For a smashing holiday dinner with the family, here are a few things to help you ease into the mood or to get you through an arduous evening with that uncle you’ve not seen since 2010.
1. Square, Plumb & Level Pinot Noir (2017) Libra Vineyard, Williamette Valley, OR
This little gem of a wine is not what you’d expect from Willamette (rhymes with Dammit). But global warming and unique wine-making combine to make this wine sing—with lush dark plum fruit and whiffs of strawberries and lengthy spice in the mid-palate. Great with turkey, lamb, or a spicy vegetarian tofu stir-fry. It’s hard to beat for $24.99.
2. Cabernet Sauvignon (2018) Gabrielle Ashley, Alexander Valley, CA
This hot climate cabernet sauvignon is a massive fruit bomb. But in the best possible way. It has hints of chocolate, cassis, and dark roasted fruit. Don’t forget the oak. It’s what everyone is looking for when they are asking for the quintessential Cali Cab. This wine goes with a Christmas dinner of roasted goose, standing rib of beef, or any food that needs a big juicy, oaky wine. $19.99. Winner winner chicken dinner. Oh yeah that too.
3. Scout’s Honor Napa Valley Red Wine (2018) Venge Vinyards, Calistoga, CA
This monster of a wine is all Santa needs to warm his frozen tukas when he gets out of his sleigh. When people come in and ask for “The Prisoner” I hand them this and dare them to tell me the difference. The only difference is the price. At $36.99, it saves at least 10 or more dollars. This big layered wine has Zinfandel, Charbono, Petite Sirah, and Syrah in just the right blend to make you sing socially-distanced carols way off-key. Or when you’re assembling that easy bake oven at 2:30 in the morning wondering why it looks nothing like the picture. Just shoot me? No, have another glass of Scouts Honor. You will love it! Dare I say? Scouts Honor.
4. Gilgal Cabernet Sauvignon (2017) Golan Heights Winery, Israel
A fantastic kosher wine. Kosher wine-making in general has improved substantially in the years I have been in the wine business. This super smooth and ripe wine has a lush dark undertone of cooked blackberries and cocoa. But unlike so many wines this upfront and powerful, it has plenty of acidity to balance off the fruit. Wines without a proper acid balance have a tendency to taste flabby. Not this wine. $18.99 all day.
5. Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo (2017) Gianfranco Alessandria, Piedmont, Italy
This wine from the area near the Barolo region in Piedmont has bright ripe cherry and rose petal notes and is silkier than you’d expect in the finish. The tannins are present but drift off nicely. It’s a great wine to have all by itself or by yourself. But be careful as it goes down quickly and easily. You’ll need a bodyguard to protect you from yourself. It also pairs well with duck or pasta with red sauce because of the acidity. All this for $21.99.
Crack open any of these wines for a great time with or without food. You’ll be rewarded with every sip. Happy Hollandaise from your friends at The Grape D’Vine. Santa-Approved.
– Joe Printz Owner, Blurred Visionary, Recovering Chef The Grape D’Vine Wine & Spirits, 6 Depot Square Sparkill, NY