Once again, the holiday season is upon us. It comes with six weeks of family, friends, and feasts, not to mention a smorgasbord of parties to close out the year in a blizzard of events. It is also when many people find themselves roaming the aisles of their local liquor and wine shops, looking for suitable bottles of wine to pick up. It can be a daunting task. To take a bit of stress off your shoulders, here is a baker’s dozen bottles of wine that will slot perfectly into a turkey dinner, a work party, or a gift bag.
Legras & Haas Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Chouilly NV
Every excellent holiday event deserves to have some bubbly pouring. As a relatively new champagne house, they were founded 32 years ago; Legras and Haas have made a name for themselves by turning out exceptionally exquisite bottlings that perfectly reflect the beauty of the Chouilly region where they operate. This cuvée’s bright and refined flavors pair perfectly with light appetizers and rich dishes.
Le Grand Courtage Très Chic 2020 Rosé
The French have an expression which translates to “rosé all year” or “rosé tout l’année.” Rosé is a great in-between wine that partners well with various holiday flavors. Plus, it has enough structure and body to stand up to heavier dishes without overwhelming more delicate ones. They are the perfect wines to serve with your meal or gift to friends. Le Grand Courtage is a female-owned winery focused on producing wines from women, for women and continuing to support a variety of female-centric charities and causes.
Robert Mondavi Winery 2021 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is a workhorse wine that has only grown in popularity over the last several decades. Known for its green herbal flavors and slight acidity, it pairs perfectly with herb-driven dishes, cheeses, and vegetables. It’s an ideal wine for most appetizers and many desserts. As one of the first significant winemakers in Napa Valley, Robert Mondavi wines are world-renowned for their balance and flavors. This sauv blanc is made from grapes grown on a hillside vineyard that the winery purchased in 1969 in the famed Stags Leap District. It is a beautifully balanced wine that is sure to please.
La Chablisienne Chablis La Sereine 2019
More wine lovers in America are discovering the beauty of a nice glass of chablis. Made in the northernmost wine district of Burgundy, France, chablis are known for being slightly less fruit-forward wines carrying a hint more acidity than their cousin, chardonnay. La Chablisienne is a grower-owned cooperative that continues to make a name for itself with its elegant cuvées characterized by purity and minerality. This full-bodied wine pairs well with a broad medley of appetizers, fish dishes, and slightly more decadent dishes like lamb meatballs.
Small Vines TBH Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2019
As one of the most popular white wines in the world, especially in North America, every holiday gathering should have at least a few bottles of chardonnay on hand. This bottle from Small Vines is loaded with flavors of apricot and tangerine, with a hint of buttery flavor that will pair well with mashed potatoes, casseroles, and roasted veggies. It’s made by Paul and Kathryn Sloan, who have followed a regenerative farming ethos since they started growing vines twenty-five years ago, long before sustainability became a buzzword.
Weins Cellars 2020 Pinot Noir
As one of the older grape varieties in the world, pinot noir has indelibly etched itself into the hearts of wine lovers worldwide. An infinitely versatile wine, it can work with all facets of a holiday soiree and makes for a great gift. This 2020 Pinot Noir from the Wiens Cellars in Temecula, California, pays homage to the Burgundy region of France, where the grape originated. An experimental blend of pinot and chardonnay, it bursts with fresh fruit flavors that leaps out of the glass with each sip and earned a 90-point score from Wine Enthusiast.
Red Wine Blends
Castello Banfi SummuS Toscana IGT 2018
As the weather gets cooler and the nights longer, a more complex wine is often called for to round out a good meal. That’s where a super Tuscan red slots in perfectly. A big, bold, red wine blend, they are famous for their layers and complexities. This wine from Castello Banfi was bottled in 2017 and can be enjoyed now or laid down for years, making it an ideal gift for the budding collector on your gift list. It conveys sweet and luscious aromas of cherries and plums that pair perfectly with a robust structure.
Orin Swift 2021 Papilion
Whether you are playing host, planning a holiday menu, or looking for a unique gift, Orin Swift Cellars’ Papilion will garner you accolades and praise. A blend of all five Bordeaux-style varietals, it is brimming with aromas of currant and blackberry that seamlessly fold into a rich and robust wine that only gets better with each sip. Not only will this unique wine label spark conversation at the holiday table, but the origin of Papillon’s name (meaning “butterfly” in French) is rooted in a narrative of fatherhood, nodding to a touching moment winemaker Dave Phinney had in the vineyard with his daughter catching butterflies, so it’s the perfect bottle to gift to a wine-loving dad this holiday season.
Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino 2018
As one of the oldest wine-producing areas in the world, the vintages from Moltalcino are prized for their full-bodied character and ability to age for years. For over 400 years, Castiglion del Bosco has been producing wines on its 5,000-acre estate, one that can trace its roots back to the 12th century. The Brunello 2018 is crafted entirely from sangiovese grapes that were hand sorted to create a complex and deep wine with flavors of black cherries, red berries, and a touch of spiciness.
Argento Single Block Malbec 2020
Over the last few decades, the winemakers in Argentina have leaped to the forefront of the emerging wine-producing regions in the world. That is due to the versatility of malbec. Introduced to the country in the 19th century, it was rediscovered in the late 20th century, fueling an explosion of interest in this South American producer. This bottling from Bodega Argento has excellent fruit concentration, good structure, and soft tannins, making it an ideal addition to any holiday meal.
Kenwood Vineyards Six Ridges Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
This moderately priced cabernet sauvignon from Kenwood Vineyards is the perfect bottle to break out any holiday gathering. Loaded with flavors, it will pair well with rich dishes like roast loin, lamb, steaks, and most desserts, especially pecan pies. Coming from one of the pioneering winemakers in the Sonoma Valley, it exhibits smooth tannins that gently blend with cherry and cassis flavors that finish slightly spicy.
Stags’ Leap Winery’s 2019 Limited Edition Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
As the most popular red wine in the United States, anyone looking to pick up a few bottles for dinner or gifts can quickly be overwhelmed by the plethora of choices in their local store. Here is a hint: you can’t go wrong with any bottles from Stags’ Leap. As one of Napa Valley’s oldest, most historic wineries, their winemakers have set the standard for what a modern Cabernet Sauvignon should be. This wine is full-bodied with beautiful texture and depth on the palate, with multi-layered finesse and crowd-pleasing drinkability.
The Thomas Collection 2018
If you want to pick up just one bottle for any oenophiles on your gift list, make it this inaugural limited release from Baldacci Family Vineyards. Named in honor of Thomas Baldacci, winemaker Michael Baldacci’s father, the 2018 vintage of The Thomas Collection stands as a singular expression of cabernet sauvignon from their Stags Leap District and Diamond Mountain District estate vineyards. It’s aged 22 months in 100% new French oak barriques, designed with a proprietary oak and toast profile by Master Cooper Quinn Roberts of Tonnellerie Ô. It will drink well now or years in the future and is sure to grab anyone’s attention.