White, red or sparkling, the holidays are a great time for wine

Wine is a sure sign of the holidays with sparkling wine, mulled wine, party wine, gift wine and an excuse to splurge with that special wine for your table. If you need help with your shopping list, do yourself a favor and consult the pro at your local wine merchant.

Our house’s wishlist is based on old favorites and new favorites. Santa, please feel free to connect Myra and I with any of the following.

2020 La Crema Sauvignon Blanc. Probably best known for its chardonnay, La Crema Sauvignon Blanc is also a star with aromas of tropical fruit followed by delicious crisp acidity and a long finish. $ 21

Sanford Winery and Vineyards was catapulted into fame with the delicious 2004 wine love / comedy film, “Sideways”. The Sanford Estate in the Santa Rita Hills had already grown in importance with their elegance Chardonnay Sanford 2019, $ 40 and Pinot Noir Sanford 2019, $ 45.

Frank Family Vineyards, located in historic Calistoga, has built an impressive reputation in Napa and beyond for its rich and expressive grape varieties: 2019 Frank Family Carneros Chardonnay, $ 38, 2019 Frank Family Carneros Pinot Noir, $ 38, 2018 Frank Family Napa Valley Zinfandel, $ 38.

McPrice Myers Wines is based in Paso Robles. McPrice (Mac) Myers has worked his magic for 20 years to produce wines that reflect the uniqueness of the central California coast. To try 2020 McPrice Myers Belle Terre White Mix, $ 30 and 2019 McPrice Myers Beautiful Earth Blended Red, $ 40.

2017 Vanderpump Cabernet Sauvignon has a deep color and flavor that sets this luxurious Sonoma cabin apart. This is another great value from Vanderpump’s awesome wallet for $ 27.

2016 Château Magnol Haut-Médoc Cru Bourgeois is a 100% Bordeaux Merlot and is accessible, affordable and a good representative of this world famous wine region, $ 30.

It’s the sparkling time of the year

If a wine defines the season, it must be sparkling in one of its many incarnations: Champagne, Crémant, Prosecco, Spumante, Cava, Sekt, all technically sparkling wines. Sparklers can be red, pink or white and range from dry bone to sweet sugar.

Don’t be intimidated by the bubbly jargon. It’s pretty simple: Dry refers to the lack of sweetness in a wine. But there are a number of terms that define how dry a wine is. Natural / extra brut is dry. The crude is dry. Extra dry is slightly sweeter than raw (confusing, I know, it’s a French thing). Sec is noticeably sweet, and demi-sec is sweet. Rough is the most popular style, followed by very dry.

Another useful language on sparkling wine: Blanc de Blancs is a sparkling wine made entirely from white grapes, usually Chardonnay. Blanc de Noir is made entirely from red grapes, generally Pinot Noir. The Vintage comes entirely from a year of (exceptional) harvest (rarer / more expensive.) The Non Vintage (NV) is a blend of several vintages, which is the vast majority of bubbles.

Four to try

Domaine Bousquet Brut Rose (NV)-organic; quality / value from the best Argentinian producer, $ 13

Graham Beck Blanc de Blanc (NV)– delicious South African sparkler, $ 20

Champagne Ayala Brut Majeur (NV)—Fresh and lively blend of Champagne grapes, $ 55

Champagne Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut (NV)– Classic Champagne, which is affectionately known as “Bolly” in the UK, $ 79.

Steve Prati, Franklin-based wine consultant, www.steveswinecellar.com

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