When the holiday season rolls in, time is short and demands are high. Happily, wine is there to support the food, family and friends in a dynamic role that ranges from subtle to celebratory. We’ve rounded up some of the high-demand holiday happenings for bringing a bottle to share and given a handful of our favorite recommendations to get the party started.
The specs for this bottle typically lie in the under $20 category and ideally should be super versatile with a variety of appetizers and go-to dinners. Nothing says, “thanks, happy holidays, glad-to-be-here” quite like a bottle of wine at the door. To turn the gift up a notch, consider leaning towards a lesser known region or grape - which has the added bonus of morphing into an easy (and educational) conversation starter.
To roll crowd-pleasing character, food-friendly nature and somewhat exotic region all into one welcoming price point, reach for Pazo Senoran’s 2017 Albarino. Albarino is Spain’s delicious answer to all sorts of tough to pair foods. Bringing citrus appeal underpinned by earthy, fresh cut grass aromas neatly packaged in the elegance and creative palate profile of salinity meets spice and creamy textures - this grape over delivers time and again.
Whether its mingling with colleagues after hours or hosting some office friends and clients, the wine should be easy to enjoy and able to stand up to some curious scrutiny. While food pairing compatibility is always a plus, the “office party” bottle may easily fall into the “stand and sip” sans food category. In that case, keep it fresh, flavorful and capable of being its own conversation piece. To that end…
The BenMarco Malbec 2015 is brimming with black fruit and carries a hint of violets. Easy food-pairing versatility combined with a fantastic price point make this a no-brainer bottle for the holidays.
From the age-worthy collector’s bottle to the high-pressure salute of the annual “boss’ gift,” wine is a fun, fancy and functional foodie gift - perfect for that tricky, typically hard-to-buy-for person on your list. For these recipients, check out bottles that are capable of being aged a bit - start your search with California Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux blends, concentrated Amarone, or Piedmont’s Nebbiolo-based bottles, Barolo or Barbaresco.
Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco 2015 - Something a little different, but sure to impress, this Barbaresco over-delivers for the price, with inviting dark fruit flavors and a savory texture. Deliciously tasty now, this wine will also evolve in th cellar.
Col Solare Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 - A phenomenal example of a Bordeaux Blend (though primarily Cabernet Sauvignon) from the great state of Washington, Col Solare is a partnership between Tuscany’s Marchesi di Antinori and Washington’s Chateau Ste. Michelle, two renowned leaders in their respective regions. The 2014 is the 20th vintage of this acclaimed property. The wine carries multiple accolades from respected critics, as well as an esteemed pedigree. Ready to impress the most discerning wine collector.
Whether it’s ham, turkey, goose or prime rib, holiday dinners offer an outstanding opportunity to open new bottles from a variety of grapes and regions. Opting for a honey-baked ham this holiday season? Great, reach for the full, fruity flavors of a California Zinfandel. Turkey making a second debut at Christmas dinner? Give it a go with Beaujolais or Pinot Noir for red wine fans or a tangy, citrus-infused Sauvignon Blanc or Chablis for white wine lovers. Goose and prime rib, both buddy up well to Bordeaux blends. Traditional tried and true holiday favorites tend to be heavy on the Cabs and Cab-based blends.
The Chateau Mayne Vieil Cuvee Alienor 2014 is the kind of supple, smooth easy-drinking wine that offers enough complexity for every palate!