Don't stress over picking perfect holiday wines
Hosting holiday gatherings should be fun, both for the guests and the hosts. Serving fun wines helps set just the right tone. Stick with easy drinking, reasonably priced wines. Crisp, aromatic whites, refreshing rosés and fruity reds will work nicely.
Just make sure the wines are neither boring nor low quality. With just a little extra effort, you can buy well made, intriguing holiday party wines.
Most importantly, don't wait for the last minute to buy. Shop as soon as possible. Don't find yourself picking over depleted inventories and then standing in long lines to pay. That's certainly not fun.
White and rosé wines
• 2015 Boutari, Kretikos, I.G.P. Crete, Greece (PLCB Code: 99295; $14.99): This delicious, fruity wine comes from the Greek island of Crete. Archeological records show winemaking on the island dating back to at least 1,600 B.C. This wine uses the indigenous Vilana grape for a bright yellow color offering ripe citrus and light herbal notes. It finishes fruity, yet refreshingly crisp and dry. Pair it with goat and sheep cheeses. Only 11% alcohol by volume. Recommended
• 2016 Trivento, Torrontés Reserve, Argentina (PLCB Code: 4382; $11.99): This crisp, little wine comes from Torrontés grapes grown at high altitudes against the dramatic, beautiful backdrop of the Andes Mountains. In the glass, enticing white flower aromas greet the nose and lead to crisp grapefruit and ripe pear and peach flavors. Ample acidity and a touch of creaminess provide nifty balance through the fruity but dry finish. Recommended
• 2016 Dominio de Punctum, Lobetia Rosado, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla, Spain (1569; $9.99). The Fernández family grows Garnacha grapes in a “traditional” organic method, free from synthetic chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. The resulting salmon-pink colored wine delivers a tasty balance of refreshing crispness and ripe red fruit. Recommended
•2016 Marcel Lapierre, “Raisins Gaulois” Vin de France, France (Luxury 47952; $15.99). The late Marcel Lapierre led a quality revolution in Beaujolais. He abandoned synthetic chemical treatments in the vineyards, and then, after harvest, used only ripe and undamaged fruit without adding sugar and sulfur. He let native yeasts ferment whole grape clusters slowly to frame natural fruitiness and concentration. Now Lapierre's son and daughter, Mathieu and Camille, carry on the spirit while maintaining Marcel's sense of fun as shown in this tasty red wine. Bright raspberry fruit and blueberry aromas open to juicy, pure flavors with terrific freshness. The wine makes a terrific pairing with spicy Sichuan dishes. Highly recommended
• 2015 Domaine du Joncier, “L'O de Joncier,” Côtes du Rhône, France (Luxury 44881; $14.99). Winegrower Marine Roussel farms her stony, sun-drenched vineyards in the southern Rhône with organic and biodynamic methods. The organic approach enlivens the soils with teeming organisms while biodynamics' natural composts and other applications strengthens the vines naturally. Roussel also maintains low yields from the vines and then takes a restrained hand in the winery. It adds up to delicious, pure wines delivering sheer drinking pleasure. For instance, this wine of Grenache and a daub of Cinsualt offers enticing dark fruit and light herbal aromas. Ripe dark fruit flavors with rich concentration balance with fresh acidity and mineral notes. Highly recommended