STORY BY GORDON (AS TOLD TO FELICIA)
Gift giving should be simple—all anyone wants are chew toys and scratches, right? If you are like me and surround yourself with wine lovers, you might find that they can be a selective breed. As a bone-a-fide expert in making humans happy, I sniffed out the paws-down best local gifts to make any wine aficionado feel spoiled this holiday season.
First on my list is locally produced Domaine Santé grape nectar sweetener, an all-natural sugar alternative made from wine grapes. The tongue-in-cheek names of each flavor bring to mind classic wine regions. Bored-O-Blanc blends sémillon and sauvignon blanc to mirror the tangy and rich complexity of white wine from Bordeaux. The All-Sass sweetener is made from traditional Alsatian varieties like gewürztraminer and riesling, offering delicate essence of honeysuckle that would compliment any wild berry or stone fruit dessert. Substitute Bored-O-Rouge for red vermouth to slightly lower the alcohol without sacrificing the flavor of a negroni. With fewer calories and half the sugar of honey or agave nectar, Domaine Santé will make holiday desserts feel a little less naughty. Purchase a gift sized set on their website or fetch the bottles at Collins & Coupe Cocktail Supply Co.
Keep spirits high with You & Yours Distilling Co.'s Provisional Sunday Gin, distilled from grapes and aged in viognier wine barrels. This aging process incorporates the perfumed floral notes associated with viognier to the gin, making it a fun choice for wine lovers looking to stock their home bar. Mix it up with Domaine Santé sweeteners for a heartwarming treat that might put some fur on your chest.
When deciding to gift a bottle of wine, how can you make sure your selection will be barking up the right tree? Look no further than the sparkling wines made by Carter Estate Winery in Temecula. These méthode classique wines are bottle fermented and aged on yeast to replicate the production methods used to make high quality Champagne. The result is a local wine that balances a traditional European style with the unique ripe flavors that can only come from California sunshine. Purchase online or bring the whole pack on a trip to the winery resort, where bonus points are awarded for their Happy Hound program.
Anyone on your list would be thrilled to receive a gift certificate to Smallgoods Cheese Shop & Cafe. The La Jolla shop sources American-made products from small producers that are nearly impossible to track down elsewhere. Wine enthusiasts can get their paws on unique pairing options such as hoja santa-wrapped goat cheese to serve alongside grüner veltliner or sauvignon blanc. While you’re there, be sure to order one of their impressive charcuterie boards for your holiday party. Bone-appetit!
Disclaimer: While the tasting notes and descriptions are accurately depicted, no dogs were served items for the purposes of this article. Such items may be considered toxic to dogs but we hope you enjoy a laugh with us and dig up a few great gifts.
This article was originally published November 10, 2021 exclusively on Edible San Diego Weekly. Want to join the club? Support the region's only dedicated, local, and independently-owned food media company by signing up for a digital membership or subscription today.