Tag Archives: Christmas wine

Christmas wine 2015

Christmas wine 2015

Christmas wine 2015Suggestions for Christmas wine 2015, whether you need to buy a gift or need ideas about what to serve family and friends. As always, keep our wine gift giving tips in mind:

Ponzi Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2013 ($40, sample, 13.2%): Pricey but elegant, this is an example of what Oregon pinot noir can deliver. Look for cherry and raspberry fruit and wonderfully soft tannins that remind you that this is red wine, but still pinot noir. It’s a terrific gift for someone who loves pinot, and would go equally as well with roast lamb.

Scaia Rosato 2014 ($10, purchased, 12.5%): I bought a case of this Italian rose, and was lucky to get it. When I went back to the store, it was almost gone. It’s a gorgeous, Provencal-style rose with a touch more fruit (raspberry?) as well as the aroma of wildflowers and a wonderful freshness. Drink on its own, or as a gift for someone who isn’t sure they like wine. Highly recommended.

La Fiera Pinot Grigio 2014 ($10, purchased, 12%): This Italian white doesn’t have as much fruit as I like, but it’s an excellent example of the tonic water style that is usually done so badly. It’s clean, simple, and refreshing; sip on its own, or with holiday turkey.

Vibracions Cava NV ($9, purchased, 11.5%): This Spanish sparkler has green apple and lemon fruit, very tight bubbles, and cava freshness. It’s not rich or full, but it’s not supposed to be. Drink this with any holiday brunch or as an aperitif, if you’re feeling fancy.

Vina Fuerte 2011 ($5, purchased, 13%): The good news is that this Spanish tempranillo delivers twice as much value as it costs, with cherry fruit, a bit of orange peel, and some heft. The bad news is that it’s sold mostly at Aldi, and my Aldi can’t keep it in stock. Drink with any red meat dinner or even roast chicken.

More about Christmas wine:
Christmas wine 2014
Christmas wine 2013
Christmas wine 2012
Expensive wine 75: John Duval Plexus
Expensive wine 73: Pierre-Marie Chermette Fleurie Poncie 2013

Winebits 365: Christmas wine edition

Christmas wineChristmas wine advice and news from around the Internet:

? Ripe and lively: Terrific Christmas wine advice from Susy Atkins at London’s Telegraph newspaper. “This year I ?m seeking fresher, more vivacious styles of red for the big day. Fed up with the many heavy, tannic, even jammy wines out there (blame the more commercial producers in hot-climate areas), I favour a red with clean acidity and bright, lively, red-fruit flavours to cut through the richness of the whole feast.” Which is actually good advice for all year. And for those of you who worry about the differences between British and U.S. english, Atkins doesn’t use Happy Christmas or Father Christmas in the article.

? What to get the boss? Food and Wine offers Christmas gift suggestions for everyone imaginable, from bosses to wine snobs to teachers. It’s clever, and if some of the wines will be hard to find or cost too much, there are some well-thought choices. The two sparklings, both French chenin blancs around $15, show how far bubbly has come from the days when all we had was poorly-made California “champagne” and the real stuff with its real stuff price tag.

? Readily available: This list, from the well-regarded Fred Tasker, features wines that won’t be hard to find, including many for sale in grocery stores. And any list that includes the South African $10 Beach House sauvignon blanc gets high marks from the Wine Curmudgeon.

Christmas wine 2014

Christmas wine 2014Wine suggestions for the holiday next week, whether you need to buy a gift or aren’t sure about what to serve family and friends, be it for dinner or just because:

? Sileni Pinot Noir 2013 ($16, sample, 12.5%): This red wine from New Zealand has been winning awards around the world this year, and why not? It tastes like pinot noir, with dark cherry fruit, soft but still noticeable tannins, and no hint that the wine wants to be anything other than pinot noir, like lots of alcohol or over the top jamminess. If it doesn’t taste like red Burgundy, and I don’t know why it should, it tastes like what it is — one of the best pinots at this price from anywhere in the world.

? Grgich Hills Merlot 2010 ($42, sample, 14.8%): Another remarkable effort from Grgich, which has been making this sort of wine for so long we tend to take it for granted. This California red somehow combines high alcohol with style, finesse, and even some earthiness. Look for red fruit and an almost licorice finish. It’s big enough for red meat, but well made enough to enjoy without it.

? Chateau d’Archambeau 2012 ($14, purchased, 12.5%): Just when I’ve given up on finding white Bordeaux that tastes like white Bordeaux — minerality and crispness without an overabundance of citrus fruit — along comes this French white, made with two-thirds sauvignon blanc and one-third semillon. Nicely done, and worth the extra couple of bucks compared to something like Chateau Bonnet. Sip on its own, or with holiday turkey.

? Argyle Brut 2010 ($22, purchased, 12.5%): Argyle always seems to show up in holiday wine roundups here, but there’s a reason for that. It’s one of the best sparkling wines, dollar for dollar, made in the U.S. — about half the price of its California counterparts, and with that much better quality than less expensive California bubblies. Lots of apple fruit, but also some creaminess. Drink for toasting or with almost any food that isn’t prime rib.

? Hacienda Araucano Reserva Carmenere 2013 ($10, sample, 14%): Carmenere is a red grape from Chile that is supposed to vaguely resemble an earthy merlot, but mostly tastes like grocery store merlot. This wine, from the same family that owns Bonnet, is carmenere the way it should be, and especially at this price. Look for black fruit and some grip, a welcome change from all of the flabby carmeneres on the market. Beef wine without a doubt.

More about Christmas wine:
? Christmas wine 2013
? Christmas wine 2012
? Wine of the week: Astoria Prosecco NV
? Wine of the week: Little James’ Basket Press NV

Christmas wine 2015

Holiday wine trends 2014

Holiday wine trends 2014 ? The Wine Curmudgeon’s 2014 holiday wine gift guide

Those of us who are supposed to know these things have been insisting that wine drinkers are throwing off their Winestream Media-inspired shackles, and drinking what they want — rose, even. In this, they’re being more adventurous than ever. We now have anecdotal evidence, as the 2014 holiday wine season is underway, that this is true.

Wine drinkers are buying tannat.

“If someone had told me I’d be selling tannat, I’d have told them they were crazy,” says Tina Messina of the Wine ConneXtion in suburban Boston, who can’t keep the Uruguayan red wine on the shelf after a tasting last month. “We were shocked. So, yes, wine drinkers are willing to be more adventurous. Someone needs to explain what the wine is about, and then they’re willing to try something they normally wouldn’t buy.”

This doesn’t mean, said the retailers interviewed for this post, that they won’t sell a lot of cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and pinot noir this holiday season. After all, this is still the United States. But as Mike Osborn, the founder and vice president of merchandising for on-line retailer Wine.com, told me: “It’s all about selection, so they can try something they may not have hard of before. They want to be able to show a new bottle to a friend and ask, ‘Did you know about this?’ “

What else will we see during the 2014 holiday wine season?

? More expensive wine, at least for “those who have the resources to buy it,” says Messina. She says consumers who feel more confident about the economy are spending more on a bottle than over the past decade. She has seen more purchases in the $15 to $25 range this season; earlier in the year, $15 was the cutoff on the high end.

? Varietals and regions from all over the world, and not just California or France. Because, as near as anyone can tell, the trend is that no one thing is especially trendy this year. Which fits into the adventurous theme.

? But adventure only goes so for, says Wally Plahutnik of John’s Grocery in Iowa City. “People will be adventurous for themselves, but they want a safe bet for gifts,” he says. “And that means name recognition, the cachet that the big names bring.” In other words, this could be the most profitable holiday season in 10 years for the best-known Napa Valley producers.

? Accessories, but as gifts from non-wine drinkers to their wine drinking friends. That’s because they’re scared to buy their wine-drinking friends a bottle that the friends may not like, says Plahutnik. In fact, no one I talked to said they thought accessory sales would be any bigger this season than in any other, despite the push I’m seeing from accessory manufacturers. I’ve been overwhelmed with releases about everything from wine chillers to wine stoppers from manufacturers who see the reviving economy as their best opportunity in a decade.

For more on holiday wine trends:
? Holiday wine trends 2013
? Holiday wine trends 2012
? Holiday wine prices 2011

Christmas wine 2015

Christmas wine 2013 and a few more gift suggestions

A combination post this year, for everyone caught short by the truncated holiday shopping season or who may have been iced in: Wine suggestions for the holiday next week, plus a couple of additional gift ideas. And anyone who wants an autographed copy of the cheap wine book needs to order from the website by Friday afternoon for holiday delivery:

? Red wine: Hedges Family Estate Red Mountain 2011 ($25, sample, 13.5%), one of the best wines I’ve tasted this year and which deserved more than the passing mention it got on the blog in September. This is a classic Washington state red blend with rich, black fruit and where the Washington state syrah stands out. Highly recommended, and a fine value at this price.

? White wine: The Domaine Weinbach Riesling Schlossberg Cuv e Th o 2011 ($30, sample, 13.5%) was the highlight of an Alsatian riesling Twitter tasting this summer. It’s a complex wine with the requisite varietal character (some oiliness, lemon fruit) but still quite pleasant to drink in a way that some high-end Alsatian rieslings, which try to cram everything in, aren’t.

? Sparkling wine: Poema Brut NV ($10, purchased, 11.5%), another excellent cava in both price and quality (and a tip ‘o the Curmudgeon’s fedora to reader James Phillips for suggesting it). Look for tight bubbles, very crisp golden delicious apple fruit, and even a little brioche, a yeast-like flavor that usually shows up only in Champagne.

? Wine book: The New California Wine, $35, by Jon Bonne, the wine editor for the San Francisco Chronicle. Bonne is one of the two or three best wine critics in the U.S., and his analysis of California wine — good and bad — is usually spot on. This is a great gift for anyone who wonders why California wine is so wonderful, except when it isn’t, and how the isn’t happens as often as it does.

? Wine glasses: Schott Zwiesel Tritan Forte, about $10 each. These are among the best so-called unbreakable crystal glasses, and crystal does make a difference. How unbreakable is unbreakable? Given my propensity for falling down more often than I plan, I can vouch for their sturdiness. They do break, but you have to make an effort.

More about Christmas wine and gifts:
? Holiday wine gift guide 2013
? Christmas wine 2012
? Wine of the week: King Estate Pinot Gris 2012
? Wine of the week: Dibon Brut Reserve NV
? Wine of the week: Hardys Nottage Hill Pinot Noir 2012

Christmas wine 2012

Christmas wine 2012One doesn’t see a lot about Christmas wine pairings; a quick Google search found years-old posts, the usual commercial sites ( ?Buy our wine for Christmas! ?), and even a listing for food tanker trucks.

I haven ?t done an annual post, either. I found a couple in the blog ?s early years, but nothing in 2011 or 2010. The only thing I can think of is that I figured people didn ?t associate Christmas with wine, since it ?s not a food holiday like Thanksgiving. What was I thinking?

Shouldn ?t every holiday be a wine occasion? My suggestions after the jump; just remember the blog ?s holiday wine guidelines: “Don’t buy wine you think someone should like; buy them wine they will like.”

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