TJ Brightman

Give the gift of wine for the holidays

In a year with too many natural disasters to count, conflicts and crisis around the globe, political bickering in Washington and media chasing one another for the next “BREAKING NEWS STORY,” you don’t have to look far to find many Americans happy to see 2017 go out with a loud thud! That is precisely why you should kick back during the upcoming holiday season and enjoy friends, food and my personal favorite – MORE WINE!

As I’ve written in previous wine blogs there are no rules to follow when picking your holiday wine, only that you buy what you like regardless of price point or what the “shelf talker card” at your favorite wine merchant says.

There are no rules… buy what you like

The holidays present the perfect opportunity to sample new wines considering the variety and abundance of food we will consume at parties and family dinners over the next few weeks. Don’t get stuck on what I like to call the “pairing game,” the need to bring or pour the perfect wine with each and every dish. Keep it simple, have fun and clang your glasses with friends as much as possible!

The Recommendations

Understanding plenty of wonderful choices and varietals from around the world exist, I’ve decided to narrow our focus to the “Golden State” of California, largely because the wines are so good, but as an additional act of support following the recent wildfires that plagued and destroyed many homes, businesses and wineries in both Northern and Southern California this fall. I encourage you to support the Sonoma and Napa communities by purchasing California wines this holiday season. It feels good to give back and look like a wine expert at your next holiday gathering, all at the same time.



2015 Landmark Chardonnay Carneros Sangiacomo Vineyard

This winery located along Highway 12 in Sonoma Valley survived the recent wildfires and has consistently produced great wines. This bottle received 87 points from Wine Spectator and will leave you with flavors of white peach and fig with a toasty, smoky oak. WS 87 | $45


2015 Gary Farrell Chardonnay Russian River Valley Russian River Selection

The Russian River Valley delivers wonderful wines year after year and this one hits the mark! Enjoy spicy green apple, pear and melon with your New Year’s Eve lobster dinner. WS 88 | $35




2016 MacMurray Ranch Pinot Gris Russian River Valley

If you were a fan of the 60’s TV show, “My Three Sons,” then you might also find the wines of the late founder, Fred MacMurray even more interesting. Producing terrific reds and whites this bottle of Pinot Gris is an excellent choice with appetizers of all kinds and received 87 points from Wine Spectator. Lots of juicy fruit, a refreshing wine for any occasion. WS 87 |$20



2014 Darioush Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Signature

Located in the heart of Napa Valley this winery’s property is as beautiful as the wines it produces. There is nothing like a Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley and this wine won’t disappoint. Packed with earthy, berry flavors it’s the perfect complement to many meat and even fish dishes. WS 89 | $65




2015 Kivelstadt Cellars Father’s Watch

A small family winery under the direction of Jordan Kivelstadt, this Sonoma red Rhone-style blend from the North Coast is not only a great choice but extremely approachable now and a real value for anyone on your holiday list. $25



2015 Cosentino Winery “Cigar” Old Vine Zinfandel

Talk about a great 90-point wine and a real value at the same time. Hailing from the Central Coast this traditional California Zinfandel is full of aromas like pepper spice, nutmeg and coffee.  If you can find it, buy as many bottles as you can. Enjoy with winter barbecue style dishes and your friends will be very happy. WE 91 | $15



Let us know if this list helped you pick the right wine as a gift or for a holiday meal.

210 Archer Street, Bel Air, MD 21014 | (p) 410.836.7180 | (f) 410.836.0186
13750 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen, Sonoma, CA 95442 | (p) 707.935.1377 | (f) 410.836.0186
348 E. Olive Avenue, Suite E, Burbank, CA 91502 | (p) 818.736.5696 | (f) 410.836.0186