8 exotic North Coast gift wines

The true vinophile wants only wine under the Christmas tree. Nothing else will do.|

A wine lover only wants one thing under the Christmas tree: vino. Nothing else will do.

Luckily, there are countless local options for exotic bottlings that will delight. Here’s a sample at all price points, proving even a budget-minded wine can be generous beyond measure.

Christo, Lot No. 1, by Marietta Cellars, 15.3% alcohol, $22. This syrah-based blend is full-bodied with jammy fruit and a tap dance of spice. It’s an incredible wine, an absolute steal for the quality at this price.

Seghesio, 2014 Sonoma County Zinfandel, 14.8%, $24. A zin that’s jam-packed with blackberry and raspberry. It also has layered notes of black pepper and a hint of anise. Great structure, but it manages to be very juicy. Lingering finish. Well crafted.

Loring Wine Co. 2014 Keefer Ranch Vineyard, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Pinot Noir, 14.3%, $45. This pinot is drop-dead gorgeous. It has flavors and aromas of cherry, strawberry and sandalwood. Bright, lively, upfront fruit that lingers. Impressive.

Smith-Madrone, 2013 Spring Mountain District Napa Valley Riesling, 12.6%, $27. This riesling will turn heads with its great minerality. It has gorgeous stone fruit of apricot and peach, with lime in the mix. This riesling is rare because it has pitch-perfect balance. Strikingly crisp.

Kung Fu Girl, 2014 Evergreen, Columbia Valley, Washington Riesling, 12%, $12. This wine has quite a range. Aromas and flavors of bright apricot, mango and mineral. Crisp acidity. Nice length. Gorgeous.

Angeline, 2014 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc, 13.8%, $15. This sauvignon blanc is racy; it has crisp acidity and tangy fruit. Aromas and flavors of lime, mango and kiwi. It’s balanced, bright, lively and clean. This sauvignon blanc is striking, a smart buy, particularly at this price.

MacPhail, 2014 Sonoma Coast Rosé of Pinot Noir, 14.5%, $22. A dry rosé that’s as refreshing as the surf. Bright acid and vibrant fruit. Aromas and flavors of wild strawberry, cherry and mineral. Crisp finish. Knockout.

Dutton Goldfield, 2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 13.5%, $40. This pinot has a deep, lingering note of Bing cherry that is stunning, and all other aromas and flavors are crafted around it. It’s also earthy and smoky, a top rate pinot on all fronts.

Peg Melnik

Wine, The Press Democrat

Northern California is cradled in vines; it’s Wine County at its best in America. My job is to help you make the most of this intriguing, agrarian patch of civilization by inviting you to partake in the wine culture – the events, the bottlings and the fun. This is a space to explore wine, what you care about or don’t know about yet.

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:

  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.
Send a letter to the editor