Holiday Splurge Wines

Beer and Wine, Christmas, Drinks, Holidays, How-To, Wine 101
on November 21, 2011
Red Wine

Crisp Sauvignon Blancs often come to mind in summer, but the French, who produce renowned takes on this grape, enjoy the wine year round. In the Bordeaux region, winemakers often blend their Sauvignon Blanc with varying levels of other grapes, including Semillon, a fleshy, low-acid pick, and Muscadelle, a richly aromatic grape. The resulting wines can range from light, citrusy quaffs to more round and complex, full-bodied bottles. There’s a place on your party table for both this season.

The catch: You won’t often find the name of the grapes on the bottle. Instead, look for the name of growing region to find a style you like. Generally, wines labeled Entre-Deux-Mers will have a light, crisp appeal. Reach for these when you want a refreshing, stand-alone apéritif or holiday-party quaff. Those labeled Graves or Pessac-Léognan often bring more body, minerality, and finesse. These, too, work well as stand-alone sips, but will especially sing when served with the season’s most festive oyster and shrimp appetizers.    

Here are three moderately priced picks, plus two splurges (if you’ve been good, perhaps Santa might stuff one in your stocking). If you can’t find these particular bottles in your area, find them online, or head to the local wine shop and let the wine-seller point you to the style of Bordeaux white you seek.

  • Chateau Bonnet Entre-Deux-Mers ($13)
  • Chateau Lestrille Entre-Deux-Mers  ($12)
  • Chateau de Fontenille Entre-Deux-Mers ($15)
  • Clos Floridène Graves White ($25)
  • Chateau Olivier Pessac-Léognan White ($30)

Note that Entre-Deux-Mers wines are best enjoyed within one or two years of release. Pessac-Léognan may be drunk young or aged several years.