Holiday Wine That Won't Break The Bank
Here are some great choices that will wow your guest this holiday season and leave your pockets fully of jolly!
Villa Sandi NV Il Fresco Brut Prosecco DOC ($16) This reasonably priced, familiar sparkler has good mousse as well as mineral, pear and ginger notes throughout. A good pour for the “it’s been a great year” toast.
Piper Heidsieck NV Cuvée Brut Champagne ($40) Notes of biscuit, almond and toast add a bit of richness to the wine’s citrus-and-stone fruit core. A solid nonvintage Champagne; this time of year, it should already be chilling in your refrigerator.
Louis Jadot 2013 Meursault ($65) Chardonnay done right: Clean, pure, and round on the palate, with notes of pastry cream, citrus, and almond on the nose. All that a party needs, and then some.
Domaine William Fevre 2012 Vaulorent Premier Cru Chablis ($60) A laser beam of intensity and focus, layered with minerality and mouthwatering citrus flavors. This top-class Chardonnay will please even your pickiest guests.
Robert Mondavi Winery 2013 Reserve To Kalon Vineyard Fumé Blanc Napa Valley ($50) A fuller, richer Sauvignon Blanc than you’re probably used to but paired with a winter menu, that’s a good thing. Cream and toast accents don’t detract from a core of minerality and melon/citrus flavors.
Cave de Tain 2009 Les Hauts du Fief Crozes-Hermitage ($27) This Rhône Syrah feels fresh and unmanipulated; focused blackberry/plum and stone notes drift off into a muscular, mocha finish. So enjoyable, and appropriate for aperitif through dinner.
Chateau de Chamirey 2012 Les Ruelles Mercurey Premier Cru ($55) Burgundy lovers, rejoice. This Pinot is so fragrant—floral, mineral, some nutmeg—and has a minerally shell that melts seamlessly into a black cherry center.
Chateau Lyonnat 2010 Lussac-St. Emilion ($27) This Merlot-dominant (85%) Bordeaux has finely textured tannins and a masculine blackberry-and-earth profile. It’s modern, tasty and is totally a “drink with meat” main-course wine.
Dutton-Goldfield 2013 Fox Den Vineyard Pinot Noir Green Valley ($58) Well, hello there. The Fox Den is a smooth, juicy California Pinot whose cherry fruit has darker hints of cola, bacon and dark berries. It’s a wine most everyone will enjoy, and it’s versatile enough to go from cocktail hour to entrée.
Stony Hill 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley ($60) This classically styled Cab is muscular and textured with tangy berry fruit; neutral oak treatment allows the fruit to shine. Bonus: This winery has produced Chardonnay for decades but this is only their fourth vintage of Cab—the C-suite Cab lovers probably haven’t had this one yet.
Marchesi Antinori 2013 Il Bruciato Tenuta Guado al Tasso Bolgheri DOC ($30)Look to this robust Italian when you want Cabernet, but are willing to mix it up a bit: It’s 65% Cabernet with Merlot and Syrah making up the balance, with meaty, bitter chocolate and spice notes accenting the tangy red fruit.
Jansz NV Brut Tasmania ($22) This Australian sparkler is reminiscent of California sparkling wines, showing light toast, white stone fruit and mineral notes throughout and a bright citrusy snap on the finish.
Bodegas Castro Martin 2013 Sobre Lías Albariño Rías Baixas ($20) Serve this palate-priming Spanish white as guests arrive: It’s all about minerality and brisk acidity, but has just enough stone and tropical fruit flavors to round it out.
Esporão 2013 Reserva White Alentejo DOC ($20) If you had to guess, you might peg this blend of Portuguese white grape varieties (plus 10% Sauvignon Blanc) as unoaked Chardonnay. It has a bouncy, medium feel; flavors are of melon, white peach and little citrus.
Tascante 2013 Buonora Carricante Sicilia DOC ($20) This all-purpose Sicilian white wine is clean and demure. Minerality plays first fiddle, and citrus sits second chair.
Coppo 2013 L’Avvocata Barbera d’Asti ($15) A surprisingly smooth, goes-down-easy Barbera. There’s a clay/earth quality throughout and chewy, plump red fruit. It’s a solid but different choice if there’s Italian anything on your menu.
Particular 2011 Viñas Centenarias Garnacha Cariñena DO ($22) This Spanish red is chock full of black cherry and blackberry, accented with caramel. Dark, alluring, and a little reminiscent of Aussie Grenache. Yum.
¿Por Qué No? 2012 Red Wine Napa Valley ($30) This offbeat Zinfandel-dominant blend has a superdark flavor profile—think cassis, blueberry, and mocha—but it’s not so rich that it doesn’t pair well with food. A nice choice for lamb or steak entrees.