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Holiday Cheers: Austin Wine Merchant’s Best Bottles to Give as Holiday Gifts

Austin Wine Merchant

Owner John Roenigk recommends distinct red and white wines, champagne, gin and whiskey

‘Tis the season to be sippin’! Austin Wine Merchant, founded in 1991, has one of the best wine selections in town. Avid wine lovers know they can find bottles of their favorite wine or discover something new from its vast selection at their downtown shop at 512 West 6th Street. Owner John Roenigk has put together a list of off-the-beaten-path reds and whites that will surprise and thrill wine drinkers on your holiday shopping list. And not just wine – John has included selections of champagne, gin and whiskey. Cheers to that!

Red Wine

John Says:

Châteauneuf-du-Pape, literally “new castle of the Pope,” is a mostly red but also delicious white wine produced in the southern Rhône Valley in southeastern France. The name celebrates the summer castle that was built by the French Popes when the papacy was relocated to Avignon in the 13th century. Châteauneuf-du-Pape is also the first French wine elevated to AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) status, which governs the authenticity and quality of the more noble wines of France. Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a go-to recommendation for gifting here at The Austin Wine Merchant as it can appeal to the tastes of both those who enjoy more full-bodied red wines like Bordeaux or California Cabernet Sauvignon as well as those who may enjoy a less tannic, more supple red wine such as Burgundian Pinot Noir.

John’s Selections

2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Vieilles Vignes Domaine de La Janasse
$100 a bottle, $1020 for a case of 12

2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Le Vieux Donjon
$67.50 a bottle, $688.56 for a case of 12

White Wine

John Says:

White Burgundy has been and remains the yardstick by which most dry white wine is measured, the literal inspiration for the phenomenon that is California Chardonnay and other such Chardonnay production across the planet. White Burgundy is produced mostly from 100 percent Chardonnay fruit grown on soils that are as limestone-rich if not more so than our own Texas Hill Country, giving the wines an underpinning and nerve that defines and sustains them. They can range from piercingly crisp and mineral and unoaked to breathtakingly opulent, rich and toasty on the palate. The Austin Wine Merchant maintains among the finest selections of both red and white Burgundy wines in the state of Texas, not to mention its fine selection of sparkling Crémants de Bourgogne.

John’s selections:

2016 Corton-Charlemagne Domaine Dubreuil-Fontaine
$150 a bottle, $765 for a case of 6

2017 Chassagne-Montrachet Château de La Maltroye
$57.50 a bottle, $586.56 for a case of 12

2017 Chablis Drouhin-Vaudon
$22.50 a bottle, $229.56 for a case of 12

2017 Bourgogne Chardonnay Réserve Bouchard Père & Fils
$17.50 a bottle, $178.56 for case of 12


John says:

“Come quickly brothers, I’m drinking stars,” Dom Pérignon is said to have exclaimed upon his tasting among the first successful bottlings of Champagne as we know it. Champagne, in these modern times, is arguably the most scintillating of all sparkling wines, the near weightless beverage that would raise any occasion from the ordinary to the memorable.

John’s selections:

Champagne Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires
$212.50 the bottle  $541.89 the case of 3

Champagne Pol Roger Brut Extra Cuvée de Réserve
$47.50 the bottle  $484.56 the case


John says:

From Austria’s best-known distiller of eaux-de-vie, Hans Reisetbauer, comes also one of our favorite gins. Reisetbauer Blue Gin is incredibly well-balanced, absolutely stunning on the nose, aromatic without overwhelming. Hans is making this gin from estate-grown Mulan wheat with 27 botanicals sourced from 10 countries. Enjoy it in a martini (we recommend 2½-ounces
gin, ½-ounce Dolin Dry Vermouth, 2 dashes orange bitters and a twist of lemon), in a classic Bee’s Knees, or on the rocks.

John’s selection:

Reisetbauer Blue Gin Premium Austrian Quality Distilled Dry Gin
$47.50 a bottle


John says:

The strides that Texas has made in whiskey production of late are a thing of beauty, and Kooper Family ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo’ is a prime example. Made by the Kooper Family in Fayette County, Texas, this high rye bourbon offers sweet caramel and citrus notes. It’s perfect for sipping or tarting up a great Old-Fashioned.

John’s selection:

Kooper Family ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo’ Straight Bourbon Whiskey
$42.50 a bottle