Science, Business, Art -- no matter what the topic, the school year has felt longer and harder this year for many. Graduating has felt different as well -- virtual ceremonies often meant no caps and gowns, no diplomas handed out by distinguished faculty, and no walks across expansive stages. Despite the challenges this year's grads faced, it's important to commemorate and celebrate their accomplishments, perhaps more than ever. The good news is that whether gifting your favorite grad or toasting their achievements together, wine and spirits can play a key role in, well ... commencing any celebration. Check them out:
Budget Buy: Bold, yet friendly, with ripe Morello cherries, floral aromas, and sweet tobacco make Torre a Cona Chianti Colli Fiorentini 2018 the perfect wine with which to forget those long hours spent studying statistics. BYO Charcuterie plate, then kick back and enjoy the tasty returns on this budget-friendly investment.
FOR THE MBAS: MORE BETTER ALCOHOL
Splurge: Historically, Bordeaux was a region of merchants and the Château de Fieuzal Pessac-Léognan 2012 Bordeaux is a powerful red from Pessac-Leognan that means bidness. Made from sustainably grown grapes, the wine is at once fruity, spicy, earthy, with notes of black cherry, currant, and vanilla. Drink it now or over the next 10 years, with interest.
FOR HISTORY SCHOLARS: PAST PRESENTS
Budget Buy: For history lovers, there's no better gift than a bottle that tells a story about the past. Made in a little known Spanish wine called the Mountains of Malaga, La Ola del Melillero 2017 is made from Pedro Ximenez, a grape widely known for it’s use in Sherry. However it has a storied history in white wine production as well. Winemaker Victoria Ordoñez is determined to change that. Boasting a delicate nose of fresh white flowers, Spanish broom, and almond, with round tree fruit and a soft, elegant finish, this wine has a little bit of history in every sip.
Splurge: The pearlescent Pares Balta Amphora Brisat 2019 is a pure and lovely expression of Xarel-lo, one of the Spain’s indigenous varietals. Made from organic and biodynamic grapes by and fermented in amphorae made exclusively from the unique red clay found on the estate, the wine is beautifully balanced, elegant, and aromatic, as well as a mouthwatering example of what happens with traditional grapes meets modern and innovative oenologists like Maria Elena Jimenez and Marta Casas.
FOR THE ART SCHOOL ACES: PASSION PROJECTS
Budget Buy: How about a bottle that is as visually compelling as it is flavorful? Staff favorite Buccia Nera Pa’Ro Bianco 2019 back in stock and perfect for the newly minted Bachelor or Master of Fine Arts in your life. This organic orange wine from Italy is a stunning golden-rose color in the glass, with a label reminiscent of pastel figure paintings at the Met. On the nose, a bouquet of ripe yellow fruit and freshly cut sweet herbs make the mouth water, and on the palate these flavors blossom with a refreshing minerality and the slightest bit of funk. A masterpiece indeed.
Splurge: Art can be plush and colorful, but it can also be dark and passionate, yet full of vivacity and style, just like the Element Winery Blaufrankisch 2015. This wine smells like the best combination of violets, plums, blackberries, dried thyme and explodes on the palate with snappy red berries, black berries and spicy. Delicate and soft, with fine, yet serious tannins, the wine bears the unique signature of its artist―winemaker Christopher Bates―and makes a quite a creative statement of its own.
FOR SCIENTISTS & MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS: FIRST, DO NO HARM
Budget Buy: In addition to the science, art and medicine practiced within the ancient walls of Pannonhalma Archabbey in Hungary since the 10th century, the Benedictine monks of this region also developed winemaking practices that have led to the birth of the stunning Pannonhalmi Apátsági "Tricollis" Rosé 2020. With notes of cherry blossom and red raspberry, it's an easy drinking reminder that medicine and winemaking have an awful lot in common.
Splurge: Medicine is part art, part science, and a lot compassion. This is also the recipe for Saint Benevolence Clairin Rum, founded by Calvin and Chase Babcock in partnership with Reverend Gueillant Dorcinvil, a Saint Michel e l’Attalaye native. The town of Saint Michel de l’Attalaye is the epicenter of their collective charitable work, and is well regarded for their Rum Clairin, a terroir-driven agricole-style rum popular throughout Haiti. Every sip of Saint Benevolence rum directly funds life-changing medical services, educational programs and economic developments benefitting the people and local communities of Northern Haiti. True to the Haitian word ‘kleren’ for clear, translucent crystal in the glass. Green banana, wasabi, with earthy notes of smoke and wet gravel on the nose. A rich texture on the palate with toasted white peppercorn, clove and green olive mignonette with an underlying sweetness on the finish.
FOR THE LEGAL EAGLES: DOING IT BY THE BOOK
Budget Buy: After four years of torts and trial law, your law school grad is free from the library at last. The "Ex Libris" Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 means "from the library," and this 2016 Washington State red is beautifully structured and elegant, and the perfect way to celebrate passing the bar on a budget (just in case those billable hours haven't added up yet).
Splurge: If you're going to pop a bottle, pop a big one. Our Combier Crozes-Hermitage Magnum 2017 is a smooth, spicy, richly flavored Rhone Valley superstar (according to critics and consumers alike). A blend of three different terroirs, the wine is aged for 1 year in barrel, which allows for the addition of warm baking spice to the rich notes of violet, raspberry, cassis, and blueberry. The wine is balanced, yet plush, and utterly unforgettable. The wine features notes of baked apple, brioche, honeysuckle and apricot framed by superb balance and a lengthy finish. Those billable hours have to pay off sometime!