How Sommeliers Get Through the Holidays - part one

From selecting wines for parties and pairings, to finding great values or gems worthy of a splurge; wine questions are abundant this time of year! So, we asked our wine advisors to share their tips on ways navigate the world of wine during the holidays. Here's the first edition of our blog series, How Sommeliers Get Through the Holidays.

holiday party

What do you recommend for Holiday parties that won’t break the bank?

JORGE: I think Riesling is one of the best deals, with a touch of sweetness and lower alcohol always delivers, especially from Germany! 

PETE: For white: Ponzi Reserve Chardonnay, Willamette Valley, Oregon - a very high quality chardonnay for under $30 that stands up to higher priced California bottlings. For red:  Julien Sunier, Regnie, Beaujolais Cru, France - a crowd pleaser and for some, a discovery of how fantastic Beaujolais can be when hand crafted from producers such as Sunier.  Often under $30, Beaujolais from one of the top crus can be some of the best values for red wine in the world.

JENNIFER: For big holiday parties, I look for wines from the Southern Hemisphere. You can find great Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, or a yummy red from South America without spending lots of money.

ALEX: You will always find great value in Spanish wines! Cava for a Champagne alternative, Ribera del Duero as an alternative to Cabernet, or Mencia for an alternative to Pinot Noir. But especially if you bring an older vintage Rioja, (You'll be the life of the party.) and it's usually very well priced! 

GINA: I always choose grower champagne if there's wiggle room in the budget. These bottles are labeled with RM (récoltant-manipulant) and offer tremendous value for the quality. NV Tarlant Brut Zero is my current go to value in this category. With a more limited budget, I opt for Chenin Blanc which is super versatile and can be produced in a wide range of styles, from bone dry to rather sweet. Some delicious ones hail from the Loire Valley, California, and the North Fork of Long Island. You can't go wrong with Domaine Huet. I also love Lieu Dit from Santa Barbara.

What wine do you splurge on for the holidays?

JORGE: That’s is a tough one. Any wine with age, and I mean like 20 or 30 years old, preferably from the old world. 

PETE: There are too many to choose but here are three well worth the cash.

Egon Muller, Scharzhorberger, Kabinett, Saar, Germany
Dunn, Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley
An old of vintage of Domaine Jamet, Cote-Rotie, Rhone Valley, France

JENNIFER: Deep, rich red wines. I feel my biggest "splurge" during the holidays is reaching in deep of my personal cellar to find older vintages. It's the perfect time of year to share a special bottle with your close family and friends.  

ALEX: Either 1. A few bottles of older of Burgundy (especially older Chablis from a good producer). Or 2. Lots of grower Champagne and Cru Beaujolais! 

GINA: Older vintages for sure. Some of the best values for classic wines with age can be found in Barolo or Barbaresco. They're the fraction of the cost of Bordeaux and Burgundy. I've had some amazing wines from the 60's and '70s from a range of producers and they haven't failed me.  And of course, Jacque Selosse Champagne if I can find it! 

wine gifting

Need help with holiday gifting this year? Our Wine Advisors can help find the perfect wine for your clients, partners, friends or family and add a personal touch! Learn more here or contact us to get started