Case of 6 bottles.
Pairing wine with a the traditional holiday meal can be a challenge. It's not easy to find just one, or even two wines, that can carry through the whole feast. There's usually a variety of different foods, flavours, and textures associated with meals over the holidays.
It's also a time to join together with family and friends, so choosing the wine shouldn't be stressful. Having a variety of wines on hand, provides many options from which to choose. And if you aren't hosting yourself, but have been invited over to someone's house for dinner or a drink, any one of these wines would a good choice to take with you.
To help out, we've put together a mixed case of six wines - one rosé, two white wines, and three red wines - that we feel fall into the lighter and livelier category, plus a little power just in case it's needed. Just the right level of boldness, tannin, acidity, and earthiness to neither overpower, or by overpowered by the meal. And like all our mixed cases, they are all well-made wines, made by real people, that are sure to impress.
If you like them, or want to stock up on a particular wine that sounds interesting, they are also available to purchase by-the-case through this Web site.
Wine #1 Bidaia, 2021 Txakolina Rosé, (Basque Country, Spain)
Rosé is almost the perfect wine for the holidays. It works as an aperitif before the meal, is light and fruity enough to accentuate the fruitier elements of the meal (eg cranberry sauce) and has the right amount of acidity to cut through many of the richer elements, like sweet potato or gravy. Sort of like a palate cleanser with every sip.
This rare Basque rosé is made from a 50-50 blend of Hondarribi Zuri and Hondarribi Beltza (the red Txakoli) grapes, hand-picked from Pergola-trained vines, grown on hillside slopes at an altitude of about 350 metres, about 8km from the Cantabrian Sea.
The grapes receive a brief maceration with the skins, then transferred to temperature-controlled, stainless-steel tanks to cold decant for 24-30 hours. Fermentation lasts ~10-12 days and the juice remains on the lees for about six weeks. Alc./vol.: 10.5%. Almost bone dry with residual sugar ~5 gr/L.
Tasting note: Bright pink colour. Aromas and flavours of fresh strawberry and cranberry, with slight herbal/floral notes. Light-bodied, dry, crisp, with a good balance between the fruit and the acidity. Slight mineral zippiness, which almost gives the impression of being a light, sparkling wine. Very refreshing.
Wine #2 Borgo Molino, 2021 Sauvignon Blanc Ciara Igt, (Veneto, Italy)
Sauvignon Blanc is naturally aromatic - bold some say - has ample acidity, and from cooler regions it offers up more herbaceous notes. So it will boldly hold its place at the holiday dinner table, with the right amount of acidity to cut through all the richer elements of the meal, all the while complementing the earthy/herbal notes in the stuffing and accompanying vegetables.
Ciara is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes, harvested from low-yield vineyards in Frìuli Venzia Giulia in northeast Italy. Following destemming and soft crushing, fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled, stainless-steel tanks. The wine is aged in stainless-steel tanks for a few months, on the fine lees, with frequent lees stirring to add it little more richness to the final wine 12.5% alc./vol.. Dry with residual sugar ~6 gr./L.
Our tasting note: Pale, straw-yellow colour, with greenish hints. Intense - classic Sauvignon Blanc nose - tropical aromas and flavours (lime, papaya and passion fruit), orange and grapefruit citrus, with herbal/green pepper notes. Dry, balanced, with mineral notes and ample acidity, and a long, clean finish.
Additional food pairings: If you are preparing fish dishes or pierogies for Christmas Eve, this wine is a good choice.
Wine #3 Bodegas Valdesil, 2020 Valdesil Sobre Lias (Valdeorras, Spain)
While Chardonnay is a common dinner choice, we recommend avoiding white wines that have been aged in oak as they are usually too buttery and don't have enough acidity to cut through the weight of the meal (Chardonnay is typically a low acid grape). But if it's more weight - how the wine feels in your mouth - that you are looking for, this wine is just the ticket.
Made from a careful selection of 100% Godello grapes, from vines with a minimum 35 years of age, grown on hillside slopes in north-west Spain, in slate-rich soil, at an altitude of 500 metres above sea level. The slate soils contribute a distinctive mineral character to the wine, and the higher altitude maintains the wines' natural acidity.
Vinification is by plot, to reflect the different expressions of the vineyards. The wine is fermented (with natural yeasts) in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, and kept on the lees (this is what "sobre lias" means), with regular stirring, for just over 6 months. No malolactic fermentation, and fined with agents of mineral origin.
Our tasting note: Bright pale-yellow colour; rich aromas and flavours of warm lime citrus, green apple, tangerine, almonds, and honey, with mineral/floral notes. Dry and medium-bodied, with balancing acidity and a lingering, silky finish.
Wine #4 Degani, 2020 Valpolicella Classico DOC (Veneto, Italy)
As we move to the reds - and yes turkey can be paired with red wine - the key things to keep in mind are fruit flavours, lower tannin, and moderate acidity. With just the right amount of boldness to keep from being overpowered by the meal.
The first selection is Valpolicella, a red wine that has not been aged in oak, that offers up bright red fruit flavours that mimic the tartness of cranberry sauce, moderate acidity to cut through the richer elements, and the finesse to complement the textures of the meal. And besides, a glass of Valpolicella is nice at any time.
This wine is made from a blend of three grapes – Corvina (45%), Corvinone (20%), and Rondinella (35%) – from Degani’s own vineyards in the Veneto, just north of Verona. Corvinone is known for contributing finesse and balance to the wine; Corvina contributes the wine's characteristic fruit aromas and flavours; while Rondinella contributes volume.
After a 15-day, cool maceration to extract colour and bright fruit flavours and aromas, the wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel and lined cement tanks to retain freshness.
Tasting Note: Bright ruby colour. Fresh and drinkable, this wine has deep aromas of juicy cherries and plums. Medium-bodied, tasty acidity, and well balanced on the finish.
Wine #5 Bodegas Tajinaste, 2020 Tinto Tradicional (Canary islands, Spain)
Before you think it's odd for us to recommend a wine from the Canary Islands for the holidays, hear us out. Tinto - or Taj Tinto as we call it - hits all the key points and might be the best choice of all. It presents ripe, red fruit aromas, offers up smoky/spicy flavours, follows with balancing acidity and medium tannins, and finishes with just the right weight one expects from a red wine. It will complement almost all aspects of the meal with the right amount of acidity to cut through the richer elements.
It's made from 100% Listán negro (pronounced lee-STAN neh-gro) grown on hillside - actually volcano-side to be exact - vineyards at a height of 600 metres above sea level. These are old vines and the grapes are hand harvested at ideal ripeness. The grapes are cold macerated for four days prior to fermentation, and both alcoholic and malolactic fermentations take place in stainless steel tanks. About a third of the wine is aged for two months in American oak barrels - this is one place where the spiciness comes from. Alc./vol. 13%
Our Tasting Note: Bright cherry colour, with violet hues. Highly aromatic, reminiscent of fresh fruits - blueberry, cherry, and plum - with peppery/smoky/mineral notes. Smooth, with balancing acidity, medium tannins, dry, and a clean finish.
Wine #6 Fattoria La Lecciaia, 2016 Sassarello Igt (Tuscany, Italy)
Hopefully we haven't oversold Taj Tinto, as we have another wine to include in the case. Probably also one of the best value wines in our portfolio, and if have someone coming to dinner who only drinks "big" wines, Sassarello is a wine you can confidently offer up.
From estate vineyards in Montalcino, this "Super-Tuscan" blend is 50% Sangiovese, and equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The Sangiovese was aged in traditional large oak barrels, like Brunello, while the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot matured in smaller French oak barrique. The ageing wines spent just approximately one year in barrel, before blending, and then a further six months in bottle before release.
In case you are wondering, “Sasso” means stone in Italian, and Sassarello refers to the small stones found in the Montalcino vineyards. Wild boar can also be found roaming around the Tuscan vineyards, which coincidently is another good pairing suggestion.
Our Tasting Note: Medium-deep red colour with slight garnet tinges. Earthy aromas of dark cherry, plum, cocoa, and cedar/sandalwood notes. So the aromas and flavours will complement both the fruitier and savoury/earthy aspects of the meal.
Medium-bodied, round on the palate, with good acidity and fine tannins and a relatively long finish. So it is a fuller bodied red than the other two recommendations, but not overly oaked as to distract from the meal. And the higher acid Sangiovese in the blend keeps the other grapes in check, and will help cut through the richer aspects of the meal.
And if you weren't going with the traditional menu this year, and decide to grill up some steaks instead, you won't be disappointed with Sassarello. And you want to save Sassarello for a diferent occasion, you can put this bottle away in your cellar and bring it out another time.