Holiday Wine Picks and Pairings From Our Local Experts

Holiday wine picks and pairings from our local experts.
Chiara Shannon

Red, white, or pink? Full-bodied or crisp and fruity? The choices seem endless when planning a special holiday gathering. We spoke to proprietors at some top local wine shops and other experts to help navigate the sometimes overwhelming wine-pairing options for your celebrations.

Chiara Shannon, sommelier and consultant (formerly of Mission Wines in South Pasadena),

Thanksgiving: With the variety of dishes, try to go with one wine that works with everything—a full-bodied, dry yet fruity rosé from the Tavel region in the South of France (or Spain or California). Produced from grapes like Grenache, Syrah, or Zinfandel, these styles tend to be darker in color and have more qualities that red wine drinkers love, but are less tannic and food-friendly, from cranberry sauce and stuffing to pie! Try 2020 Chateau de Segries Tavel Rose Rhone Valley, France $26.

Hannukah: Kosher wines get a bad rap, but you can find many unique and delicious options in unexpected places. La Ferme Rouge is an organic kosher winery in the Zaer region east of Rabat, Morocco. Its Le Rouge Kosher ($18) is a Rhone-style blend of Syrah and Carignan with ripe fruit and smoky flavor that pairs perfectly with brisket.

New Year’s Eve: “Grower Champagne” is produced in smaller quantities by growers themselves; many are also organic, biodynamic, and naturally produced. Try 2017 Marguet “Shaman” Grand Cru Rose Champagne Brut Nature, $75.

Everson Royce

Joe Capella, owner, Everson Royce wine shop in Old Pasadena and Highland Park,

Thanksgiving: All Beaujolais are especially good for Thanksgiving. Try Dupeuble Beaujolais ($20); Bois de Boursan Chateauneuf-du-Pape ($56); or Scribe Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley ($86). For white, try Pavette Sauvignon Blanc ($13.50); Aviary Chardonnay ($18.50); or Bico da Ran Albarino ($21). Rosé pick: Angeleno Wine Company: The Meadow ($24).

New Year’s Eve: J. Lassalle Cachet or Brut Champagne ($42); or Allimant-Laugner Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rosé ($21).

Good Luck Wine Shop

Kate Vourvoulis, co-owner, Good Luck Wine Shop on Foothill Boulevard, which carries only natural wines that are organically farmed and low-intervention, with minimal additives,

Thanksgiving: Gamay is a perfect turkey pairing: 2020 La Galoche Beaujolais ($23); for sides, a skin-contact white wine will go best, such as 2020 Schlossmühlenhof Das Ist Keine Orange ($25).

Hanukkah: Choose fresh and fun wines that will pair with your latkes and brisket, like 2019 Les Vins Pirouettes Saveurs de Claude white blend ($23); or 2020 Vin de California Canyons Pinot Noir ($34).

Christmas: Go classic and pick wines everyone will like. For white, 2019 Domaine Pepiere la Pepie Muscadet ($17); for a red blend, 2020 Populis Wabi Sabi ($24).

New Year’s Eve: 2019 Dunites Chene Blanc de Noir Sparkling ($45); 2010 Kabaj Cuvee Morel ($42).

Caroline Styne, James Beard Award–winning wine director, DTLA Proper Hotel and A.O.C.,

Any holiday: 2017 Joy Fantastic, Pinot Noir, Joy Fantastic Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills ($50) is a perfect Pinot for the holidays with a mix of red and black fruits, spicy mid-palate, and beautiful balancing acidity. It can pair with everything from turkey to robust roasted meats. For white, try 2019 Chateau de Breze, Saumur, Clos David ($14). This wine is an intensely mineral-driven Chenin Blanc from one of my favorite winemakers in the Loire Valley. It is the ideal white to pair with a holiday meal.

New Year’s Eve: Contratto Rosé “For England” Alta Langa 2015 ($37). I love a bubbly Rosé for holiday celebrations and this one is from the oldest sparkling wine facility in Italy. The wine is bright and earthy with a big hit of cassis and high-tone red fruit notes, hints of citrus fruits, and vibrant minerality.

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