Getting through the holidays can be tough enough, with all the meals to prepare, the gifts to buy and wrap, and an often constant stream of house guests, the last thing you need to worry about are the wines you are going to serve with all those holidays meals. Here are some great options that are also incredibly affordable, ensuring you can get through your party season without breaking the bank. A few selections were sent for editorial consideration.
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava continues to be one of my favorite, traditional method sparklers with Spanish varieties, incredible quality without the big price tag appropriate for sipping on its own or mixing with your favorite liqueur, like St. Germain, for a Champagne cocktail or orange juice for a tasty Mimosa, and only 11.5% alcohol so you can sip all day. $8/bottle at Spec’s.
Ste. Michelle creates their Michelle Brut Rose also in the Methode Champenoise style with 93% Pinot Noir and 7% Pinot Meunier from fruit grown in Washington’s Columbia Valley AVA. Fresh and balanced with juicy red apple, crisp citrus and lively red berry notes for an easy to drink sparkling wine with a great price, about $13/bottle available via their website.
If you like a bubbly with a slightly sweeter style, Freixenet recently released their Sweet Cuvee blending Macabeo (35%),
Xarel-lo (25%) and Parellada (40%) with a ripe and juicy flavor profile filled with ripe peach and juicy honeydew melon with aromas of honeysuckle, sweet cream and a touch of vanilla. Light and fresh, a nice way to start or end an evening. About $11/bottle at Spec’s.Duchman Family Winery is one of my favorite from Texas creating great wines from traditional Italian, Spanish and Rhone varieties. I recently tried their Viognier is filled with stone fruit (apricot and white peach) with ripe melon and a touch of white flowers. $13.50/bottle at Spec’s.
Charles and Charles Washington State Chardonnay is created by two of Washington States best known winemakers, Charles Smith and Charles Bieler, who joined forces to create their fragrant, balanced and fresh Chardonnay filled with ripe pear, tropical fruit and a touch of fresh herbs and steely minerality. Great food wine with an incredible price. $12/bottle available via their website.
Mandolin Chardonnay from Monterey County in California’s Central Coast with foggy mornings and constant breezes, ideal for growing cool-weather Chardonnay filled with tropical pineapple and guava notes and ripe golden apple, aged 10 months in French oak for a creamy texture while maintaining good acidity making it an affordable and tasty food wine. $10/bottle available via their website.
Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc – New Zealand winemakers have mastered the art of making bright, citrus filled, very fresh Sauvignon Blanc, and Villa Maria makes one of the most approachable from the Marlborough region. Grapefruit, gooseberry and lemon-lime flavors fill this food friendly wine. About $13/bottle at Spec’s.
Martin Codax Albarino - Spain’s favorite white variety is aged on the lees to give the normally very crisp, acidic wine a layer of creaminess with texture and definition. Green apple, ripe pear and lemon-lime notes fill the refreshing, balanced wine. $15, on sale for $12 at Total Wine right now.
Planet Oregon Pinot Noir from owner/winemaker Tony Soter is doing amazing things in Willamette Valley. The former founder of Etude now produces his wine under his namesake label, Soter Wines. Soter also produces Planet Oregon Pinot Noir from sustainably farmed fruit, giving back to a handful of environmental charities. Ripe red berries, spice and great acidity pairing well with any holiday meal. $20/bottle available via their website.
Hahn Winery California Pinot Noir delivers a traditional, fruit forward Pinot Noir flavor profile of ripe blackberry, black cherry and pomegranate with a touch of cola, sweet baking spice and vanilla from fruit grown throughout California. $14 widely available throughout Dallas, $11/bottle at Spec’s.
The wines of Italy’s Piedmonte region are excellent food wines for the holiday filled with earthy, wild mushroom and dried fruit notes with balanced acidity and supple tannins. Boroli Madonna Di Como Dolcetto D’Alba, leaps from the glass with dried red cherry, blackberry and toasted oak and leather notes. About $15 a bottle, available at Jimmy’s Food Store.
2011 Delas “St-Esprit” Côtes du Rhône – 50% Grenache, 50% Syrah from the Rhone region of France. Big, fruit forward and powerful filled with dark berries, cherry and licorice on the smoke-accented nose and mouth. Open this bottle a few hours before you are ready to serve and it will soften just a touch making it great to sip on its own or with your holiday meal. $11/bottle at Spec’s.
Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon - Paso Robles Cabernet that can stand up to any in California, and this one from Hope Family Winery delivers on both delcious, classic Cabernet flavors and a great price. Ripe black cherry, plum licorice and leather notes with approachability, pairing well with anything from lamb to steak to holiday ham. $12/bottle @ Spec’s.
Prazo de Roriz Douro Red Blend - Portugal is fast becoming known for producing more than just Port wines. This red blend is filled with the typical varieties used in Port (Aragonez,Tinta Roriz, Toriga Nacional, etc.) made into a lush, vibrant and robust still red wine with a nice balance of acidity and tannin, standing up well to hearty meats and sides. $15/bottle available here.
Malbec is a perfect grilled meat, roast lamb or beef tenderloin wine with black cherry, smoke and spice flavors. Don Miguel Gascón has been making wine in Argentina since 1884, producing bold, hearty Malbec filled with black plum and cherry, dark chocolate and spice notes, tasty with your holiday roast. About $12/bottle at Spec’s.