Every year, my family makes an enormous batch of lasagna on Christmas Eve. While this Italian holiday tradition makes for a delicious dining experience, sometimes, finding the perfect wine pairing can be a challenge. The layers of creamy ricotta, spicy sausage, acidic marinara, and buttery noodles have so many flavors that the lasagna tends to overpower all but a handful of wines. That’s why we usually go with a full-bodied, acidic wine like 2004 Vietti Barolo, which can pair well with just about any savory Christmas dish, from lasagna to prime rib. Whether you’re serving a holiday classic like Christmas ham or you’re cooking up something a little more exotic this year, the best wine for Christmas dinner usually falls in the category of acidic, full-bodied reds and whites. These varieties will enhance the food at your table and elevate the holiday experience for you and your guests.
One of the best Christmas gifts I ever received was a high-quality wine fridge that my parents filled to the brim with some of my favorite wines, including selections from Côtes du Rhône and a delicious bottle of 2005 Chevalier Père et Fils. It took me almost a year to get through all of the wonderful wines inside, but even after I opened my last gift bottle, that wine fridge remained an essential staple in my home. For the past six years, I’ve used it to store dozens and dozens of bottles, from wines for holiday celebrations to collectible Bordeaux.
Latkes and sour cream are a staple at my family’s dinner table as the first day of Hanukkah approaches. Recently, we’ve started giving each other Hanukkah wine gifts specifically designed to pair well with latkes, as well as all the other delicious fried foods on our plates. At first, we only served kosher wines or wines from Israel as a celebration of our family’s heritage. Today, we’ve expanded our Hanukkah wine gifts to include a wide range of varieties and regions, from white Burgundy to oaky California Chardonnay. Regardless of whether you stick with kosher wines or branch out, when it comes to giving wine for Hanukkah, it’s important to remember why we celebrate this holiday. As long as you buy wines that mean something to your gift recipient, you can enjoy just about any bottle with your family this year.
The Best 2006 Bordeaux Gifts: This Unusual, Breathtaking Vintage Will Impress Nearly Every Collector
In Bordeaux, there are vintages that seem destined for success from the start—and then there are the “sleeper vintages,” the wines that hide their true power for a decade or more. The 2006 Bordeaux vintage is one of these rare sleepers. While it was overshadowed by the legendary 2005 vintage in its youth, today, the best 2006 Bordeaux is rich, intensely concentrated, and an absolute joy to drink. These qualities, coupled with the wine’s potential for aging, make it the perfect gift for wine collectors on your holiday list this year. In order to take advantage of all that this vintage has to offer, you’ll need to consider which appellations had the most success, and choose the wines with the greatest potential for aging.
My friends know how much I love wine, which is why every year, I always end up with at least two or three wine gift baskets. But while some of these baskets are beautifully made and contain fascinating wines that I’ve never tried before, more often than not, they’re full of cheap California Cabernet or cloying Moscato. The problem with pre-made wine gift baskets is that they rarely offer the sort of unusual, interesting wines that connoisseurs enjoy. Gift basket wines also tend to be lower in value and are selected seemingly at random. One basket might contain Oregon Pinot Noir, German Riesling, and a super Tuscan from Italy all in the same gift, without rhyme or reason.
A few years ago, I found an incredible Cyber Monday wine deal on two mixed cases of superb California Cabernet from a variety of different wineries, including Robert Mondavi and Aubert—I simply couldn’t pass up this opportunity. However, by the time my wine haul arrived on my doorstep a few days later, I realized that I had made a major mistake: not only did I have very little space left in my cellar to store these cases, I also had no idea what to do with so much wine. While some of the bottles I bought could be stored long-term, a lot of them were meant to be drunk young. I ended up giving away most of the bottles to close friends and family.
Fewer than 1,200 people are going to receive a bottle of coveted Penfolds g3 this holiday season. This brand new, limited-edition wine is made from a blend of three different Grange vintages (the 2008, 2012, and 2014) that are among the best that Penfolds has ever produced. Because of its rarity and high quality, Penfolds g3 is a wine that just about any collector would love to see under the Christmas tree this year. The only problem is that these bottles will be nearly impossible to find. You can try to order one from the Penfolds website, but with such limited supplies (only 1,200 bottles exist), securing an order of Penfolds g3 is like winning the lottery.
We have only one rule in our family on Thanksgiving: no one is allowed to bring Cabernet Sauvignon to drink with dinner. That’s because the table would end up crowded with big, bold California fruit bombs that would completely overwhelm the lighter dishes. Even turkey struggles to compete with these intensely concentrated wines. Instead, my family uses Thanksgiving to experiment with new varieties, especially lighter styles with relatively low alcohol content. By avoiding bold reds, my family has already discovered dozens of lighter, less appreciated wines that we adore–Philippe Pacalet Gamay is now a Thanksgiving tradition at our table. By following these simple Thanksgiving wine pairing tips, you too can serve wines that take your traditional Thanksgiving dinner dishes to new heights (and maybe even discover a new favorite wine in the process).
The Bordeaux 2017 harvest was grueling for most wineries, to say the least. Even on Premier Cru estates, it took winemakers every ounce of effort to grow and pick a minuscule number of grapes by the end of the harvest season. In many terroirs, yields were down by an average of 41 percent, sometimes more. This means that some winemakers were left struggling to find enough grapes with which to produce wine.
Renowned wine critic James Suckling is fortunate enough to sample some of the greatest wines in the world, from legendary DRC vintages to the rarest Lafite-Rothschild. So when a critic as experienced as Suckling calls a wine “mythic,” it certainly commands attention. Suckling’s review of 2005 LaFleur Pomerol is downright gushing; he calls this wine “fine and beautiful” with a “rich, powerful palate” that continues to build long after the last drop hits your tongue. This is one of the many reasons why 2005 LaFleur is considered the best Bordeaux blend for collectors who adore a more muscular wine.
Every year during the first week of December, I buy my best friend a bottle of Taittinger non-vintage Champagne, and we share it over home-baked Christmas desserts. One year, I decided to surprise her with a vintage bottle of Pol Roger instead. After her first sip of the new bottle, to my surprise, she said, “This is really nice, but I think I like the Taittinger better.” She explained that even though the Pol Roger was a fine vintage Champagne that was technically higher quality than the Taittinger, the non-vintage wine had become a tradition for us. The taste of it signaled the start of the Christmas season for her.
Over dinner one evening, I had an animated discussion with a group of wine-loving friends about which Bordeaux wines are overrated. None of us could agree on a producer; there was always at least one person in the group who loved a particular “overrated” estate. But when one of my friends suggested that Liber Pater is the most overrated wine in Bordeaux, it gave all of us pause. It’s surely the most expensive wine in the region–the question is whether the added expense is actually worthwhile for collectors, or if the wines are more hype than substance. Ultimately, the value of Liber Pater Bordeaux will depend on your own collection and goals. Before you invest in these bottles, consider whether the current Quality-Price Ratio (QPR) matters to you, or if you’d rather spend a little extra to stay loyal to Graves craftsmanship.