Every December we ask some of our longtime partners in the hospitality industry for wines, spirits and champagnes they would recommend for holiday meals, parties and as gifts. You could say this annual exercise has become one of our rich traditions at the magazine.
So, just in time for the festivities, hear our local experts offer their best picks — and get ready to spread some seasonal cheer!
For Holiday Parties or Gifts:
Scott Biggs – Tim’s Liquors and Wine & Spirit Company of Greenville
Huge Capet, the King of France in the year 987 started putting Champagne on display during celebrations. The rest, you can say, is history. But nothing says celebrations like a beautiful glass of bubbles. Betrand-Delespierre “Enfant de Montagne” Brut 1er Cru ($44.99) is ripe, showing notes of spice baked apples, complex lemony citrus with a light toastiness. Grab a bottle and party like it’s 987.
Jeff Kreston – Kreston Wine & Spirits
Wilderness Trail is a major up-and-coming player in the bourbon world of Kentucky. This Kreston’s Wilderness Trail Single Barrel ($54.88) is our second barrel with them, and we chose to do the Generation Label on it featuring all four generations of Kreston Wine & Spirits. Bourbon is all about tradition — and as this batch balances a touch of pepper with sweeter notes of honey, caramel and dark chocolate — we think it’s the perfect gift for the bourbon lover who enjoys finding a bottle or two under the Christmas tree!
For Holiday Meals:
Linda Collier – Collier’s of Centerville
Make your holiday feast memorable by having lots of lovely glasses on the table and many beautiful wines for your day. Start with a magnum of Jacquesson Champagne ($229) to greet your guests. Start your meal with Chateau d’Epire Savennieres ($38), a chenin blanc from Loire to pair with your appetizers, then Dom Gachot-Monot Cote de Nuits-Villages ($39), a beautiful red Burgundy to showcase your turkey or duck. Serve a Terrassous 6-year-old Rivesaltes ($23) to finish by itself or with a slice of pecan pie.
John Murray – State Line Liquors
Clendenen Family Mondeuse Rose 2020 ($19.99) is a great match for appetizers. This unusual wine comes from the late, great Jim Clendenen, the mind behind Au Bon Climat.
Delicate aromas of ripe wild strawberries and watermelon makes this so drinkable. In addition, the Once & Future Mataro Oakley Road Vineyard 2018 pairs well with any meat you serve.
Joel Peterson, of Ravenswood fame, has never stopped investing in old vineyards. This Mataro (Mourvedre ) is grown on 118-year-old vines greatly influenced by the cool maritime winds of the Carquinez Straights. Rich ripe cherries blend with vanilla and caramel adds depth to the flavors of this wine.