It’s That Time of Year Again


I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this time of year. I love it for many of the reasons that most people do I guess (and the fact that the University where I work shuts down between Christmas and New Year’s does not hurt). Our boys, like most kids I guess, are particularly excited and it is fun to watch their anticipation intensify as the “big day” gets incrementally closer.

I also hate this time of year (OK “hate” might be an overstatement). The days are getting shorter and usually colder (although this December in Philadelphia has more resembled May) and it seems like everyone is trying to sell me something. My inbox is innundated with emails boasting subject lines touting the “biggest sale of the year” or “incredible savings.”

It all gets to be a bit too much.

In past years, other than family and a few close friends, there was never really anybody that I considered giving a gift. I hope that does not make me into some sort of Scrooge, but up until recently I have had a near historical run of incredibly bad bosses that I had no desire to even wish a good day, let alone give them a holiday gift.

It was so bad, in fact, that for a while I thought it had to be my fault. I figured that there was something about my personality that required having an overbearing micromanaging superior–similar to some people who always get into abusive or unhealthy personal relationships for whatever reason.



This last year has been noticeably different as my current boss is a dream. He gives me assignments and then lets me actually work on them without him hovering over, watching my every move. He lets me go and come as I please, even {gasp} letting me work from home when that makes the most sense.

We seem to work together so well, in fact, that he wants me to keep working with him remotely once we move to Houston.

Thus for the first time in a very long time, I am in the market for a gift to give my boss this holiday season, which is a concept I honestly thought I would never ponder.

Recently, I received three wine samples that would certainly be on the short list of wines to consider giving to the red wine lover on your holiday list this year.

GAJA_Sito_MorescoThe first wine comes from the Piemontese producer, Gaja, founded in 1859 by a Spanish immigrant to Italy. Its current president, Angelo Gaja (the great-grandson of the founder), is a legend in Italy as has been instrumental in bringing Barbaresco into the modern age by introducing revolutionary approaches to winemaking. There is little doubt (at least in my mind) that if I see “Gaja” on the label that it will be a high quality wine.

2013 Gaja Sito Moresco: Retail $50. 35% Nebbiolo, 35% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. this wine comes from one of Gaja’s newer acquisitions in Barbaresco, a vineyard formerly owned by the Moresco family (the name of the wine, “Moresco Site” pays homage to their history and traditions). The blend, particularly with the addition of the Merlot, is intended to make the wine more approachable at a younger age asNebbiolo can be a particularly tannic grape. I certainly can’t argue with the results. Double decanted. A bit hot on the nose with some anise. On the palate much more approachable than I imagined it would be with robust fruit and the weight of a Bordeaux blend. There are certainly some noticeable tannins on the back end, and  even though this will likely improve over the next five years or so, it is Outstanding now. 91-93 Points. 

The next two suggestions come from Chile, a region that I am determined to visit sooner than later. I have been fortunate to taste a number of wines recently from there recently and I have been impressed.

B_W_ALKA2011 François Lurton Hacienda Araucano Alka Carménère Colchagua Valley Chile: Retail $50.François Lurton, son of the famed Bordeaux producer André Lurton, has vineyard holdings around the world, but he claims that “If I were a vine, I would choose to be planted in Chile.” It is hard to argue with that assessment particularly when it comes to Carménère, a grape originally from Bordeaux, but found its home in Chile, where it has flourished. Rich fruit and a bit of green pepper (which I like). Really big on the palate with black raspberry and significant mocha. Big and quite fruity, this is a great wine for fans of the bold. I am not a huge “bold wine guy” but this is particularly well done, particularly paired with the tri-tip I grilled (expertly, if I do say so myself). Outstanding. 90-92 Points. 

Don Melchor2011 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Vineyard: Retail $125. 99% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc. Don Melchor is perhaps the most famous wine made in Chile and has become an iconic brand for most aficionados. It is consistently on Wine Spectator’s list of the Top 100 Wines of the year, and you really can’t talk about Chilean wines without mentioning it. The wine is named after the founder of Concho y Toro, the largest producer of wine in South America. Black pepper and dark fruit paired with plenty or earth and maybe some white truffle. On the palate? After a two-hour decant this is still certainly infanticide, but oh so good, I kept coming back to this wine overthe course of dinner and it just kept getting better. Initially the tannins were prominent, but they eventually fade and, well, OK: Whoa. Outstanding. 92-94 Points. I have a couple of older bottles of Don Melchor in the cellar (’03 and ’05) and tasting this ’11 now only confirms that I am in for a treat when I open those bottles.



About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to It’s That Time of Year Again

  1. SAHMmelier says:

    A dream boss is indeed worth celebrating! I’ve had and really enjoyed the last two on you list. Excellent wines.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lulu says:

    Knowing your love for and knowledge about wine, anyone should appreciate the gift you select.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. OMG, being a business analyst, your cartoon alone just made my day! I am so glad that you have such a good non-micromanaging boss that will not only let you work remote but you would consider giving him such lovely wines. Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Kat says:

    My last three bosses definitely wouldn’t win the “boss of the year” awards. I’m happy that I have a boss and job that I love now. The wines sound delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. dakegrodad says:

    Hey what’s this are you moving to Houston ? how did I miss that announcement

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gaja is on my wishlist. Hope santa is listening 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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