With Christmas Eve and Christmas right around the corner, there are going to be plenty of opportunities to pop a couple of bottles of wine. Whether it’s a casual affair with friends or a daylong family-filled extravaganza wherein Aunt Susan is bound to ask what happened to Jill, because she was really a keeper and your cousin Steve is going to sabotage the White Elephant — somehow — because he’s Steve, wine will be present.
What wine, though? Do you go with a nice, crisp white wine or a bigger, bolder red? Either way, we’ve got you covered. Check out our list for the best wines to take to a Christmas dinner and get ready to really enjoy the yuletide spirit.
1865 Single Vineyard Chardonnay
Made by Viña San Pedro from grapes harvested in the Elqui Valley in Chile, this Chardonnay is anything but what you would expect from a California Chardonnay. You’ll not find those buttery notes; instead, your palate will be gifted with flavors and aromas of honey, papaya, and citrus. There’s a good bit of minerality and acidity, creating a full and lively wine.
Stony Hill Riesling 2017
Crisp and complex, this Napa Valley Riesling from Stony Hill Vineyard is an aromatic and fruity wine that finishes with great savory notes. What starts with floral notes and some herbal characteristics reminiscent of chamomile then presents a nice minerality before finishing on a savory note. You’ll also find Meyer lemon and a nice level of acidity.
Ayres Pinot Blanc
Located in Newberg, Oregon, Ayres Vineyard primarily produces Pinot Noir, however, their Pinot Blanc should not be ignored. Quite mineral and full of citrusy flavors, this wine is a crisp and refreshing pour should you need something with a little zest to it. Expect nice acidity to invigorate the palate.
Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc
Made by one of the premier winemakers in South Africa, this Sauvignon Blanc from Mulderbosch is a fresh and vibrant take on the wine. Lightly chalky, you’ll get plenty of lime and other citrus notes playing with figs, passionfruit, and more bright flavors. The structure of the wine is strong, allowing for a long and lingering finish.
Willamette Valley Pinot Gris
Just as wine another white wine on this list, Oregon’s Willamette Valley Vineyards primarily produces reds, but this Pinot Gris is another example of a winery doing a great job producing a varietal outside their comfort zone. Peach and honeysuckle are the primary flavors in this bottle, with melon and citrus playing backup. You’ll find some more orchard fruits on the palate before the clean, crisp finish.
Spoken Barrel Meritage Red Blend
Rich and complex with an almost black body, this 2015 red blend from Washington state’s Spoken Barrel is a great option for those looking for bolder flavors in a red. You’ll find dark fruits such as blueberries mixing with leathery notes, some oak, cocoa, and even a little smoke. A good tannic presence helps to enliven the palate.
Côte Rôtie Brune et Blonde de Guigal
Made from 96 percent Syrah and 4 percent Viognier grapes, this wine from E. Guigal is a great example of red grapes and white grapes working in harmony. In the case of this wine, the Syrah is obviously the main component, with red berries, spice, and oak all very much at the front of the senses. These are tempered by low levels of acidity and tannin, creating a balanced wine that is ready for long periods of aging.
Lasorda Cabernet Sauvignon
Like baseball, but know nothing about wine? Go for this one. Founded by Tommy Lasorda, Lasorda Family Wines are meant to be representations of his spirit and love of baseball. You’ll find loads of currant, raspberry, and dark chocolate on the nose of this Cabernet Sauvignon, with many of those flavors following through into the palate and mixing with oak and boysenberry.
Etude Temblor Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014
Made from grapes harvested specifically from the Temblor Vineyard located in the Etude Estates Vineyards, Grace Benoist Ranch, this Pinot Noir is a limited edition in that less than 500 cases were produced. A highly aromatic wine, you’ll find plenty of raspberry and cherry notes on the nose mixing with cinnamon and vanilla. On the palate, you’ll be greeted by a deluge of fruit flavor and nice acidity.
Early Mountain Shenandoah Valley Cabernet Franc
As the name suggests, this red wine is made in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, about 90 miles southwest of Washington D.C. While Cabernet Franc is typically used for blending (with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) in Bordeaux and elsewhere, on its own, it exhibits a richness that is easily drinkable. Made more in the Burgundian style, Early Mountain’s Cab Franc is silky smooth with great herbal notes and a fairly light body.
Made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (60 percent) and Merlot (40 percent), this wine is part of the Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) family’s Légende line, which emphasizes easy-drinking. Dark in color and rich in flavor, you’ll find dark berries, vanilla, and cinnamon on a very silky body. A long, spicy finish ends each sip of what is a very rounded wine.
Charles Smith Wines The Velvet Devil Merlot
Made in response to the movie Sideways (and the subsequent backlash against Merlots), this wine from Charles Smith is made with 89 percent Merlot, 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1 percent Malbec. Produced in Washington State, Velvet Devil is indeed velvety on the palate, with a bounty of dark fruits playing against notes of cedar and tobacco.
Planning an event yourself and need more than just wine? We’ve got you covered with a playlist of Christmas music that doesn’t suck.
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