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Wines to buy when you are looking to give a special gift

My wife and I recently did a rather special favour for someone and, in appreciation, he gave us two really exciting bottles of wine from Argentina.

I will lead off by describing them, and a few more in the gold and platinum medal territory.

I have yet to try the Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard White Stones Vino de Parcela Chardonnay and am wondering when we might we open this 2018 bottle. Here is what the winemaker has to say: “Delicate aroma with mineral notes and white flowers, in the mouth it is a wine of great elegance, with delicious flavours of jasmine and white peach, gently intertwined with a fresh mineral side. Lively and refreshing acidity with a long, lingering finish. This wine pairs well with a variety of more full-flavoured fish dishes especially shellfish like shrimp, crab and lobster. For a special meal try this elegant chardonnay with grilled langoustines with beurre blanc.”

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate rates it 98+/100 and comments: “The outstanding 2018 White Stones Chardonnay epitomises the expression of this grape in the cooler climate and high-altitude location of the Adrianna vineyard in Gualtallary. There is rectitude, austerity and elegance, a subtle wine with great clout and intensity that comes through as chiselled, focused, symmetric and pure, more in the style of [the winemaker] Roulot than Coche-Dury, with superb integration of all the elements and fine minerality. This is more about the place and vintage than the grape, which feels like a good way to transmit the chalky soils of the selected plots. Simply superb, possibly the finest vintage for this bottling so far.”

James Suckling also rings in at 98 points and says: “A very subtle yet intense White Stones on the nose with stone, bone, lemon-rind and dried-apple aromas that follow through to a full body that is very tight and closed, but shows a compact fruit structure of sliced mangoes and cooked apples. Vivid finish, turning to flamboyant minerality. Mouth-watering freshness; taut with savoury complexity and hints of sweet spices resulting from skilful use of oak. A classy wine with a broad creamy texture and reminiscent of white burgundy. Drinking window 2020 to 2030.” $89 (Stock #6176).

The second bottle is 2016 Nicolás Catena Zapata, a cabernet/malbec/cabernet franc blend. Decanter magazine rates it 97/100 and opines: “The 2016 vintage is a classic example, a superb blend of cabernet sauvignon with 31 per cent malbec and 8 per cent cabernet franc that’s still in its infancy. Subdued aromas of cassis, black cherries and nuanced herbaceous and tobacco notes. A lovely fluid entrance builds on concentration and complexity. Malbec’s seductive juiciness joins a vertical cabernet structure, tannins and integrated oak, with a long, lingering finish. A wine to wait for.” I am not sure if I can wait! $102.95 (Stock #6173).

As this is June, maybe best friends need one of the finest champagnes to celebrate their marriage? Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle Brut Champagne is named for the 17th century period during the reign of Louis XIV who was known as the Sun King; the era became known as the Great Century, or Grand Siecle. He was the first French King to drink champagne.

Wine Enthusiast awarded it 97/100 and in 2018 placed it on their annual list, the World’s Top 100 Wines. They commented: “Laurent-Perrier has always preferred to keep its prestige cuvée as a non-vintage blend. With eight years ageing after bottling and plenty of reserve wines in the blend, it is a mature wine that is yeasty and toasty in character. To go with that, there is great fruit from the blend that only comes from grand cru vineyards. It's ready to drink.” $195 (Stock #7172).

Let’s talk about three very fine presents for the New World cabernet sauvignon lover. Ed Sbragia is someone that I highly respect and feel I can call a friend, as we have discussed winemaking here in our home and at his winery at the end of Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma. We have his 2014 Monte Rosso Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon that hails from one of California’s most respected mountain vineyards.

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate gave it an outstanding 96/100 and said: “Deep garnet-purple in colour, the 2014 has a beguiling nose of exotic spices and blackberry preserves with hints of sandalwood and potpourri. The ripeness of the tannins goes a long way in elevating this rich, concentrated multilayered beauty, with a finish that goes on and on. One to watch!” $69 (Stock #6801).

The 2016 Louis M. Martini Monte Rosso Vineyard Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon garners 97 points from James Suckling who writes: “This is a reserved and tight Monte Rosso with bark and currant character. Wet earth. Full-bodied, balanced and extremely long. Fantastic, subtle finish. Reminds me of old Louis Martini Mountain Cabs. $155 (Stock #8696).

If you are still in a cabernet-giving frame of mind, then I can suggest the 94-pointer 2018 J. Lohr Hilltop Paso Robles Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon that is effusive with fresh varietal aromas of black cherry and hints of toasted pastry and baking spice on the nose. It is dense and soft on the palate with elegant layers of black and red currants that leave a bright finish.

The Tasting Panel group rated it 94/100 and said: “The majority of grapes for this blend, which includes some petit verdot and malbec, were sourced from the cooler El Pomar District, with an additional selection off a 1,700-foot-high site in the warmer Creston District. Scents of blackberry preserves, pepper, and tobacco are at the forefront. Polished tannins and a juicy mouthfeel meld with notes of tilled soil, black olive, and black currant. One of the deeper and darker vintages, it shows a maturity and more finesse than we have ever experienced from this wine, revealed in balanced acidity and fruit that’s bright and poignant – intense but not overbearing.” The Wine Enthusiast came in at 93/100 and gave it the title of “Editor’s Choice”. $43 (Stock #7992).

Hope this helps with gift giving. You may even wish to try them yourselves as they all rate highly and are quite exceptional.

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Contact Michael Robinson at mrobinson@bll.bm. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit www.wineonline.bm

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate rates the Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard White Stones Vino de Parcela Chardonnay 98+/100

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Published June 11, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated June 09, 2021 at 1:42 pm)

Wines to buy when you are looking to give a special gift

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