Home > Experiences, wine fun, wine gifts > Did the Wine Santa Delivered? Mine did!

Did the Wine Santa Delivered? Mine did!

December 25, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

wine santaHey secret Wine Santas and their equally secret gift recipients, are you there? I know that the secret Wine Santa mission was once again orchestrated by The Drunken Cyclist (here is the secret post about it). If you are not familiar with the “Secret Wine Santa” operation, it works as any secret Santa game often played in the offices, only better, because there is no chance of getting wine themed underwear, you can only get wine.

All the participants provide their addresses to the Secret Wine Santa headquarters, i.e. Jeff aka The Drunken Cyclist, who then magically assigns the Santas with their respective recipients, and voila – the wine magically appears at your door step, sent directly from the North Pole and delivered by the reindeer, or something like that. Anyway, you got the idea.

I put on my Santa’s hat and send two bottles of wine – 2007 Krupp Brothers Black Bart Marsanne Napa Valley and 2011 Michel Chapoutier Tournon Mathilda Shiraz Victoria, Australia. I can tell you that my work was only 50% successful – my recipient, who will remain secret, doesn’t like white wines with the oak on them, so Marsanne didn’t really work. However, for all I understand, Mathilda Shiraz became a nice surprise, as it was for me, with its pronounced peppery qualities. All in all, I think I did okay as a Secret wine Santa, but there is definitely a room for improvement.

The best part of the Wine Santa game is that it is a two way street – you send wine, but you also receive wine! I don’t know if this was an accident or a deliberate decision, but my “secret” Santa was Chef Mimi – who was my wine recipient last year. The wine, which arrived a while back, was accompanied by a very nice letter, explaining why Chef Mimi have chosen this wine for me – it is one of her favorite wines. The letter also gave me the story of the people who make this wine, who are Chef Mimi’s neighbors.

Erba Vineyards Proprietary Red It took me a while to find a good moment to open the wine, and finally I did. I used my trusted VersoVino to help the wine to breathe a little faster, but with or without it, what a treat it was!

Erba Vineyards is located in the Napa Valley at a high elevation site (1100 – 1500 feet above sea level) near Atlas Mountain. The vineyard was planted in 1998 with 5 of the Bordeaux varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot) and Syrah, with majority of plantings (70%) been Cabernet Sauvignon. First commercial release of Erba Vineyards wines was in 2003.

The wine my secret Santa have chosen was 2007 Erba Mountainside Vineyards Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley (14.8% ABV, $55, definitely a Bordeaux blend but composition is unknown). On the nose, the wine had beautiful, very fragrant bouquet of cassis with touch of herbs. One the palate… How should I describe the palate to you… Polished? Elegant? Textbook? Yes, all of that and more. Layers of fruit, cassis and blackberries, ripe and succulent, but not overripe at all. Underneath of the fruit, layers of herbs – sage, eucalyptus, may be a touch of mint. All interweaved  together into a beautiful, firm package with clean acidity and perfect, impeccable balance. A textbook Bordeaux blend and one very beautiful wine, which was gone in no time. I generally don’t like to rate presents, but if I have to – Drinkability: 9-

There you have it my friends. If you had been on the either side of our wine Santa game, I hope to read about your experience. And if you had not, I hope you will join us next year, it is fun! It is so much fun that I’m even thinking we should have a summer mid-year rehearsal.

Thank you very much Secret Santa Chef Mimi for the delicious wine! And to all of you who celebrates, Merry Christmas! Cheers!



  1. December 25, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Merry Christmas Anatoli and so glad your secret Santa was on the job and none other than Chef Mimi. Sounds like fantastic wine. Next year I am going to sign up. Hope you and your family have a wonderful, happy day. Cheers!!

  2. December 25, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    What a cool idea! I might do this next year, too 🙂 Santa’s apparently too busy delivering presents all around the world and will come to this part only after the new year, haha! Sounds delicious, that Erba!

    • talkavino
      December 25, 2014 at 1:23 pm

      yes, it was an excellent bottle of wine! Yes, Santa will be visiting this house later on (January 1st, a Russian Tradition) 🙂

  3. Fig & Quince
    December 25, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Happy Holidays to you and your family! Wishing a cheerful, delicious year ahead for you with a lot of good wine tasting and cheer!

    • talkavino
      December 26, 2014 at 7:04 am

      Thank you Azita! Happy Holidays!

  4. December 25, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    What a great idea!

  5. December 25, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Wow, what a great idea! 😉 Merry Christmas Anatoli!

    • talkavino
      December 26, 2014 at 7:04 am

      Yes, Jeff, great idea! 🙂 By the way, what wine did you get?

  6. December 25, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    Happy Holidays to you too, Anatoli!
    Sounds like you got a really nice wine from your Secret Santa, I am so glad.
    Take care, my friend!

    • talkavino
      December 26, 2014 at 7:03 am

      Yes, this was an excellent bottle of wine!

  7. December 26, 2014 at 8:34 am

    So glad you enjoyed the wine! Their cabernet is spectacular. Merry Christmas!

    • talkavino
      December 26, 2014 at 9:04 pm

      Thank you Mimi! It was an excellent choice!

      • December 26, 2014 at 9:05 pm

        I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  1. January 5, 2015 at 12:48 am

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