Wine of the Week: Wines for the holiday season

WASHINGTON — Judging from the news about record-breaking online sales and Black Friday doorbusters, it appears that the holiday season is in full swing.

Hopefully, most of your shopping and schlepping is just about done. Now it’s time to concentrate on one last detail: the wine.

Whether you celebrate with carols, candles or caviar, a great bottle of wine shared with friends and loved ones can be a memorable experience. And if you’re hosting a holiday party, or have been invited to one, you’ll want to provide a wine that will be delicious, impressive, easy to find and reasonably priced — especially if you are picking up several bottles.

Here are a few suggestions that run the gamut from affordable to splurge-o-licious.

’Tis the season of sparkling, and nothing is as festive as a glass of pink bubbly to start up any holiday party. This year, opt for elegance and affordability with a sparkling Rosé Crémant D’Alsace. Hailing from the northeastern French region of Alsace, Crémant d’Alsace Rosés are always made from 100 percent Pinot Noir in the traditional method. Generally found under $25, these salmon-hued sparklers offer generous red berry fruit and a fine effervescence, and are perfect for pairing with many dishes or simply toasting to the New Year. Lucien Albrecht is one of the most distinguished and long-standing brands in Alsace. The estate was established in 1425 by Romanus Albrecht, who was considered a viticultural pioneer in the region. Albrecht’s goal is to always respect both the grapes and nature. The Nonvintage Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé displays flavors of strawberry and wild cherry fruit, with a touch of richness on the mid palate. It is balanced with dry, crisp acidity and complimented with a creamy texture and long finish. $22

A bottle of pinot grigio is the ideal wine to have on hand, bring as a hostess gift, or share with friends and family during the holidays. It pairs well with delicious hors d’oeuvres or holiday fish dishes.  If your holiday travel doesn’t include a trip to Northern Italy and you just want the perfect wine to complement your Feast of the Seven Fishes — or get a taste of the region’s saw-toothed ridges, snow-capped peaks, alpine meadows, glittering waterfalls and immaculate medieval towns — then indulge yourself with a glass of the award-winning 2014 Luna Nuda Pinot Grigio from Alto Adige, the country’s premier site for pinot grigio. Scents of lovely white fruit, honeydew melon and citrus peel are at the top of the fragrant bouquet. Flavors of pear, juicy apple, kiwi and slatey mineral combine with abundant acidity across the entire palate, gliding into a crisp and balanced finish with a lean mineral edge. $15

If you want people to think you spent more on a bottle of wine than you actually did, open up a bottle of 2014 Olema Pinot Noir from Sonoma County, California. Olema is produced by Napa Valley’s Amici Cellars and features the fresh, vibrant flavors and excellent values found in Sonoma’s vineyards. The name Olema, which means “coyote” in Miwok, honors the Coast Miwok Native Americans who lived along the Sonoma Coast and in northern Marin County. This Pinot Noir wine is a blend of grapes from premier vineyards in Russian River Valley (50 percent), Sonoma Coast (25 percent) and Sonoma County (25 percent) and is aged in 35 percent-new French oak barrels for 12 months. The wine features the classic Russian River Valley characteristics of perfumed aromas of cranberry and cherry jam and charming flavors of wild strawberries, ripe red cherries and raspberries. Notes of dried spices and black tea join in on the smooth, balanced finish thanks to the soft, ripe tannins. $20

You don’t need to spend a fortune to splurge. The 2012 Les Cadrans de Lassègue from Château Lassègue in the Saint-Émilion appellation in Bordeaux is produced by renowned winemaker Pierre Seillan — best known for his thirteen 100-point scores from the Wine Advocate and Wine Enthusiast for his Sonoma-based wine, Vérité — this wine is the “second label” of Pierre’s Château Lassègue. But there is nothing second best about this blend of 90 percent merlot, 7 percent Cabernet Franc and 3 percent cabernet sauvignon. It is aged for 10 months in 20 percent-new French oak. According to Pierre, Les Cadrans is a new style for the estate — a little less traditional with a stronger effort on the fruit. “It is a wine to be appreciated at a younger age than Lassègue acting as a ‘welcome’ … Les Cadrans is an introduction to the symphony between merlot and Cabernet Franc from our limestone soils.” It features a solid core of dark plum and blackberry fruit on the front of the palate, backed by subtle toasted oak that highlight tobacco and earthy notes on the finish. $35

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