Wine of the Week: Wines for the 2019 holiday season

Hopefully, most of your holiday 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. In addition, 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, particularly 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 made from 100% 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 vinicultural pioneer in the region. Albrecht’s goal is to always respect both the grapes and nature. The Non-vintage Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé displays flavors of strawberry and wild cherry fruit, with a touch of richness on the middle palate. It is balanced, with a dry, crisp acidity and complemented with a creamy texture and long finish. $15

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A bottle of Sauvignon Blanc 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 northeast Italy, or you just want the perfect wine to complement your Feast of the Seven Fishes, or you just want to get a taste of the Friuli Venezia region, then indulge yourself — and your friends — with a glass of 2018 Tenuta Ca’ Bolani Sauvignon Blanc. It’s from the Friuli-Venezia region of Italy, the country’s premier site for Sauvignon Blanc, with its sweeping views of the Adriatic Sea, spectacular Eastern Dolomite snow-capped peaks, and immaculate medieval towns. This pale straw-yellow wine features scents that boasts hints of grapefruit skin, white flowers and kiwi. It is dry and fresh with attractive fruit-forward flavors of grapefruit, tropical fruit and nectarine. The slatey mineral notes combine with abundant acidity to carry the fruits across the entire palate, gliding into a crisp and balanced finish with a lean mineral edge. $14

If you want people to think you spent more on a bottle of wine than you actually did, then bring a bottle of 2018 Clarendelle Bordeaux, from one of the most famous wine producers in France. This wine, inspired by Domaine Clarence Dillon, owner of Château Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut-Brion, is a true testament to Dillon’s dedication to quality and elegance. Produced and aged by the same oenologists, Clarendelle Bordeaux is an affordable alternative to the ultra-expensive Chateaux. It is a skillful blend of three traditional Bordeaux grape varieties — Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc — and is the perfect wine to present as a gift or keep for yourself. The wine has a beautiful deep garnet color and features a delicate bouquet of black licorice and blackcurrant. The palate has style and elegance, and exudes a base of dark plum, black cherry and black currant fruit melded together with racy acidity and fine minerality. The mouthfeel is velvety, yet firm tannins provide grip and depth on the finish. $19

If you’re looking for a splurge this holiday season — and who isn’t — here’s a wine I’d be happy to get in my stocking. The 2017 La Font du Loup Châteauneuf-du-Pape, from the southern Rhone region of France, is one of my favorites. It’s grown on the north-facing slopes of La Crau, where sandy soils and the howling Mistral winds produce fruit that shows off the more savory components of the wine. The average vine is more than 50 years old, so the predominantly Grenache-based wine shines with concentration and elegance in the glass. Notes of cassis, blackberry, cedar, tobacco and black pepper all come together on the full-bodied frame in complete harmony from start to finish. I hesitate to write about this wine for fear it will soon be discovered and there will be none left for me! $60

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