When we think of “the holidays” we think of celebrations. Getting together with friends and family during the holiday season for good food, good cheer, and great wine is a wonderful way to start the Winter season. There are going to be dozens of occasions where people will need to either select wines for meals, bring wines for meals, give a gift of wine, or simply bring a bottle as a housewarming gift. We think these are holiday wine gifts you’ll want to consider.
Holiday Wine Gift Ideas From Two Events We Attended:
Wines from New Zealand:
We recently sampled wines at two events in New York City. The first, New Zealand Naturally, was hosted by New Zealand Wine. This event was held on a lovely rooftop farm in Brooklyn.
The event featured wines produced under the country’s Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand program.
Wines from Spain:
The second event was the annual Spain’s Great Match (read a 2015 review on sherry) walk-around tasting, hosted by Food and Wines from Spain and held at the Marcado Little Spain in the new Hudson Yards development.
At both of these events, we sampled wines that would make both great gifts and housewarming presents, as well as wines that would be a unique addition to any dinner or event.
To find these we focused our tasting on unique bottlings from both regions, and specifically on celebratory sparkling wines. Some of our favorites included:
These Unique Wines Make Welcome Addition To A Collection
Quartz Reef Methode Traditionelle Brut, Bendigo Central Otago (NV: $33):
This sparkling wine from the South Island of New Zealand is a traditional blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It has a very traditional taste profile, with a light gold color, indistinctive nose, and yeasty, apple-based palate. It is somewhat pricey for a New Zealand wine but it is a very unique gift that can be shared with friends and family during almost any occasion.
Amisfield Pinot Noir, Central Otago (2016: $45):
Pinot Noir is one of those varietals that seemingly grows everywhere but produces excellent wines in only specific regions.
We generally don’t think of New Zealand for Pinot Noir; however, Armisfield has done an outstanding job with this one. Light garnet in color, the wine had a distinct black cherry nose and a palate rich in cherry, with an interesting note of candied orange rind. Let this one age!
Paco et Lola, Albarino (2012: $50):
Albarino rarely lasts in our cellar long enough to age, but it does so very well.
This 7-year old version of the Paco et Lola Albarino was golden in color with a honeysuckle nose. It’s buttery on the palate similar to California Chardonnay but with strong minerality,
This is a unique wine and a great gift.
Special Gift Wines:
We tend to think a housewarming/hostess/thank-you wine should be unique. Anyone can go and buy a bottle of chardonnay, but really unique wines from unique regions always offer something special.
El Kano Group, Olatu (2018: $19):
This wine is a slightly sparkling, very dry white wine with high acidity and low alcohol content produced in the Basque Country.
Known as a Txakoli It must be drunk young, preferably in the same year that it was bottled, and is generally served as an aperitif in Spain.
This wine had a rich nose of white flowers, was light yellow in color and had a licorice, lemony palate. It was very unique and probably is not in your hostesses cellar.
El Kano Group, Ilunabar Rose (2018: $19):
Another Txakoli, this rose bottling was coppery in color with a somewhat footy nose. On the palate, it was oaty, with a lot of minerality. Again, this is a unique wine that would add to any cellar.
Pere Ventura Cava (2014: $62):
This wine is one example of a number of excellent vintage Cava wines that were at the tasting. Golden in color, with a strong apple nose, and a dry yeasty palate, this is a great example of what a high-end Cava can be.
Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad (NV: $30):
This is a lovely wine with a long heritage, produced by an estate that dates back to the 11th century.
Made from two-thirds Macabeo and one-third Parellada grapes, the wine comes in a distinctive bottle that makes it a lovely house gift.
Light straw yellow in color with a light mouse and a yeasty nose, this Cava is yeasty, apply and clean, a very champagne style of Cava.
These are great pairing wines. They’re well-priced and can work with many different holiday favorites.
Codorniu, Anna (NV: $15) and Codorniu Anna Rose (NV: $15):
These are two of our go-to party wines. Reasonably priced, beautifully packaged, these two Cava bottlings bring a celebration to life.
The blanc de blanc is pale straw yellow in color with a persistent mousse. Citrusy on the nose, the palate is balanced with citrus and tropical flavors.
The rose is light red with a persistent mouse. On the nose there are berries, and red fruits which translate to the palate.
Waipapa Bay Pinot Gris, Marlborough (2019: $15):
The Marlborough region of New Zealand is well known for spectacular Sauvignon Blanc wines. However, the skilled winemakers of the area have also produced a large number of bottlings from other varietals. This Pinot Gris is no exception.
Light golden in color, with a nose featuring a lot of pear and stone fruit, the wine had a fruity peach palate alongside great minerality.
This makes the wine excellent for pairing with both heavier poultry dishes and creamy seafood.
Paco et Lola, Albarino (2018: $21):
Those who read these columns know that we love Albarino. This white wine from northern Spain and Portugal is one of the most flexible white wines when it comes to pairing.
This particular bottling was light straw yellow in color with a floral nose, and a citrusy, minerally palate. Somewhat sweeter than most Albarino varietals this would be a wonderful wine with fish-based pastas like vongole.