Good wine for the holidays helps to make the season fabulous. Therefore, we have compiled our personal list of holiday wine — special sparkling, white and red wines that we enjoyed during 2021. Eight sparkling and white wines, plus 12 red wines, round out our top 20 recommendations of wine for the holidays. Moreover, their prices range from an unbelievable $11 to a whopping $150. Read on for details.
Wine for the Holidays
Certainly, many of these wines are special because of their high quality (and high price point). On the other hand, others are simply special good-value wines. Most importantly, we recommend opening them during a quiet evening at home, pouring them for dinner guests, taking them to small holiday parties, or giving them as gifts.
Sparkling and White Wine for the Holidays
Above all, whatever your plans might be, we suggest you consider these beautiful sparklers and white wines to make the holidays memorable. For example, our list features Pinot Grigio, Seyval Blanc, Chardonnay, White Burgundy, Pét-nat, Riesling and Grillo. Meanwhile, Washington, Oregon, France and Italy produce these excellent wines. Their prices range from $18 – $80. Consequently, here are our recommendations for white wine and sparklers, in alphabetical order by winery.
The List – Sparklers and Whites
Albino Armani Colle Ara Pinot Grigio Valdadige Terradeiforti ($22 – Italy)
We were wowed by Colle Ara, which is full-bodied with aromas and flavors of peaches, apricots, grapefruit and pomegranates. In addition, we also love the salinity and minerality.
Bells Up Helios Seyval Blanc 2020 ($40 – Oregon)
This is a big cult wine among Bells Up fans. Count us in. We love the citrus and pineapple flavors laced with minerality. Find the 2021 in the spring.
Big Table Farm Wild Bee Chardonnay 2019 ($30 – Oregon)
First, this sought-after Chardonnay is in a class of its own, rich, layered and textured. Next, minerality and purity complement both crisp and creamy flavors.
Cantine Ermes Quattro Quarti Grillo 2019 ($18 – Italy)
This vibrant, elegant wine is made with organically grown Grillo grapes. Aromatics of white fruit, peaches, almonds, sea salt and orange peel lead into flavors of citrus and peaches.
Château de la Crée Meursault Les Tillets 2015 ($80 – France)
This is absolutely the best white Burgundy we have ever tasted, with aromas of hazelnuts and flint, and flavors of citrus, pear and vanilla. And there’s bright acidity and full-bodied richness.
Conte Vistarino Ries Riesling Oltrepò Pavese 2017 ($20 – Italy)
This is unlike any Riesling we’ve ever tasted. Well-balanced and smooth, the wine opens with aromas and flavors of white fruits and flowers, plus bright acidity and minerality.
Hard Row to Hoe Whole Picture® Au Naturel Pét-nat 2019 ($38 – Washington)
Short for Petillant Naturel, this is an amazing wine made in a very natural way. Low in alcohol, this sparkling wine (Cabernet Franc) is full of flavors of fresh berries, almonds and vanilla.
Troon Vineyards Pét tanNat 2020 ($35 – Oregon)
Likewise, this Pét tanNat is a distinctive sparkler. Troon crafts it with 100% estate Tannat. Overall, it is dry, rich, complex and elegant.
Red Wine for the Holidays
These gorgeous reds range from a cool $11 to a breathtaking $150. For example, our list features Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Nerello Mascalese, Tempranillo, Malbec and red blends. Meanwhile, Washington, Oregon, California, France, Italy, Spain, Argentina and South Africa produce these excellent wines. Certainly, we enjoyed every one of them. Consequently, here are our recommendations for red wine for the holidays, in alphabetical order by winery.
The List – Reds, Part 1
Boekenhoutskloof Cabernet Sauvignon Franschhoek 2016 ($69 – South Africa)
This magnificent Cabernet is plush, luscious, smooth and impressive. Dark berries, cherries and crème de cassis aromas, with hints of tobacco and spicy oak, are mirrored on the palate, along with flavors of red licorice and fennel.
Cantine Ermes Vento di Mare Nerello Mascalese ($12 – Italy)
This wine sings, with velvety rich notes of black cherries, cola, spices and dark chocolate. The indigenous Nerello Mascalese grapes are harvested in the sandy soils of Cantine Ermes, one of the biggest organic wineries in southern Italy.
Caprio Cellars Eleanor 2017 ($48 – Washington)
This is a stellar blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (50%), Merlot (28%), Malbec (2%) and Cabernet Franc (10%). This full-bodied, balanced wine is complex, with notes of dark fruit and hints of cedar, oak and minerality.
Devison Vintners Phantom Lamb Syrah 2018 ($54 – Washington)
We adore this 100% Syrah. First, it opens with aromas of dark fruit, flint, olives, black pepper and smoked meat. Next, the flavors mirror the nose, along with, to my surprise, flavors of Amaro, my favorite apéritif. Further, this Syrah is silky, textured and plush.
Enate Tempranillo 2018 ($12 – Spain)
Enate showcases Rioja’s signature grape in this good-value and very tasty wine. Notes of strawberries, cherries and licorice lead into a smooth texture, fresh acidity and a creamy finish. Moreover, it’s a great gift idea or even a stocking stuffer.
ETTORE Red 2018 ($58 – California)
This is a pretty, sophisticated blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot, produced from organic, hand-harvested grapes. Winemaker Ettore Biraghi brings his old-world Italian winemaking heritage to the new-world grapes. As a result, this is a full-bodied red wine with dark fruit flavors, and hints of anise and savory, smoky, earthy notes.
The List – Reds, Part 2
L’Ecole 41 Perigee 2018 ($56 – Washington)
This is one incredible wine. The nose offers aromas of spices, blackberries, cassis, dark chocolate and violets. Similarly, the palate provides rich, dark fruit flavors with licorice notes. In addition, the aging potential is 10-20 years.
Lenné Estate 2017 Kill Hill Pinot Noir 2018 ($60 – Oregon)
Kill Hill grapes grow on the rockiest, most stressed soils on the highest elevation of the vineyard. A blend of Dijon 114 and 667 clones creates flavors of black cherries, currants and raspberries, plus wet stone and spicy notes. Beautiful!
Maison Evenstad Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru Les Rues de Chaux 2016 ($150 – France)
Above all, at this price, this exquisite wine from Burgundy is for a very special occasion. Dark, intense, balanced and gorgeous, this standout wine can be enjoyed now or cellared up to 15 years.
TILIA Malbec-Syrah 2020 ($11 – Argentina)
This is still a baby so, subsequently, we decanted it for four hours to open up the complex nose and fruit flavors. The blend highlights a dark fruit nose with hints of spice, while more red fruit and meat flavors are on the palate. This does not drink like an $11 wine!
Trapiche Winery Broquel Selected Barrel Cab Sauvignon 2019 ($16 – Argentina)
Forbes named this one of the best wines of autumn. Certainly, we agree, and we loved it. Broquel is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a rich, structured wine brimming with aromas of raspberries and licorice, and flavors of plums and black currants.
Utopia Estate Reserve Pinot Noir Clone 777 2015 ($75 – Oregon)
What a sophisticated wine, crafted from the best four barrels of Pinot Noir. This outstanding Pinot opens with a pretty nose of cherries and a savory, spicy earthiness. Likewise, the flavors of black fruits are layered with spices and hints of cola.
Summary: Wine for the Holidays
Unfortunately, some of these vintages are no longer available. On the other hand, you should be able to find recent releases instead. In addition, we enjoyed more than one wine from some of these wineries. But in the interest of fairness, we chose just the one we liked best so more wineries could be included. Therefore, we highly recommend you check out the wineries’ websites to consider many other wines offered in their lineups.
In conclusion, we hope you stay safe, have a designated driver, and enjoy the season with some delicious wine for the holidays.
Cheers – and happy holidays!
Margot and Dave