Which wine categories are perennial crowd pleasers and which others are becoming favorites for the upcoming Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve day? Here are some of the wine categories that wine bloggers, critics and sommeliers are choosing this holiday season.
Category #1: Riesling
A number of top sommeliers are recommending Rieslings for the holidays. For example, Katie Spigner of The Catbird Seat in Nashville recommends the Dr. Von Bassermann-Jordan Trocken Riesling from Pfalz, Germany. At just $17, it’s an affordable, versatile Riesling that you can take anywhere, mostly because it will pair with both heavier and lighter dishes.
And just because many of the best Rieslings are from Germany doesn’t mean that the U.S. doesn’t offer a number of top wines in this category. One Riesling selected by Gayot.com as one of the best wines for the holidays is Brooks Winery Tethys Riesling from the Williamette Valley, Oregon. It’s pure “liquid gold” that’s both rich and fruity.
Category #2: Wines from Sicily
When you think of Italian wines, you probably don’t think of Sicily. But the wine-growing region near Mt. Etna now produces some stellar wines. According to Jack Mason, sommelier at Marta in New York City, one Sicilian wine worth trying for the holidays is the 2012 Sciaranuova from Passopisciario. At $60, the wine is similar to a premier cru red Burgundy at a slightly more affordable price. Plus, there’s a great story behind the wine – it’s grown at a height of over 850 meters from 80-year-old vines.
Category #3: Sparkling Rose
There’s something festive about the holiday season that seems to require a bottle of sparkling wine – but it doesn’t have to be champagne or a traditional bubbly. In its list of the “Top 10 Holiday Wines,” Gayot.com recommends something completely off the grid – a Taltarni 2011 Tache from Australia. The wine itself is a unique mix of 53 percent Chardonnay, 44 percent Pinot Noir and 3 percent Pinot Meunier. The result is pure heaven – a “balanced, creamy mixture” that will surprise a lot of people.
Category #4: Exclusive California Chardonnay
Yes, Chardonnay is the safe choice. But there’s a way to bring an interesting bottle to your next holiday party – bring an exclusive Chardonnay from one of California’s famed vineyards. According to Jason Smith, sommelier at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, one solid choice is the Hirsch Vineyards Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast. Hirsch Vineyards is better known for its Pinot Noir, and this is actually a micro production Chardonnay. It’s rich, and also very complex, making it a favorite for all wine lovers.
You can’t go wrong with any of these wines. They are in hot, new categories, and have the potential to become long-time favorites for consumers. These wines have a lot to offer for the discerning consumer to bring to the holiday party.
As a distributor or retailer, which of these wine categories are you stocking up on?
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