These Wines are Essential Holiday Drinking

These Wines are Essential Holiday Drinking

Nov 24, 2023Sadie Williams

With Thanksgiving in the bag, we’re hearing up for at least one more month of dinner parties, party parties, host gifts, brunches…the list goes on. And on. This means we’re stocking up on a few key wines to carry us through the holiday season. What are we drinking? Find out in this Dispatch, or shop this collection of essential holiday wines picked by our team.

Champagne and Cremants

Champagne is essential holiday drinking. It makes a stellar host gift, is the ideal aperitif for welcoming guests into your home, and adds a certain luxurious flair to holiday brunches.

A Cremant — sparkling wine made in the same style as Champagne, but from other regions of France — will have a similarly festive impact for half the price. We’re partial to Cremant d’Alsace, Cremant de Jura, and Cremant de Loire. Where Champagne is made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, or Pinot Munier, Cremants will be made with local varieties, like Pinot Gris in Alsace and Chenin Blanc in the Loire.

Barolo, Barbaresco, and Langhe Nebbiolo

You better believe we’re curating a tidy pile of Barolo and other Piedmontese wines for the holidays. The wine of kings and the king of wines, Barolo is rich and full-bodied with high acidity, tannins, and glorious aromatics. It will look almost translucent, like a great Pinot Noir, and smell like cherry, raspberry, roses, and earth. But once you take a sip you’ll taste its raw power — the grippy tannins and deceptively full body. Barolo can age for extended periods, but some can also be drunk relatively soon after release.

Look to Barbaresco and Langhe Nebbiolo for stellar Nebbiolo you can drink earlier, and for less. Read more about the wines of Piedmont in this Dispatch.


A juicy, fragrant Beaujolais Villages or Cru Beaujolais is like a liquid Leatherman. A wine that solves problems and prompts sighs of relief when it appears at the table. Pair it with cheese and charcuterie boards for apéro, gift it to friends, uncork it at the table to pair with hearty vegetable dishes and poultry. Plus, you can often find magnums of really good Beaujolais for under $100 — and who doesn’t love to whip out a magnum?

All the Pinot Noir

Great Pinot Noir is elegance embodied, especially red Burgundy. We’re looking forward to opening silky, powerful Volnay, grown on southern-facing limestone-rich soils, and Savigny-les-Beaune, which can be less powerful but offers outstanding value.

You can also bet we’re stocking up on Pinot Noir from California and Argentina for exceptional wines. We’ve been loving wines from Presqu’ile and Lioco in Central and Northern California and Chacra in Patagonia.

White Burgundy

White Burgundy is an all-star. Whether you swing for the oyster shell lemon zest aromas of Chablis or the green apple, butter, and almond profile of Meurseault, you can’t go wrong if you stockpile a few bottles of white Burg.

For more economically priced Chardonnay that delivers similar levels of finesse, look to cool-climate California, Argentina, and Australia.

The Heritage Bottles

My grandmother was Spanish, so when my aunts and uncles come over, I like to have a few bottles of Spanish wine on hand — particularly Cava from Cataluña, where she was from, the fuller-bodied Tempranillo that my aunts and uncles in Spain drink, and the luscious Grenache my dad loves from the Sierra de Gredos. If your family has roots in a winemaking country like Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Georgia, Chile, or Argentina, having bottles from those regions on hand can be a great way to bring them together around the table.

Use this list the next time you head into your local wine shop and you'll be well equipped for all the holiday events to come. Or, shop this collection of essential holiday wines selected by our team.

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