The holidays call for the perfect wines. Here they are.
I LOVE SHARING wine — not only with you, my readers, but also with family and friends. Wine tends to be an extension of my personality, so sharing favorite bottles comes rather naturally.
There is no better time to share wines than during the holidays. If you are playing host to a holiday dinner or party, you will be in a great position to share your passion for wine — either in large amounts or perhaps as a hostess gift.
I’ve put together three cases of wine — one for each of the upcoming major holidays. These were carefully selected to work well in each situation.
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Thanksgiving is undoubtedly the trickiest of the three big holidays, primarily because there are so many aromas and flavors bombarding your taste buds. My solution is to provide several bottles of wine, which supplies my guests with a few favorites to find and savor.
Westport Winery NV Rapture of the Deep, Washington, $28: This sparkling wine is made from cranberries grown on Washington’s “Cranberry Coast.” This is the perfect Thanksgiving wine, thanks to its purity of fruit and how amazingly well it pairs with just about everything on the Thanksgiving table.
Browne Family Vineyards 2015 grenache rosé, Columbia Valley, $18: Rosé is perfect for Thanksgiving, primarily because of its flexibility with food pairings. This comes from a Walla Walla producer and should be a stunning choice for the holiday meal.
Argyle Winery 2012 vintage brut, Willamette Valley, $28: Sparkling wine is not only celebratory but also a great food-pairing wine. Start every holiday meal with a bottle of bubbly to celebrate those with whom you’re sharing your bounty.
Archery Summit 2013 Red Hills Estate pinot noir, Dundee Hills, $85: Pinot noir is the perfect Thanksgiving wine, thanks to the red wine’s ability to pair with roasted meats. This is one of the best pinot noirs in the Northwest and will be viewed as a special bottle on your table.
Barnard Griffin 2014 chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $14: Chardonnay is a favorite white wine with just about everybody, and this example is not only affordable but also delicious.
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2014 sauvignon blanc, Columbia Valley, $11: I love sauvignon blanc for its acidity, and that brightness is what makes it work so well with the cacophony of dishes before you at Thanksgiving.
Daven Lore Winery 2013 tempranillo, Snipes Mountain, $29: This Spanish red is quickly becoming a favorite in the Northwest, and it should work well on your Thanksgiving table. It’s a bright red with ample acidity and rich tannins with a wild streak through the palate.
Elk Cove Vineyards 2014 pinot noir, Willamette Valley, $29: Here’s another choice for a delicious Oregon pinot noir, this one nicely priced and from one of the Northwest’s oldest producers.
Lauren Ashton Cellars 2012 Proprietor’s Cuvée red wine, Columbia Valley, $65: I don’t generally recommend cab-based wines for Thanksgiving, but this is a pretty special bottle. It might not pair well with turkey, but it should impress your father-in-law.
Mercer Estates Winery 2015 Spice Cabinet Vineyard Rosé, Horse Heaven Hills, $15: Another grenache rosé to consider for your holiday table, this was among the best pink wines I tried in 2016.
Mount Hood Winery 2014 estate pinot noir, Columbia Gorge, $28: One of the greatest pinot noirs in the entire Northwest comes from this little winery in Hood River, Ore. I cannot imagine a better wine to share for Thanksgiving.
Walla Walla Vintners 2014 Dwelley Vineyard dolcetto, Walla Walla Valley, $24: This Italian grape is rather rare in the Pacific Northwest, and this is a great example from one of Washington’s best producers. This will not only go well with your Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s also a conversation starter.
Pirouette 2013 red wine, Columbia Valley, $60: This cab-based blend from Long Shadows is going to be perfect with your centerpiece Christmas dish — as long as it’s beef-based. So if you’re planning on prime rib, this is a perfect accompaniment.
Amelia Wynn 2013 petit verdot, Columbia Valley, $32: This wine comes from a Bainbridge Island producer and is among the best examples of this Bordeaux variety that you’ll find in the Northwest. It’s a big, firm wine.
Avennia 2014 Oliane sauvignon blanc, Yakima Valley, $28: This sauv blanc from a top Woodinville producer is great to pair with your Christmas dinner, thanks to the bright flavors and perfect acidity.
Barrister Winery 2013 Seven Hills Vineyard cabernet sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $37: One of the best cabs you’ll find in the Northwest comes from this Spokane producer. It’s a perfect centerpiece wine.
Cave B Estate Winery 2012 XXVII cabernet sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $48: It’s difficult to miss with cab for Christmas dinner, and this wine from a George, Wash., producer is close to a can’t-miss choice.
Five Star Cellars 2012 merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $34: Five Star is a longtime Walla Walla producer that focuses on reds, and this merlot is among the best in Washington. Pair with braised or roasted meat dishes.
Kontos Cellars 2013 Les Collines Vineyard syrah, Walla Walla Valley, $40: Syrah from Washington is easy to love, and this example from Walla Walla is among the best. It’s quite food-friendly.
L’Ecole No. 41 2013 Seven Hills Vineyard cabernet franc, Walla Walla Valley, $36: Cab franc is like cab’s little brother — occasionally more complex and typically more approachable. This example checks both of those boxes.
Maryhill Winery 2013 Art den Hoed Vineyard petite sirah, Columbia Valley, $32: I love petite sirah for its firm tannins and assertive nature. You won’t find too many better versions than this wine from Maryhill.
Smasne Cellars 2012 Upland Vineyard Old Vine cabernet sauvignon, Snipes Mountain, $50: Want a wine that stands out on the Christmas table? This rough-and-tumble wine from Smasne in Prosser fits the bill.
Woodward Canyon 2013 Old Vines cabernet sauvignon, Washington, $99: The perfect prime-rib red is this cab from one of Washington’s best producers. It’s easy to imagine this with prime rib smothered in mushroom gravy.
Pacific Rim Winemakers 2014 Vin de Glaciere riesling, Horse Heaven Hills, $14: End your holiday meal in style with this dessert wine. It should pair well with fresh fruits, cheeses or pumpkin pie.
New Year’s Eve parties are tough on wine pairings because so much is going on. Load your table with some favorites to enjoy while the ball drops on 2016.
Longship Cellars 2013 Ginger Man syrah, Walla Walla Valley, $26: Syrah is easy to like, and this example from a new Kennewick producer will bring smiles with every sip.
Saggi 2013 red wine, Columbia Valley, $45: Similar in style to a Super Tuscan red, this could well be the star of your party once your guests get a taste of this sangiovese-based blend.
Treveri Cellars NV blanc de noirs, Columbia Valley, $20: This dry sparkling wine from one of Washington’s best bubble producers is a great way to toast in 2017. It’s loaded with great flavors and will pair well with seafood.
Buried Cane 2014 cabernet sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $16: It’s good to have a great-tasting and affordable red on the table for your guests. This hits the pleasure points while also being easy on the wallet.
Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2014 Umiker Vineyard Estate syrah, Lewis-Clark Valley, $28: One of the best syrahs in the Northwest is coming from our region’s newest federally recognized winemaking area. This won’t be easy to track down, but it is worth finding.
Diversion Wine 2014 cabernet sauvignon, Washington, $15: Having a lot of people over for a party? This is a great-tasting cab that tastes twice as expensive as it is.
Lone Birch Winery 2015 rosé, Yakima Valley, $12: Dry rosés are crowd-pleasers, and this pink wine from Airfield Estates in Woodinville will pair with the appetizer-based foods typical of New Year’s Eve parties.
Ryan Patrick 2014 Naked chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $12: Chardonnay is America’s favorite wine, so make sure to have a couple of bottles on the table. This is a delicious, affordable and provocatively named example.
Van Duzer Vineyards 2015 rosé, Willamette Valley, $20: Made from pinot noir, this rosé is irresistible and will be perfect with everything from seafood to cold cuts.
Woodward Canyon 2014 chardonnay, Washington, $44: Perhaps the best chardonnay in Washington. If you pull out this bottle for your guests, they will immediately know you think well of them.
Aluvé 2012 Primo Volo, Walla Walla Valley, $48: Here’s a cab-based blend from a young Walla Walla producer that will pair beautifully with cold cuts and smoked meats you might serve at your New Year’s Eve party.
Columbia Crest 2012 Reserve malbec, Horse Heaven Hills, $35: Want to get a sense for the future of Washington malbec? Try this example by an Argentina native and one of Washington’s most exciting producers.