‘Tis the season to gift a bottle of wine to your holiday hostess and cheers in merry delight! This year, don’t show up empty handed to your holiday gathering, read through my 2021 Holiday Wine Guide, with a range of price points, to select the perfect pairing for your meal!
Co-founded in 1977 by father and son, Ray Signorello Sr. and Ray Signorello Jr., the Signorello Estates is located on 100 acres of Napa Valley land. Known for their food friendly wines, the vineyard produces 100% estate grown vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Bordeaux-style white blends.
2020 Hope’s Cuvée Chardonnay
Tasting Notes: a burst of orange blossoms, tangerine oil, apricot, lemon meringue greets you at the nose, opening up further into chamomile, dried flowers and sandalwood. The wine has vibrant, bright energy highlighting the gorgeous nuances that draw into a long, creamy, rich finish. The length and texture of this wine will keep you enthralled. Drink now or with some age, the Hope’s delivers delineation and complexity in your glass at all times.
Price Point: $98 | 750ml
Tasting Notes: rich, dynamic and concentrated. This vibrant, dense Cabernet is packed with black cherry, red and black currant, plum and blueberry jam. This stunning bouquet is wonderfully nuanced with licorice, menthol, lavender and dark chocolate. Opulent and big bodied, the mid-palate is weighted leading into a vibrant finish of tobacco leaf, herbal tea, and mocha. Deeply textured with exceptional balance, this wine will reveal so much more in the years to come.
Price Point: $175 | 750ml
2019 S By Ray Signorello Napa Valley
Tasting Notes: dark and dense to it’s core, the wine is complex, layered and nuanced. Inky in color, this wine greets you on the nose with dark fruit, graphite, lavender, crème de cassis opening up further into herbal tea, rose petals and leather. Silky and juicy tannins elongate the length of this wine finishing up with mocha, cedar and chai spices. Rich and expressive, the S is a knock out wine that is approachable in its youth and will continue to evolve in the years to come.
Price Point: $75 | 750ml
2018 Edge Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasting Notes: 2018 Edge is an intriguing wine that artfully balances the rich, red fruit of Cabernet Sauvignon with earthy, spicy notes that add a true sense of place and character. Deep ruby garnet in color with inviting aromas of strawberry and blueberry jam, licorice and figs, the wine is densely packed with nutmeg, cedar, blackberry, chocolate and vanilla bean. With structured yet supple tannins, the wine is medium bodied with a long finish lingering in cassis, espresso and mocha. Drink now or hold on for a few years, this bottle will drink beautifully for the next 5 to 8 years.
Price Point: $25 | 750ml
Samuele Sebastiani emigrated from the Tuscany region of Italy in 1895 and started Sebastiani nine years later. A stonemason by trade, he quarry-mined the Sonoma hills for cobblestones that were used to build the streets of San Francisco. He worked long hours and saved carefully to buy land in Sonoma County, from which he would make wine for the Sonoma community and San Francisco’s restaurants. The Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery went under new ownership in 2008, where Samuele’s legacy lives on today as the winery is making the finest wines in its long history with emphasis on single-vineyard and sub-appellation wines.
2017 Sebastiani Cherryblock, Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasting Notes: Great complexity, intricacy and sophistication. Intense, concentrated aromas of blackberry, vanilla and baking spices. Rich black fruit washes over the palate with complex layers of cedar and tobacco. Soft tannins and lingering notes of herbs and spice.
Price Point: $310 | 1.5L Magnum
In 1852, founder, Jean Laurent, leaves the Bordeaux region of France to join the Gold Rush in California. This long journey leads him to establish one of the first wineries in Napa Valley. In the 1970’s, the namesake of Markham Vineyards Bruce Markham, a Arizona businessman, invested in 230 acres of vineyards across the Napa Valley, a craftsman-style bungalow home and Jean Laurent’s old stone cellar winery along Highway 29. In 1977, Markham Vineyards is officially born and hired their first employee and vineyard visionary, Bryan Del Bondio.
Story behind the label: Bruce Markham served in the US Navy and owned a miniature cannon. Legend has it that he would mark the start of each harvest by firing his cannon in the vineyards.
“Our 2018 Merlot shows more of a serious side. While offering all the things that we love about Merlot — from cherry & chocolate aromas to its velvety texture — this wine also carries a weight that gives it additional age-worthiness.”Kimberlee Nicholls, Winemaker
2018 Napa Valley Merlot, Markham Vineyards
Tasting Notes: black raspberry and plum fruit greet you in the glass, which is enhanced by graham cracker, caramel and tootsie roll aromas from the oak aging. Concentrated cherry jam fruit provides silky texture balancing the toasty, vanilla shortbread character. Blended with: Cabernet (tannin structure), Petite Sirah (jammy mid-palate) & Syrah (spice)
- 87% Merlot
- 6% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 5% Petite Sirah
- 2% Syrah
Price Point: $29 | 750ml
Before the Russian River Valley existed, Gary Farrell crafted his first Pinot Noir from fruit grown in the now-legendary Rochioli Vineyard in 1982. This legacy carries on today with winemaker, Theresa Heredia.
“I strongly believe in the Russian River Valley’s capacity to consistently produce world class wines. The key is cool breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean blanket.”Theresa Heredia, Winemaker
2017 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir | Russian River Valley
Tasting Notes: opens with lush aromas of dark cherries, summer strawberries, and blackberry jam. Generous layers of black tea, freshly foraged mushrooms, dried tobacco, and black olive provide balance to the decadent fruit profile. Intensely concentrated fruit works in seamless harmony with the savory secondary flavors, while finely tuned oak tannins provide texture and exceptional length.
Price Point: $55 | 750ml
2018 Martaella Vineyard Chardonnay | Russian River Valley
Tasting Notes: Wafting scents of citrus flowers and airy perfume introduce our first Chardonnay offering from the beautiful Martaella Vineyard. White peaches, golden nectarines, and dried apricots are married with an array of freshly baked biscuits and honeycomb. Tangerine oils and Meyer lemon zest caress the palate while an undercurrent of crushed seashells lend weight and mystique to this delicious wine.
Price Point: $60 | 750ml
Visit the Gary Farrell website and use their easy online wine finder tool to type in your city and state. If you live in the Brazos Valley enjoy a selection of Gary Farrell wines at the Republic Steakhouse or visit a Kroger nearest you.
Aileron Estates is a boutique luxury Napa Valley wine brand founded in 2016 by Shannon O’Shaughnessy. Aileron’s unique name symbolizes Shannon’s inner guide and instinct that has kept her on her path of her dreams.
2017 Aileron Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Tasting Notes: opens quickly with beautiful notes of red fruit and aromas of cedarwood, white pepper, and deep forest. The earthy scent of mushroom comingles with boysenberry and pomegranate. The tannins and acid are balanced in the mouth, silky and smooth from start to finish. This wine can be enjoyed now or cellared through 2030.
Price Point: $160 | 750ml
2019 Aileron Sauvignon Blanc | Coombsville, Napa Valley
Tasting Notes: offers expressive aromas of tropical fruits, Meyer lemon, and pomelo. On the palate, this wine is full-bodied with excellent acidity and a hint of sweetness from barrel fermentation. Finishing with bright acid and great tension. Enjoy now, or age for 3 to 5 years.
Price Point: $80 | 750ml
Stone Castle Vineyards and Winery was established in 1953 in Rehovec Valley and is one of the largest privately owned wineries in Europe today. Rehovec has a 2,000 year winemaking history and the owners of Stone Castle have brought economic rehabilitation, job creation and advancement to Kosovo.
2017 Gecaj Estate Owners Choice
Tasting Notes: this bold and regal full-bodied blend unites the power of a Cab with the elegance of a Merlot, creating a rich sipping experience with a dry, crisp finish. Deliciously smooth tannins are interwoven with aromas of leather and vanilla alongside warm flavors of fig, currant, blueberry jam, pepper and plum. Aged in new American and Hungarian oak, time is the wine’s best keeper.
The Sonoma vineyard, Immortal Estate, was planted in 1998 by it’s founder on the ridgeline of the Mayacamas Mountains and produces Cabernet that rivals the best of Napa Valley. Immortal Estates is a new, luxury Sonoma wine brand that currently produces two Cabernet Sauvignons.
The meaning behind the name: wine makers aspire to create a legacy that will stand the test of time, much like the immortal jellyfish which scientists have proved can live forever.
2016 Immortal Estate Slope
Tasting Notes: Layers of black fruit, cherry, dried cranberries, spicecake, interwoven with sweet pipe tobacco, dark muscovado sugar, cocoa powder, raspberry leaf and hibiscus tea. Concentrated and intense, this mountainside Cabernet entices with its sweet fruit, supple palate and rich complexity. Accessible in its youth, it will continue to evolve for decades.
- Variety: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
- Vineyard: 100% Immortal Estate Vineyard
- Production: 21,060 bottles 288 Magnums
Price Point: $80 | 750ml
2016 Impassable Mountain
Tasting Notes: Aromas of sweet black and red fruit interlaced with aromatic herbs and spices invite you to taste a wine that unfolds gradually in layers of flavor: black and red cassis, pomegranate and black raspberry, nutmeg and clove, vanilla and molasses, finishing with black tea and cafe au lait. Despite its richness, it is finely balanced with subtle textured, minerality and fine-grained tannin. Approachable but bold in youth, it will evolve well-kept for decades.
- Varietal: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
- Vineyard: 100% Hidden Ridge Vineyard
- Production: 394 cases, 186 magnums, 15 Jeroboams
Visit Immortal Estate website to acquire.