Whether you’re Ebenezer Scrooge, or secretly feeding an inner elf, you’ll probably find yourself at no less than a few festivities this month. To help you prepare for the perfect do’s, below are a few of our suggestions, no matter where you end up this Christmas and New Year.
The ideal wine for a leisurely lunch outdoor should not clock more than 12.5% by volume, have good fruit intensity, and is without tannin. These are the kind of wines that don’t need the perfect environment and can also be enjoyed from a plastic cup if needed.
Anselmo Mendes Muros Antigos 2014, Vinho Verde, Portugal
Vinho Verde from the rugged and mountainous region that has been touched by Anselmo Mendes are one of the most interesting regional white wines in the world. He manages to take away the rustic edges and turn them into a classy and racy package. Parker 89
from the King of Vinho Verde, no fizz
Hannes Sabathi Gemischter Satz 2014, Styria, Austria
Clocking in at 11%, this blend of various grapes known to Styria is intensively fruity yet dry on the palate. Good as a thirst quencher or subtly spicy food.
Whether in Khao Yai or Chiang Mai, the months of December and January bring the temperatures down below 20°C in the evenings. This is your perfect moment to open a structured red with tannins and a complex and layered white wine with power. You can decant without worry and enjoy the new found texture and aromas build up from the glass.
Weingut Rabl Gruner Veltliner Kaferberg Alte Reben 2013, Kamptal, Austria
A great wine that is juicy and intense with typical spice, rock flour, a dash of pepper corns paired with vegetal blossom tones, dried herbs and rhubarb. Falstaff 93
fish, schnitzel or Thai food, you name it
Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf du Pape Quartz 2009, Rhone, France
A powerful Grenache led-blend with superb perfume of sweet black raspberry, creamy licorice, lavender and spice. Parker 95
thrilling fruit and texture
If you have dug out a carefully kept recipe and are cooking up a storm at home, here you will need a wine that will electrify your palate, dazzle the conversation, and maybe prepare you for a great night out later. Wines with intense fruit and aromatics that can compete with the surrounding noise is what you really want.
Weingut Zillinger Gruner Veltliner Reflexion 2014, Weinviertel, Austria
Utterly seductive Gruner Veltiner, which has structure from skin maceration, and a sublime texture and balance. Gault Millau 17
Piedrasassi Syrah PS 2013, Central Coast, USA
California’s new generation seek out balance. And Sashi Moorman has become the leading light at not only this estate, but also makes wine for Sandhi and Domaine de la Cote. Parker 92
eyeing Northern Rhone as benchmark
If you are prepared to chuck some oysters or dish out a seafood platter, the following wines with good acidity and minerality will cut through the briny flavors. Take your pick from:
Pra Soave Otto 2014, Veneto, Italy
Organic Garganega, according to the New York Times this one is “fresh, lively, delicious”. Parker 88 (’13)
Garganega from volcanic soils
Domaine Montanet Thoden Vezelay Galerne 2014, Burgundy, France
Unknown little neighbor of Chablis is organic and the best kept secret at Zachy’s New York
and a favorite in natural wine bars
Claude Riffault Sancerre Les Chasseignes 2014, Loire, France
A Sancerre from limestone soil is with “striking clarity, purity, and textural refinement” Robert Parker
organic Sauvignon Blanc from the great 2014 vintage
From the grill is beef, lamb, and sausages which all have smokey flavors and bit of fat. Here you should look for wines with a smoke character, dried herbs, or Provencal aromatics.
Kloof Street Rouge 2013, Swartland, South Africa
A Syrah-led bistro wine a la Côtes du Rhône. Vinous 89
Mullineux is winemaker of the year in 2011 and 2014
Collemattoni Rosso di Montalcino 2013, Tuscany, Italy
Full and fleshy (Decanter Magazine). Vinous 91 (’12)
rough but with real character
Jamsheed Harem La Syrah 2013, Victoria, Australia
Gary Mills is a self-taught genius who caresses plenty of earthy/meaty flavors from cool climate grapes. Parker 90+
whole bunch pressed
The traditionally lighter holiday roasts of turkey and ham are served with earthy vegetables and tangy jellies. Here fragrant reds that are not too rich fit the bill; wines that have good acidity to keep you wanting seconds.
Agostina Pavia Barbera Blina 2013, Piedmont, Italy
epitome of the bright acidity and berry flavor (K&L Wines)
tank aged, pure and vibrant
El Hombre Bala 2012, Madrid, Spain
Mountain Garnacha with the hedonistic and lush taste of cherries in liqueur. Parker 92p
Gredo outside Madrid enjoys the fame of late
Rene Bouvier Marsannay 1er Champ Salomon 2012, Burgundy , France
Deep black and red cherry bouquet. Revue du Vin de France 16.5
Less famous Marsannay over delivers