The Dozen Vol. 26 No. 12

The Dozen – Giftworthies

Excellent wines for family, friends, and colleagues with a couple of spirits of the season.


Need a really nice gift? One to give, that is?

For your last-minute buying, we have some delicious whites, reds, sparkling, and even a couple of Morris whiskies from Australia (unfortunately, no relations).                                                                                                                         

Of course, if you deliver the gift bottle in person, you might be asked to share it.

2019 Au Bon Climate “Sanford & Benedict Vineyard” Santa Ynez Valley Chardonnay ($40). Quite the bargain – one of those minerally Chards that linger on the palate with mellow apple and pear fruits and with the oak providing a creamy, not toasty, finish.

2021 Inman Family “Pratt Vine Hill” Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($73).  A delicious wine with aromas of beeswax, flowers, and baking spices and a lively citrus juiciness to complement the tart apple flavors – very long on the palate.

NV Charles Heidsieck Champagne Brut Réserve ($61). Delicious, with concentrated bubbles, flavors of pear, mellow apple, toasted nuts, vanilla, and brioche.

NV Besserat de Belle “Cuvée des Moines” Blanc de Blancs Champagne Brut ($115). Very refreshing, with crisp minerality and lightly tangy citrus and toasted apple flavors.

2017 Le Macchiole Bolgheri Rosso ($34). One of the affordable Super Ts, lively and lean with blackberry flavors and raspy texture in a medium body.

2018 Lynmar Estate “Quail Hill Vineyard” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($69). Very fragrant Pinot, rich in flavors – cola, sassafras root, dark cherries – and very well-structured.

2018 Chalk Hill Winery Chalk Hill Estate Red ($75). About one-half Cabernet Sauvignon and a third Merlot, the wine is dominated by cherry fruit and buttery aromas and flavors with some chocolate and well-blended tannins – a big wine, but not an aggressive one.

2019 Inman Family “OGV Estate” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($75). Light in color but with considerable presence – red raspberry fruitiness with some defining bar bitters and light, raspy tannins.

2020 Bibi Graetz “Testamatta” Toscana Rosso ($102). A very linear Sangiovese with spicy aromas and tart, raspy, bricky, intense flavors of apples, red cherries, and red berries – a little earthy and somewhat granular.

2020 Bibi Gaetz “Colore” Toscana Rosso ($358). The essence of great Sangiovese – very satisfying and involving, fresh and lean with dark berries and a tangy underlay with typical raspiness in the finish.

Morris Australian Single Malt Whisky ($60). Smooth, with a light, almost-peaty nose from the barrels, flavors of dried and wet crushed grains, short-bread vanilla, and a light caramel finish. (44% ABV)

Morris Australian Single Malt “ Muscat Barrel” Whisky ($90). An elegant spirit, with only light influence from the barrels – a light molasses and caramel – to add to the cracked grain notes. (48% ABV)

Prices listed are generally SRP or from As more wineries are shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.

Don’t miss Features, Reviews, News, and Recipes from top Restaurateurs!

Suggested roles: Restaurateur (e.g. manager, owner, cook, chef, sommelier, bartender, mixologist), PR (e.g. PR agency), Producer (e.g. winery, distillery), Marketer (e.g. ad buyer), Consultant, Journalist

Suggested interests: wine, spirits, food, recipes, cocktails

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Roger Morris writes about wine, food and travel for The World of Fine Wine, Drinks Business, Meininger's Wine Business International, Wine Enthusiast and other publications in the U.S. and Europe.

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