Consider These Great Wine Choices for the Holidays
The holiday season is upon us and one of the great things about serving wines this time of year is that there’s essentially a wine for every palate and every budget.
Novice wine drinkers may gravitate towards sweeter, fruitier wines while more serious wineophiles often look for something with good food-pairing potential. In-between you’ll often find those who’ll try anything, any time…and aren’t those the people we like the best?
Just remember that whether you’re preparing a gourmet meal, a few easy appetizers, or simply planning to indulge in a little wintertime sipping, the key to serving wines is to have plenty of variety on hand.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
$15 AND UNDER
Line 39 Excursion 2016 Red Blend (about $15) – This easy-to-drink, highly affordable California blend starts with pleasant licorice and caramel aromas and ample berry, cherry, and Italian plum fruit flavors. The finish is soft and lengthy with a touch of maple nut that makes it nicely complex at this price point.
BETWEEN $15 and $30
If you haven’t tried South African wines, what are you waiting for? They’re flavorful, affordable, and easy to order online if you can’t find them at your local wine shop.
Lubanzi Wines 2017 Chenin Blanc (about $18) – This underutilized white wine grape carries a nice juxtaposition of crisp, leaner citrus and honeydew melon to begin and rounder, tropical fruits on the finish. Wonderfully complex and delicious! A minor quibble: the interesting label is so busy, it’s a bit difficult to find the varietal name on it.
Aslina 2017 Sauvignon Blanc (about $20) – Ntsiki Biyela (pictured at right) is South Africa’s first black woman winemaker and she’s absolutely hit a grand slam with this stunning white wine. It resembles a New Zealand Sauv Blanc to start, with fragrant green herbs and zingy gooseberry flavors. Then as the wine progresses, a creamier quality emerges, with mile-long pineapple and guava notes, perfectly balanced with the initial splash of acidity. Outstanding!
(More info at wine4theworld.com)
Thoskozani 2016 Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier (about $20)- 85% Shiraz, 14% Mourvedre and 1% Viognier is the formula for this opulent choice from South Africa. There’s a mouthful of black plum and cherry fruit up front, with cola, caramel and lardo accents and a whisper of smoky, roasted coffee on the finish. A perfect accompaniment to smoked meats, duck, or a crown roast.
$30 AND OVER
Michael Mondavi Family Estate 2016 Emblem Sonoma Coast Chardonnay and 2014 Emblem Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (about $35 each)
Pop the cork on the Chardonnay and you’re greeted with a yeasty, brioche bouquet followed by a core of juicy pear and baked apple flavors with a touch of lemon chiffon on the latter stages. The extraordinarily long finish is capped with buttery, toasted oak and a hint of nutmeg.
This elegant wine should pair perfectly with lobster bisque, clams, halibut or smoked salmon.
The Cabernet is loaded with fresh berry aromatics that carry over to the palate in the form of delicious blackberry and raspberry compote. There’s also an underlying spicy element to this gorgeous wine, coupled with a dollop of vanilla on the extreme finish.
When you consider how pricy some Napa Cabs can be, this one really delivers without breaking the holiday budget. Bring on the prime rib and enjoy!