2018-12-01 / Wine Notes

Wine at Home for the Holidays

Robert D. Richards, CSW

Just when you thought you were safe, the holidays have rolled around again. In addition to the ordinary vicissitudes of life, you’ll likely be wrapped up with buying gifts, planning elaborate meals, and hosting friends and relatives. There’s no need to stress over what wine you should stock up on for the occasion.

This season, why not treat your guests to a world tour? Of wine, that is!

Holidays call for some sparkle. As your guests arrive for seasonal gatherings, put a glass of bubbly in their hands. In Italy, those bubbles come in the form of Prosecco, the light classic sparkling wine that opens so many meals and gatherings. It’s certainly a festive way to kick off the holidays. To make it look — and feel — even more like a party, try putting a small splash of Aperol in the glass flute before pouring in the Prosecco.

If some guests don’t care for sparkling wines, they can go to … Spain. A refreshing Albariño, hailing from the northwest of Spain, with its crisp apple and citrus notes, is a light-bodied alternative to a sparkling opener. It may be the first time your guests have tried this wine — so many gatherings rely on Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay as an opening white — and they will thank you for introducing them to it.

For the red wine lovers in the crowd, make like a kangaroo and hop on over to Australia (or at least that section of the state store) and pick up a Shiraz. It’s the most widely planted grape in the country. Though the name is Persian in origin, Shiraz is the same genetically as the European-based Syrah grape, but the flavor profile is different based on where in the world it is grown, as is often the case.

If you’re feeling extra warm and fuzzy this season, consider a German and Austrian holiday favorite called Gluehwein. It’s a warmed, red wine spiced with cinnamon, sugar, cloves and oranges. It’s a good way to warm up a cold, winter’s night. Drink too much of it and you’re guaranteed to be warm and fuzzy. Happy Holidays! •SCM

Ruffino Prosecco

(#3810, $15.99)
This wine tastes clean and crisp, with hints of pear and lemon, and lots of bubbles.
Paco and Lola Albariño 2016 (Rias Baixas)
(#44780, $18.99)
This wine has notes of tropical fruit, herbs and a bit of citrus. It’s acidic and fresh-tasting.
Mollydooker The Boxer
Shiraz 2015 (South Australia)

(#73270, $27.99)
Dark red fruits, plum and jam highlight this Australian red with just a hint of chocolate and anise to round out the flavor.

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