Last-Minute Gift Ideas!

Last-Minute Gift Ideas!

A duet of reds whose excellence and comparability stands out.

SHARE
Hot wines! On our West Coast, nothing is hotter than Sonoma Coast pinot noir. And one of the most sought-after is from the Fort Ross Vineyard. Also, wine columnist Lettie Teague of The Wall Street Journal has been recently singing the praises of northern Italy’s Barbaresco. There are few producers of this wine with a more intense dedication than I Marchesi di Grésy. Pinot noir and Barbaresco both share certain ethereal qualities and lithe textures that often elicit comparisons. (They are the waltz tempo of wine!) Each of these is a memorable experience, and they both have track records for showing well when young, as well as with further bottle age.
2013 Pinot Noir, Fort Ross Vineyard “FRV” Sonoma Coast $52 suggested retail price
      Ruby red and translucent in color. An intense, vivid bouquet of wild strawberry, cranberry and red currant with cedar, mushroom, almond and orange rind elements. Flavors are medium-bodied and, best of all, light on their feet. A raspberry/cherry compote texture is surrounded by spicy cinnamon, pepper/mint and an overall purity that is beguiling. Try with turkey, ham or baked casseroles (vegetarian or cheese infused). (Drink now-2024)  92/100 points
Nota Bene: Fort Ross Vineyard also makes a delicious, swarthy and bold Pinotage, ($58, 91 points) that is a tribute to the South African roots of the owners, Lester and Linda Schwartz. Local producers in the homeland best take note!
2014 Barbaresco, Marchesi di Grésy “Martinenga” $60 srp
     Tawny red color with orange highlights. An outspoken, perfumed nose with amazing lift. Thrilling elements of roses, violets, peat moss and licorice surround the lightly balsamic red currant and cherry fruit. Flavors are nervous yet suave and mineral-laden with saddle leather, lanolin, iron and hazelnut that infuse the melded fruit. (This is textbook Barbaresco.) Tannin and acids make this a bit daunting now, but will match game, a black-truffle risotto or smoked meats very well. (Drink now-2025)                  92/100 points
SHARE
Arturo Ciompi
Trained as a classical clarinetist and conductor, Arturo plied his trade for many years in New York, performing with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, the American Symphony and countless chamber music groups. While living in Durham, Arturo became the wine manager at two iconic gourmet stores: Fowler’s in Durham and Southern Season in Chapel Hill. He had a wine spot on NPR in the ’90s and has been a continuously published wine journalist since 1997. He has won national awards for his work and is currently writing for Durham Magazine and its weekly blog, “Wine Wednesdays”. In addition, he loves teaching the clarinet. Read more on his website.