With Thanksgiving upon us, the rest of the holidays will be here in the blink of an eye. With impending gatherings, holiday meals, celebrations, and gift-giving opportunities, you are going to want a good inventory of “something special” to grab and go. Whether it’s for enjoying with food, or a gift for the host, secret Santa, or a loved one to enjoy later, a major element in your decision making will be the food being served, the theme, or the reason. You might want to select something to complement the holiday dinner, a special bottle for a celebratory toast, or a bottle for a special someone to enjoy later (hopefully with you, right?!).
For ideas for what you might want to have on hand to bring to a dinner party, here are some things you want to consider. If you are not sure what food will be served, you will want to pick something versatile. A Chenin Blanc is a medium- to light-bodied white wine that would go well with most starter trays serving cheese, crackers and fruit or light fare. It would also stand up to a salad or seafood course. A suggested Chenin Blanc and one you can visit this week in store is Bob’s Chenin Blanc, from the Western Cape, with aromas of spring flowers, hints of honeysuckle, peach, guava, melon, light gooseberry, and wet stone. Flavors that follow are yellow apple and honey. The bright, refreshing acidity balances the fruit bowl flavors, for great food matching. Another option to consider would be a from Alsace. This is another great option as a starter wine, but would pair wonderfully with passed trays of chicken skewers or lemongrass eggrolls, but also a wonderful companion for Turkey or Pork. For red wine options, stick with light- to medium-bodied wines that are versatile. Some suggestions would be Pinot Noir, Cinsault or Gamay. All are excellent choices for a before-dinner, with-dinner, or something to take along on that holiday drop in on a friend. To stay in the light- to medium-body range, make sure you take note of the alcohol level. Pinot Noirs, for example, have a higher alcohol—over 14 percent—and are going to be more on the jammy-er, heavier mouthfeel, and may not be as well suited for light- to medium-range foods, and if you are not sure of the food served, it’s best to keep it to a light to medium scale.
If you need a bottle to celebrate with, or for a special someone or some thing, you will want an extraordinary bottle on hand—a wine with special features, either in the glass or on the label, to make a statement from your heart. If you want something with unique traits, for your wine geek friend, that wine, which while shared, the narrative sounds more like the description of the contents of your grandfather’s library, where forest animals live, or sitting around a fire, these might be in that arena. The Lapis Luna Wines Cabernet Franc Reserve California 2020 is full of earth, dust, dark fruit, berries, and herbs. It has a beautiful label as well! Intriguing in the bottle, check! Decorative bottle, check, check! Another option might be the Domaine de Terrebrune Terre d'Ombre Rouge from the iconic Bandol region. This one checks the box for intriguing in the bottle and worth that discussion dripping with wine speak, with aromas of earth, herbs, blackberry, blueberry, and bramble that all follow to the palate. Visit the store this week to find out for yourself! There is always the infallible bubbles for celebrations and adding sparkle to any event! A good choice for a fun sparkler would be Rinaldi Joyful Piedmont Italy NV. With “Joyful” in the name and displayed on the label, it makes for a great hostess gift! It would go wonderfully with appetizers and/or for brunch. For something extra-special, and because life is too short to not celebrate every minute, step it up and grab a bottle of Bauget Jouette Carte Blanche Champagne, with the characteristic apple/pear, yeasty, brioche notes, followed by hazelnut. It has a great balance of fruit and sparkle to make any toast memorable!
The holidays are off and rolling, so make sure you have those special wines for all the festivities ahead. There are so many options out there to fit any budget, from wallet-friendly Prosecco to high-end Champagnes for bubbles, and red and white wines from under $20 to over $100. It is always a good idea to have a wide range of styles and unique wines to pick from. If you are trying to keep your wallet happy, look for wines from other than well-known regions, and always consult your favorite wine store person when picking up something unfamiliar! Happy Holidays and happy (wine) shopping and gifting! Life is too short to drink bad wine! Cheers!