As with most people, for me, the holidays revolve around friends and family. Since most of my friends and family are also wine lovers, this also means that the holidays revolve around wine. I’ve come to realize, however, that there are so many different types of holiday celebrations, and therefore different wines to go with them!
Small Family Gatherings
Bubbly - It seems my parents have finally warmed up to the idea of drinking Champagne/Sparkling wine on a regular basis. Which is fantastic, because it’s not just for celebrations, it’s the perfect wine to open up a meal or even drink during a meal. One we particularly love: Roederer Estate Brut NV. This is a fantastic, consistently good California sparkling wine for under $20. It has richness and complexity, freshness on the palate and just a great go-to bubbly for family dinners and get-togethers. It could of course be used for much larger gatherings, if you’re willing to splurge a bit on your guests! For true Champagne we love two great producers that are always reasonably priced Gosset – from their Brut to the Grand Reserve to their rose, this producer has excellent bubbles for some great price and Piper Heidsieck – beautiful labels, beautiful bubbly inside. We enjoy both the brut and the Rose Sauvage (mmmm….).
White – an all time favorite, and one that I poured at my wedding, is the Eroica Riesling. A partnership between Washington State winery Chateau Ste-Michelle and German winemaking guru Dr. Loosen, the Eroica combines best of new world and old. Just slightly off-dry, this white is fresh, aromatic and delicate, with excellent acidity and fruit flavors. A perfect match for many holiday meals. Another fun meal wine is the Hugel Gewurztraminer. Gewurztraminer is a very aromatic grape, with hits of lychee nut and flowers all over. Unctuous, floral and spicy, Gewurztraminer is a classic match to foods with a touch of spice – Hugel is a classic producer.
Red – Pinot Noir is favorite for family meals for us – it pleases so many palates, carries the elegance we like at the dinner table and is a great match with food. Our favorites (for under $20!) are the Belle Glos Meiomi from California (made by the same family behind Caymus and Conundrum wines) and the Veramonte Ritual Pinot Noir, a Chilean Pinot with excellent richness and spice. Another favorite is the Perrin Vinsobres, a Rhone blend that is spicy and rich yet light enough to pair with many a meal.
Bubbly – A perfect way to get bubbly into every glass at a big party – go with Cava. Cava is the Spanish sparkling wine, made in the same method as Champagne, but sold for a fraction of the price. Though lacking the intensity and complexity of Champagne, Cava is a great way to go for large gatherings – crisp, refreshing, with lots of great fruit and balance, Cava usually runs about $9 – $13. Some great producers: Segura Viudas, Cristalino and Poema. Prosecco is another fun drink to have on hand for large gatherings. Nino Franco Rustico is one of our favorites…
White – There are some great white wines under $10 that are great for holiday parties. Some of our picks include La Vielle Ferme Cotes du Luberon Blanc and Indaba Chenin Blanc (from South Africa). Both are crisp and refreshing, easy drinking and great for just about any white wine lover. One step up at about $15 is the Pinot Gris from J Vineyards. Delicious and fresh, but with lots of ripe fruit, it’s always a crowd pleaser.
Red – one of my go-to party reds is the d’Arenberg Stump Jump Shiraz. At around $10, you cannot beat this juicy, spicy red that goes with everything. A couple other party favorites (both under $15) are the Monte Antico Rosso, a great Tuscan blend from Italy and the Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel, a jammy and spice-filled bottle. Great for the season, great for parties.
Dessert wines – Whether it is a small gathering or a big party, some folks like a little something sweet to end the evening. Some great value sweets include the Grahams Six Grapes Port and the Pacific Rim Framboise. The Framboise is a favorite as it is a raspberry wine, made with fresh raspberries from Washington State. It’s delicious on its own, with a fruit-based dessert, or mixed with sparkling wine (yum!).
Don’t forget, if you’re with Foodies Night In, check out our holiday wine guide at www.wine.com/fni. And use code FNICHAT at check out to save 10% on your next order of 12 or more bottles.