Raise Your Glass (And Leave the Merlot Behind)
Cheers to the holidays! Wondering what types of wines to bring to or serve at upcoming gatherings? We got some fresh ideas from Brad Nugent, an accredited sommelier and the long-time Wine Director for Porter House Bar and Grill and Center Bar, part of The Restaurant and Bar Collection at New York's Time Warner Center. His top advice? “More is more," says Nugent. If you’re a guest, it’s a nice gesture to arrive with a three-liter bottle or a magnum. For hosts, plan to serve one bottle per person to keep the party going, says Nugent. Another smart tip: "Don't overthink it. The wine should be secondary to having a good time with friends and family." Here’s what he's excited about right now.
Why: Delicious hot or cold, it’s a versatile, autumnal, holiday-oriented beverage that goes great with food. Available at Whole Foods Market, it’s a fun, curveball selection.
Top Pick: Wölffer No. 139 Dry Rosé Cider from the South Fork of Long Island.
What: Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles
Why: You can never go wrong with bubbles. At any price point, it’s festive and always appreciated. Champagne always goes over well, but prosecco is also a great choice.
Top Pick: Among the premium big house-champagnes, I like Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot, and Laurent-Perrier. My favorite “farmer fizz” is Chartogne-Taillet Sainte-Anne. For prosecco, I enjoy Zardetto, Adami, and Nino Franco.
What: Bordeaux Blanc
Why: These heavier, textured, minerally whites are underrated with a versatility, body, and intensity that makes them ideal for colder weather. There's also a hint of oak — a perfect pairing for holiday turkeys.
Top Pick: Pavillon Blanc, Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Château Carbonnieux
What: Rioja Blanco
Why: Similar in style and weight to the white Bordeaux, these versatile wines fly below the radar. Bone dry and crisp, they are made from the white varietal viura grape. The toasted nut flavors with honey overtones are perfect for autumn and winter.
Top Picks: Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (CVNE) Contino, Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (CVNE) Viña Real
What: Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Eola-Amity Hills region
Why: These easily drinkable Pinots are delicious and their notes of bright red fruit, truffles, and wet leaves make them a perfect choice for Thanksgiving foods, as well as meats and cheeses.
Top Pick: Chapter 24 Vineyards, Cristom Vineyards, St. Innocent Winery
What: Dolcetto and Barbera
Why: Staples in Italian homes, these earthy medium-bodied yet fruity wines are subtle, affordable, delicious, and very food friendly. Not a fruit bomb.
Top Picks: Flavio Roddolo, De Forville, Conterno