2016 Holiday Wine Gift Guide II – Reds


El Carajo’s Holiday Wine Gift Guide II –  Reds

If you aren’t sure what to get for someone this holiday season, you simply can’t go wrong with a nice bottle of red wine. My favorite reds are Spanish, Bordeaux, Cabernets, and Malbecs. Each one has their own unique quality that makes them great.

Spanish reds

Spanish reds typically balance old world minerality with new world fruit and oak, perfect for the person who you don’t know what they drink.


Bordeaux wines are so rich yet refined with nice fruit and gorgeous bottles. They are wines perfect for the person who enjoys making a show out of dinner.

California Cabernets

California Cabernets are the most popular in the US for a reason, the fruit, oak, intensity with length and firm tannin make these decadent wines the winner.


Finally, Malbecs are perfect fruit and oak bombs for those who love to drink these wines by themselves. Loads of dark fruits with soft yet big tannin makes them a perfect heavy cocktail red.

Spanish Reds Tasting Notes

Torremilanos Crianza Ribera del Duero 2012: Dark fruits wrapped up in firm chocolaty tannins. Fresh acid and hints of cherries as the wine opens. torremilanos-crianza

– 90pts Gui Repsol –


Protos Reserva Ribera del Duero 2011: Ripe dark cherries and blackberries on the palate with a touch of creamy vanilla tones underneath. A very easy drinking and modern Reserva.protos

– 92pts Guia Repsol –


Pintia Toro 2011: Concentrated dark fruits perfected balanced with layers of coffee, mineral tones, baking spices. Still wild and young but after opening becomes approachable and easy drinking.pintia

– 94pts Robert Parker –


Bordeaux Tasting Notes

Caronnes Ste Gemme Haut Medoc 2010: Powerful and dark with upfront black fruits and minerality. The wine is still wild but shows refinement as you drink it. caronnes-st-gemme

– 92pts James Suckling –


Gruaud Larose St Julien 2012: 2012 was a poor vintage in Bordeaux but Gruaud truly shines in this year. Dark fruits, layers of minerality, petrol notes, and spices puts Larose a cut above typical favorites like Lynch Bages this year.gruard-larose

– 94pts Wine Enthusiast –


Canon La Gaffeliere St Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010: the former #2 wine of the year is just starting to soften up with its intense cherry, blackberries, silky tannin, coffee, vanilla and hints of canon-la-gaffeliereflowers. A perfect wine to drink today or to put away for decades.

– 96pts Wine Spectator –

California Cabernets Tasting Notes

Arrowood Sonoma 2013: A big bold buttery California cab with dark fruits and firm tannin. If you like oak, then you’ll love this wine.arrowood

– 90pts Vinous –


Freemark Abbey 2012: Dark fruits and gravel usually scream old world but Freemark does it with unwinding layers of mocha, vanilla, and blackberries making it a great balance of tradition and modern.freemark-abbey

– 92pts James Suckling –


Orin Swift’s Mercury Head 2014: The pinnacle of modern California cabernet. Rich, smooth, with notes of Dark cherries, blueberries, and blackberries set in undertones of tobacco, coffee, and cocoa that goes down easy.  Not yet rated, previous mercury-headvintage.

– 98pts Robert Parker –

Check out all these wines and more at El Carajo. If none of these fit your bill, please just ask a member of our crew for assistance picking out the perfect gift.