These holiday wine gifts will bring smiles and appreciation.

Italy’s Lombardy region produces Franciacorta, Italy’s most prestigious sparkling wine. It’s made in the Champagne method, meaning the second fermentation, which creates the bubbles, takes place in the bottle not in a tank. Chardonnay and pinot noir are Franciacorta’s primary grapes; pinot blanc is a minority partner.

Ferghettina winery.jpgFerghettina winery

I enjoyed the 2010 Ferghettina Brut Nonvintage Franciacorta made by owner Roberto Gatti and his two children Laura and Matteo, both university graduates in enology. With only five percent pinot noir, this chardonnay-dominated sparkler deposits elegant pear and apple flavors with a refined texture and lingering finish.

The 2010 Ferghettina Brut Nonvintage will please any Champagne consumer; it retails for about $29.

Uruguay is not in the consciousness of most wine consumers. But gift a bottle of the 2014 Bodega Garzon Sauvignon Blanc to the adventurous.

Entrepreneur Alejandro Bulgheroni founded Bodega Garzon in 1999. He hired winemaker Alberto Antonini, who worked for Tuscany’s esteemed Frescobaldi and Antinori wineries.

Garzon Sauvignon Blanc.jpgBodega Garzon Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Antonini delivers a blast of passion fruit in the 2014 Bodega Garzon Sauvignon Blanc. The wine’s fresh, aromatic and flavorful fruit anchors it between sauvignon blanc’s two bookends: citrus-driven New Zealand and unctuous California.

Delightful with seafood pasta or spicy foods, the 2014 Bodega Garzon Sauvignon Blanc retails for about $19.

The Chanson family owned Domaine Chanson from 1750 until Bollinger Champagne bought it in 1999. My tastings of Chanson before Bollinger’s ownership were not positive. So, an invitation from Cyril Delarue, of the Bollinger family, to taste the newest vintages of Chanson was accepted with hope and ended with surprise at Manhattan’s Oceana restaurant.

The surprises began with the 2013 Chanson Vire-Clesse made from chardonnay and chardonnay muscat, a subvariety of chardonnay that gave this Macon region wine a vanilla and floral accent. It was perfect with Oceana’s incredible apple and seafood risotto. Retail is about $19.

Chanson Cyril Delarue.jpgCyril Delarue at Oceana restaurant

Next, was the delicious 2012 Chanson Beaune Bastion Premier Cru red wine. Notable winemaker Jean Pierre Confuron blended pinot noir grapes from Chanson’s premier cru vineyards. Bursting with cranberry, strawberry and cinnamon aromas and flavors, its integrated tannins provided balance and a long, savory finish. Expect to pay about $49.

Either wine will please Burgundy devotees.

Robert Mondavi‘s crown jewel is its cabernet sauvignon reserve. A few weeks ago, winemaker Genevieve Janssens presented the 1976 and 2012 renditions at New York’s NoMad restaurant:

The 1976 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve‘s herbal and blackberry aromas and flavors were a wonderful return to a period when Napa cabernet sauvignon was medium-bodied and complex.

Mondavi winemaker Genevieve Janssens.jpgRobert Mondavi winemaker Genevieve Janssens at NoMad restaurant

The 2012 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve grapes are from its famed Napa To Kalon vineyard. Janssens blended 90 percent cabernet sauvignon with cabernet franc and merlot; it’s bigger and more velvety than the 1976, while avoiding the obesity of many modern Napa Valley cabernets.

This is an ideal gift for wine collectors whose cellar has a place for first-rate, ageable California wine. Retail is about $140.

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