The holidays are here! Many Americans recently participated in a large family (or friendly) gathering for the first time in two years, and most are planning holiday events this December that will begin to make up for so much time lost between us. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to bring just the right wine for this season's festivities.
From a light vinho verde that makes for the perfect aperitif to an abundant aromatic brut that's ready to toast in a new year, this list has you covered and includes price point, occasion, and pairing recommendations.
Starting things off
“Rosé all day” may be the mantra of summer, but an expensive soft pink is appropriate all-year round.
Mouton Cadet Rosé 2020 ($13): From the Rothschild family, this melange of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon results in a pale pink wine that pairs perfect with puffed pastry, cheese boards, spring rolls, and other light bites. An excellent partner to mix and mingles of all kinds.
The main event
Cocktails are a great start to any evening, but when it comes time for dinner, nothing pairs like wine.
La Crema 2019 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($23): Did someone say butter? This flavorful juicy chardonnay is ready to roll alongside lobster, scallops, and any number of cheeses, whether they’re oozing over a flatbread or plated on a cheese board.
Domaine Anderson 2018 Estate Pinot Noir ($40) My personal favorite for bridging the gap from appetizers to entress, salmon to lamb, and mushrooms to cheeses, this ruby red pinot features aromas of fresh red berries and pomegranate complemented with flavors of citrus, black tea, and spice. Elegant tannins build a structured wine with a long finish.
Trapiche 2017 Gran Medalla Malbec ($25): With a sexy purple-red color and a rich bouquet of black cherry, plums, and spices, this oak-aged malbec pairs perfectly with roasted game meats and rich beef dishes. As decadent with dessert as it is with an entree.
Another year is over and a new one is nearly here. Whether you’re looking back or looking ahead, it’s better when done over bubbles.
Viña Esmeralda Sparkling Brut ($18) Born on the Mediterranean coast, these buoyant bubbles are fresh on the palate with good intensity and acidity. With white floral and citrus notes, it works well as a pre-dinner drink or a final finish.
Banshee Ten of Cups Brut NV ($25): The first of its kind, this limited-production release is the only sparkler in the Banshee portfolio. Named for a tarot card that signals abundance, the blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier is made using the traditional Méthode Champenoise. Vibrant, bright and aromatic, it’s the perfect pair for well-wishes.
Looking to impress without breaking the bank? At $15 or less, these bottles are sure to please.
Trapiche 2018 Broquel Cabernet Sauvignon ($15) Earthy and spicy with aromas of raspberry jam, this cab is a crowd-pleaser that bridges the gap between pasta, stew, and grilled meats. Aged in French oak, a touch of smoke gives it a subtly funky finish.
Mouton Cadet 2020 Blanc ($13) A treasure for the price, this white Bordeaux blends Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Muscadelle grapes for a fresh and fruity wine that features flavors of citrus and stone fruits, from soft hints of orange to lucious yellow peach and nectarine. Pair with oysters, citrus fruit, or lemony pasta.
KRIS 2020 Pinot Grigio “Delle Venezie DOC” ($15) Make it a white Christmas with a refreshing bottle of this cost-efficient vino. With colorful aromas of citrus and hints of apricots, this little Italian wine boasts bold flavors that pair well with seasonal salads, pasta dishes, and risotto.