Updated: Feb 12
The holidays are quickly approaching and while they are one of the most joyful times of the year, they can also be a bit stressful. As a Certified Sommelier and someone who has years of experience being the person responsible for selecting the wine for my family's holidays, I have put together a list of 12 wines that will cover all of your needs for any upcoming festivities and meals.
1. Luc Belaire Gold Brut
There is no better way to start off a festive night than with Champagne. While it is fun to pop bottles, the brilliant acidity and bubbles make this wine a great pairing for almost everything. This Champagne goes with appetizers, seafood, desserts, and will lighten heavier dishes.
You can also use Luc Belaire Gold to make holiday cocktails like a Cranberry-Pomegranate spritzer or a mimosa. This is truly a must have item due to its adaptability!
2. Kuent-Bas Riesling
This dry Riesling is from the Alsace region of France and is bright and fruity. Due to its high acidity, similar to sparkling wines, it pairs well with a lot of different dishes. In particular, it is a great pairing with ham (whether it is baked, smoked, or honeyed), turkey, and seafood.
The Kuent-Bas Riesling is also an excellent pairing for gingerbread cookies/houses.
3. E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône
Guigal is one of the best known producers in the Rhône Valley and this style of wine is almost always found on my holiday wine shopping list. A blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedré, this is a great versatile red wine to pair with ham, turkey, roasted vegetables (I recommend trying roasted brussel sprouts with crispy pancetta), and a variety of cheeses.
Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rouge is fruity, full bodied, elegant, and well balanced. It is sure to be a favorite for your holiday.
4. Louis Jadot Pouilly-Fuissé
The Louis Jadot Pouilly-Fuisse Chardonnay from the Burgundy region of France has notes of red apple, hazelnut, and citrus and is a great value purchase. It pairs well with smoked salmon, oysters, appetizers, creamy dishes like mashed potatoes and mac-n-cheese, and most importantly sugar cookies!
5. Marqués de Cáceres Crianza
An easy-drinking, medium bodied Tempranillo from the Rioja region of Spain with notes of berries and cigar box. Marques de Caceres Rioja Crianza pairs well with prime rib, mushrooms, vegetable casseroles, roasted turkey, and cheeses. It also makes for a great companion while wrapping presents or watching your favorite holiday movie.
6. Banfi Chianti Classico
Sangiovese, the red grape of Italy, is presented in one of its best examples from the Classico sub region. This is the historical growing area and can be found between the cities of Florence and Siena.
The Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva has notes of sour cherry, herbs, and tobacco, making it a great versatile red wine. It is an excellent choice for pairing with Prime Rib, beef tenderloin, roasted vegetables, appetizers, and pastas. For those who enjoy a holiday cigar, you might have to enjoy a glass of this with it.
7. Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most iconic wines and for good reason. It has notes of citrus, tropical fruit, and herbs with racy acidity. Another food friendly wine due to its high acidity, you can pair this wine with roasted turkey, oysters, lobster, goat cheese, and asparagus.
8. Honig Cabernet Sauvignon
A classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Honig is a full bodied, age worthy red wine with notes of blackcurrants, plum, baking spices, and chocolate. Think of classic pairings like prime rib and beef tenderloin as well as pairings like aged sharp cheddar, grilled vegetables, and blue cheese.
9. Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon
The Santa Rita Medalla Real is a Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo Valley, Chile. For those feeling adventurous wanting to try something new or for those who don’t prefer a Napa Valley style, this wine shows a slightly different side to Cabernet. Full bodied wine with notes of blueberries, blackberries, figs, and soft spices.
10. La Crema Pinot Noir
With a profile of cranberry, raspberry, mushrooms, and spice, the La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir has all the aromas of the holidays. It is versatile, many people love it, and it pairs well with roasted turkey, grilled salmon, and roasted pork.
11. Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay
Sonoma-Cutrer is a Sonoma Coast Chardonnay with notes of peach, nectarine, vanilla, and hazelnut. Like its Burgundy counterpart this wine pairs well with fish, appetizers, creamy dishes, and sugar cookies.
Chardonnay is a grape that adapts to its environment creating a variety of profiles depending on where it is grown and winemaking techniques used like barrel aging. You can expect fresher and more tropical fruit notes and more intense spice notes in this California version.
12. Chandon Brut
Chandon Blanc de Pinot Noir is a sparkling wine from California. It is associated with its parent house Moet & Chandon. This wine provides excellent quality without the prices of most Champagne. It is made in the exact same method and uses the same grape varieties.
This is a great wine to celebrate the New Year whether with food or a toast!
Make the Most of Your Holiday Celebrations
A few things to keep in mind to help ensure a great and smooth experience.
1. Variety is key.
It is always wise to have a variety of wines so that there is an option for everyone.
2. Chill out and breathe.
In the hustle of preparation, opening and chilling your wines may not be your top priority. I recommend placing white and sparkling wines in the fridge before cooking, wrapping, or cleaning. That way you know they are chilled and ready for serving. Same for the reds, open them up first and let them breathe in the bottle until you are ready to serve them. This will help them open up and become more characterful.
I hope you enjoy whichever wines you decide as this is the most important part of the pairing and experience. Happy Holidays!
Interested in learning more about wine?
Verve Imports’ Wine Academy offers online courses to improve your wine knowledge and make wine more approachable. In Wine 101: The Foundations, you will:
Gain the confidence to read a wine label and select a wine from a shelf or wine list,
Learn how each grape is different, and
How to write your own tasting notes.
During this course you will be able to work at your own pace while also having the option to attend live webinars and purchase a wine tasting kit that will be delivered to your home.
Are you comfortable with your progress towards retirement? If you have a net worth over $2 million and need help from a wealth manager, the Peak Wealth Planning team can assist you.
Peak Wealth Planning specializes in helping high-net worth individuals and families plan for the future.
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About the Author
Layne Shottenkirk cultivated her love of wine into a thirst for knowledge while living in Florence, Italy. That passion led her to pursuing a career in the wine industry and advancing her wine education. In 2018, Layne founded Verve Imports, a wine import company focusing on introducing the Midwest to sustainably produced boutique wines from Italy and Spain.
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About Peak Wealth Planning
Peak Wealth Planning provides concierge services to meet your wealth management needs. Services include: financial planning, investment management, ESOP diversification, retirement income, insurance, and estate planning advice. Peak Wealth Planning is afee-based financial advisor based in Champaign, Illinois, and Fraser, Colorado.