The parties aren’t over yet.
If holiday shopping has put a dent in your checking account but you find yourself still hosting or attending more get-togethers, there are plenty of delicious and affordable options out there — especially if you don’t want to show up empty-handed to a New Year’s Eve party.
Quinta da Lixa Anjos Vinho Verde 2016 is a stunning Portugese white wine perfect for appetizers and fish. Vinho Verde is my favorite. Clean, crisp, but not too acidic. Fruity, without being overly sweet. It’s light, while still being flavorful, something many whites have a hard time doing. This crowd pleaser retails at $7.99 so you can have plenty of it on hand.
Something to Wine About: Good wine can come from a bad year
Quinta da Raza Avesso Alvarinho 2016 is yet another take on the Portuguese Vinho Verde. Lush and lemony. Appetizers, fish, even cheesecake for dessert would work well with this wine. Retails at just under $20.
Scott Family Estate 2016 Chardonnay has lovely butter and oak on the nose and a nice expression of fruit mid-palate. Extremely pleasant finish with balanced acidity. A very pleasing wine that will accompany, not battle, dinner. A perfect fit for poultry. This luscious California wine retails for about $30.
Castello Di Albola Chianti Classico 2013 is a fresh, fruity and elegant food-friendly red. This Italian wine is one of my top picks on what to pour with your main course. It complements, not competes, with a wide variety of dishes. Light enough to have with salad, assertive enough to have with meat. I had it with Italian food. Predictable, but perfect, at just around $15.
Casa Ermelinda Freitas Touriga Nacional 2013 is a wonderful red wine for holiday dinners. Good earth, dark red and black fruits, and light licorice notes blend wonderfully in this wine. This Portuguese wine pairs well with both soft and hard cheeses and hearty cheese dishes like lasagna. This wine can also be sipped after dinner on its own paired with good conversation. At about $10 a bottle easy to stock up on.
Something to Wine About: Toast the holidays with sparkling wine
Are you able to spend a little more? Fontanafredda Barolo 2013 comes in close to the $44 mark, but it is wonderful with food and delicious on its own. It’s not for everyone; however, for those appreciating Barolos, it’s perfect. The color is lighter than many reds, but don’t let the color fool you. This dry wine is still packed with dark fruit and raisin flavor. I also found its lighter body easier to pair food with than heavier reds. The finish, though not exceedingly long, is still exquisite.
Thinking about after dinner drinks? Taylor Fladgate 325 Anniversary Port is the wine to pour. This is called a tawny port, but it is actually a beautiful ruby color. It is a sweet wine, but not overly sweet and perfectly balanced. It’s filled with notes of dried fruits, like apricot, fig and raisin. The bottle shape is eye-catching and unique.
I was waiting for a special occasion, like Thanksgiving, to share it for after dinner drinks. I ended up deeming the temperature dip to near freezing on November 11 to be special enough and enjoyed it before dinner while staring at my fireplace. I also paired it a second night with Chinese food in lieu of plum wine. I’m not sorry, and I don’t feel guilty. And at just about $35 a bottle neither should you. Buy it for hosting, and as a gift, and enjoy it on your own.
Something to Wine About: The sinful pleasure of a heavenly wine
Still have some gifts you need to give? From hostess gifts to small thank-you presents there are some wonderfully unique wines for all the wine lovers on your list.
We all know those people that have “their wine.” It’s the only wine they’ll drink. So for them, the best gift is that particular wine. But if you have friends open to trying new wines in the styles you know they love, try the following recommendations.
Have workout fanatics on your shopping list? Or friends with a New Year’s resolution to get fit? Try Fit Vine Wine. Fit Vine is a California company producing wines low in calories sugar and sulfites.
Fit Vine Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 is an eye-opener. While this wine had little in the way of legs, it did have a good nose of earth and fruit. Great structure, nuanced and elegant. Extremely satisfying finish. This is a really likeable wine. It’s a perfect fit whether you just finished a marathon or completed a marathon week of stress. While lighter bodied, you do not feel like you’re sacrificing taste or depth. As a former competitive gymnast, I give this wine a 10. Retails at $15.99.
Merlot deserves more than a ‘Sideways’ glance
Fit Vine Pinot Noir 2015 is surprising. Since most Pinot Noirs are light bodied, I believed this wine would be extremely thin. I was wrong. Great earth and fruit on both the nose and palate, light but with substantial taste, great structure and backbone. Really impressed. Sells for $19.99
White wine fans should find the Fit Vine Pinot Grigio 2016 quite yummy. Good fruit, acidity, nice long, soft, lemony finish. A great buy at $17.99.
Cartology Chenin blanc 2015 by Alheit is a South African Chenin blanc made from 86% Chenin Blanc and 14% Semillon. It is 100% delicious.
Have a white wine fan you want to surprise with a luxury gift different than Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc? Chenin Blanc is a lovely white wine alternative. Lighter than Chardonnay, less aggressive than Sauvignon Blanc and slightly fruitier than Pinot Grigio, it’s fun, fresh and pairs with everything from pasta in light sauces, seafood, chicken, appetizers and salads. It retails from between $40 to $50.
Have a Riesling fan ready to try something different? The 2016 Adega de Monção Alvarinho Vinho Verde Deu la Deu is an interesting Vinho Verde. Bottled in a Mosel style bottle, as Riesling usually is. The bottle is a bit taller and thinner than other bottles, and the wine is actually quite Riesling-like. A fuller-bodied Vinho Verde, the Portuguese wine paired beautifully with appetizers. Retails at $15.99.
Have a red-blend friend on your list ready to try something new? The 2015 Rutherford Ranch “2 Range” Red Blend is the wine to buy. With notes of ripe red fruit, cherry, chocolate and earth this is an immensely satisfying red-blend. Rich, with great legs, and lovely, long chocolate-cherry finish. This is a big, yet still elegant, wine. Its varietals include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Petit Verdot. This California wine retails for $25.
New Year’s offerings
Want to make a splash at a New Year’s bash? Let’s start with the bubbly: Piper Heidsieck Brut Champagne, Mionetto, LaMarca, and Filo Dora Prosecco, as well as Martini & Rossi Sparkling Rose are all goof choices to bring to a party. Prices vary depending on the product.
FitZii Raspberry Rose in cans are terrific for younger — but still legal — drinkers who are also workout fanatics. Easy to grab and go, I found the taste, while not sweet, a bit young for my palate. However, I had some younger people try it and they very much enjoyed it.
Linda Delmonico Prussen is a Long Island-based award-winning journalist passionate about all things wine.
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Linda Delmonico Prussen