Thanks David. Concerning the gap on the uppers MWS gave a great answer here, and totally correct IMO.
I don't think you are trying to be argumentative. I just think you are trying to unfairly take a guideline for a balmoral, and apply it as a general rule to all shoes and boots (bluchers included). You simply can't do that. Some people have huge ankles, some have thin bony ankles, some have big calves others have small ones. You are correct that manufacturers accommodate for general anatomy in constructing a well made boot, but the boot is still sized according to the heel to ball of the foot area. In other words, you can't take a gap in the lacing that is way up above the ankle as indicative of size or proper fit when the boot's size is based on the same part of the foot as any other shoe. If the gap way up on the shaft of the boot is larger than you prefer from an aesthetics point of view, while the rest of the boot is comfortable, I can assure you that going up in size won't help the lacing issue. If you don't like the lacing gap in an otherwise well fitting boot, you will simply have to accept that the model may not be to your taste and look elsewhere. To have it your way in fit and aesthetics from the toes to the top of shaft, you will either have to stumble upon a boot that is perfect for you by sheer luck, or you will have to go bespoke.
IIRC you and your wife both have the Long Branch coming and plan on using them for light hiking use. And given your location likely in the mountains with an occasional steep decent. The gap in the laces of my boots for that use is not even a consideration nor is it for anyone that I know. What I look for in a boot like that and even a load bearing boot (backpacking or packing out elk\mulie quarters) is:
1) Make sure they are comfortable with mid weight socks, you do not want them too tight. Wicking liner socks are great and I wear them all year under wool socks.
2) Heel slip, when new and soles are stiff you may have some heel slip but you don't want too much. After break in there should be none. It can be a fine line between loose enough for midweight socks and heel slip especially if you have narrow heels like I do.
3) Toe slam. During decent with steep inclines your foot can slide forward and your toes smack the front of the boot. Which becomes very painful in a short period of time. If you have any toe slam in the beginning it will only get worse IME. Hope that helps.