Halloween is over—and now the real fright begins.
The holiday shopping season is here, at least according to retailers and anyone who likes to plan their shopping early and/or likes to take to take advantage of blockbuster deals, many of which start today. (In this digital day and age, if you’re waiting until the day after Thanksgiving, you’re doing it wrong.)
However, not everyone has time to shop around or look for the newest items on the market that could appeal to the people on their gift lists (or for themselves, because let’s be honest, we look at holiday gift guides and deals for ourselves just as much for others). There is no shame or lump of coal in that, so here is a list of suggestions for the oenophiles.
Mionetto: Mionetto’s Prosecco DOC Treviso Brut is a classic go-to choice for a simple sparkling wine that is great for pouring at parties or with your brunch cocktails, thanks to the budget-friendly price but the always-reliable taste. (You can also get a stocking stuffer version, starting at $4 for a mini bottle.) Rosé lovers can opt for Mionetto Prestige Rosé. Easily identifiable with its peach blossom hue, Mionetto suggests pairing the rosé with standard holiday fare, such as grilled turkey breast or fish (or a variety of fish on the Feast of Seven Fishes). SRP: $14.
Champagne Palmer: Higher up on the spectrum for those who want to go for the real deal, Palmer & Co. touts itself as one of the only French Champagne houses to employ a democratic method of selecting the final blend for each Champagne. Three women and two men, including the Chef de Cave, make the blending decisions together Boasting 415 hectares of vineyards across forty crus, over 50% are classified as Premier and Grand Cru, which the house says is 20% more than the average Champagne house. Additionally, the wines are aged on the lees well beyond the time required by law, and Palmer & Co. is one of the few houses to focus on large format bottlings, including producing the extremely rare 15-liter Nebuchadnezzar. SRP: A standard 750-milliliter bottle of the Brut Reserve NV starts at $60, the Rosé Reserve at $80, and the Blanc de Blancs NV retails for $85.
Ponzi Vineyards: Oregon’s Willamette Valley has become one of the U.S.’s most popular wine regions, often associated with Pinot Noir. But don’t overlook the Chardonnay here. Sisters sisters Maria and Luisa Ponzi are the second generation of winemakers in their family producing Chardonnay and Pinot Gris (and Pinot Noir, of course) from their Oregon estate. Developed based on Luisa’s experience while honing her skills in Burgundy, France, the 2014 Chardonnay Reserve offers a nose of orange zest, jasmine, figs, flan, quince, and maple with a flavor palate touting white chocolate, flan, and a vein of acidity. SRP: $39.99.
Ornellaia: A blend of Sauvignon Blanc (80%), Viognier (10%), and Vermentino (10%), the 2016 Poggio alle Gazze owes its white peach flavor and zesty style to the Italian estate’s coastal microclimate. Specifically, the cool sea winds from Italy’s west coast mixed with a longer ripening period are described to better balance to all components of the grapes—sugars, polyphenols, and aromatics—while maintaining a high level of acidity and structure. The result also sports notes of almond, white flower, and honey. SRP: $75.
emBRAZEN Wines: Much like books and their covers, you should never judge a wine bottle by its label. That said, wine labels are being increasingly more valued for marketing potential as well as the message they can send. Crafted by winemaker Olivia Teutschel, emBRAZEN is honoring trailblazing women of the past on its cutting-edge labels developed with augmented reality technology. Each woman’s story comes to life when holding a smartphone supporing the Living Wine Labels app over the labels. Among the women featured first are journalist Nellie Bly, singer Celia Cruz, and entertainer (and undercover spy) Josephine Baker on bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and a red blend, respectively. emBRAZEN is also celebrating its first line with a Take Up The Torch initiative that will grant one woman $25,000 in support of her cause. SRP: $15.99.
Grounded Wine Co.: Although this new brand was just launched in 2017, the self-described grassroots label already has a sizable portfolio of wines sourced from sustainable vineyards in California and Washington. Among them are “Space Age” ($20), a Paso Robles Grenache rosé; “Collusion” ($22) , a Washington Bordeaux blend; and “Steady State” ($65), a Napa Valley red wine. The most recent addition is the 2016 “Public Radio,” a Grenache-based red wine from West Paso Robles, Calif., comprised of 65% Grenache, 27% Syrah, and 9% Petite Sirah. According to winemaker and Napa native Josh Phelps, the “Public Radio builds off of the idea that wine should be open to interpretation, while maintaining a sense of quality and truthfulness.” SRP: $25.
Croft Pink Port: Boasted to be first ever pink Port, effectively establishing the category, the sweet beverage looks like a summer mixer at first blush. But really, it can serve you well in holiday cocktails when blended with sparkling water (or sparkling wine) among other spirits such as gin or brandy with a cinnamon stick garnish. Croft Pink is made during a cool, 7-day fermentation period in order to preserve the wine’s raspberry and cherry characteristics in order to produce a crisp and fruity flavor. SRP: $19.99.
Mezzacorona: In our humble opinion, moscato is perfect for the holiday season, especially as a light finish with all of those holiday sweets. (A slightly lower ABV at 11% also helps.) The Mezzacorona Moscato is an affordable dessert wine option, touted by its makers to be best served chilled alongside dried fruits and cakes. Sourced from a Mediterranean micro-climate near Lake Garda in Northern Italy, this moscato smells of Gardenia with flavor notes of passion fruit and sweet apricot. SRP: $9.99.