-old-vine Cab Sauvignon from McLaren Vale.

Find wines at The Wine Cellar, Unwined, Liquor Select, Keg ‘n’ Cork, Crestwood, Petrolia, Sunterra Cellars, City Cellars, Lacombe Spirits, Ashton’s, deVine Wines, and other fine wine shops. Not all wines in all shops.