Holiday Wine Selections from Local Experts

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Need some assistance choosing the vino for your upcoming holiday gathering? Here are a few suggestions from local sommeliers and wine experts.

Kristopher Soto
Wine Director
The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes

When I begin to think of which wine I’d like to bring to parties for the holidays, it tends to be a wine made from Viognier grapes. It’s a white wine that’s easy to drink and such an aromatically intense wine that it forces drinkers to actually smell their wine, even if that’s not part of their consumption routine. It’s a lovely smell—ripe peaches, apricots, and very pronounced pineapple.

These wines are full in body and naturally low in acidity, allowing flavors to linger pleasurably. A wine of this structure is a natural complement to chutneys and other fruit-based sauces, many of which adorn holiday tables. So, for that tough to pair baked turkey or honey ham, I submit Viognier as a natural component to a cheerful holiday meal.

Daniel Iachello
Zeta Bar & Sushi Lounge and Sena Bar + Lounge, Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
Certified Sommelier

For me, the quintessential holiday wine is Beaujolais Nouveau. When hosting a group of friends for a holiday dinner, you need to find a wine that is bold enough to pair perfectly with turkey or a roast and yet is delicate enough to be enjoyed as a standalone.

This off-dry wine from Burgundy is a great match for the sweet and savory offerings at a Christmas or New Year’s Eve dinner. Made from Gamay grapes, Beaujolais Nouveau is a light red wine that offers aromas of blackcurrant and blackberry on the nose and silky smooth tannins on the palate. And its relatively low price point makes it easy on your budget, allowing you to splurge on an extra holiday present or two.

Shannon Welch
Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
Certified Sommelier

I would recommend for your holiday not simply one varietal but blend of nine grape varietals. Evolution by Sokol Blosser is a symphony of flavors on the palate combining all the subtle nuances of each varietal into one exceptional harmony.

This wine is as diverse as your extended family, and is bound to deliver a flavor that speaks to each of them. The grapes for this white wine are even distinctive in origin as they blend Pinot Gris, White Riesling, Semillon and Chardonnay grown in Oregon, Washington, and California.

All this variety means you might taste hints of both tropical fruits and tree fruits that are soft on the palate and crisp all at once. When all of the flavors synchronize in your mouth, you’ll find Evolution pairs with everything from turkey, stuffing, or cheese, to even your grandmother’s secret recipe for chocolate pie. Priced at around $16, this wine is a fantastic value.

Andres Montoya
The Wine Barn
Wine Hunter

For the holiday season there is nothing more festive than a glass of champagne to celebrate Christmas and ring in the New Year. For a splurge Champagne, I would recommend Champagne Bertrand Delespierre 2004 Brut Premier Cru. It’s very full bodied, creamy with a brioche or baked bread smell with a touch of red apple spice. It has a Christmas-y element to it, and at around $60 is still is far less expensive than any vintage champagne.

For a great holiday option that’s very affordable, Lambert de Seyssel NV Petit Royal ($20) showcases a lot of orchard fruits and has a nice, small bubble that you’d typically find in more expensive Champagnes. It really over delivers for the price and works well as an aperitif or with simple appetizers, such as light cheeses and fresh fruit.

 

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