Holiday Wine Picks for Every Palate
By Corey Burdick
The holidays have officially arrived and so too, has the gift giving and party throwing season. Whether you are looking for a wine to pair with your meal or perhaps to accompany cookie baking, Chittenden County is ripe with possibilities under the $20 per bottle mark. Below are just three of my favorites that go a little beyond the traditional chardonnay or Merlot. You'll surely impress your friends and family when you introduce them to these varietals, full of interesting flavors, ready to be savored with local cheese and lively conversation. Prepare to whet your palate.
My first pick is the D'Arenberg Hermit Crab viognier/marsanne blend. D'Arenberg, one of the most significant wineries in McLaren Vale Australia was founded in 1912 and produces a plethora of remarkable and award winning wines ranging from white blends to stunningly rich Shiraz. The winery does not use fertilizer and has low yields which allows the grapes to truly shine. The Hermit Crab is made up of 74 percent viognier and 26 percent marsanne. This lovely wine boasts nectarine and fresh peach on the nose with a touch of spice at the finish. This will appeal to people who enjoy some subtle sweetness to their wine with a palate lingering heat that keeps them savoring each sip.
For red lovers, the Brea Cabernet is a great pick! This California Cabernet is a collaboration between urban winemaker Chris Brockway and Tim Elenteny of TE Imports. Brockway has made a name for himself in Berkeley as a prominent force in the natural wine movement. The grapes for the Brea are sourced from two different sites in California; giving this red a medium body and tongue tingling interest. While the wine spends 24 months in stainless steel, 15 percent is aged in french oak which gives it the characteristic peppery kick at the finish. With a relatively low alcohol content (12.9 percent), this Cabernet is a refreshing departure from its over ripe, high alcohol counterparts that will leave your guests wondering how a Cabernet could taste so refreshing.
Finally, everyone loves a sparkler and this one, while not a true champagne, does come from France. The Domaine Vodanis brut is a 100 percent sparkling vouvray. This wine is hand harvested chenin blanc from limestone soils which lend it its enticing minerality. While dry, this sparkler is not toasty as many traditional champagnes tend to be, meaning this could have wider appeal to your guests. Splash a touch of elderberry cordial in your flute and you have a festive take on the kir!
Cheers to the season!
All of these wines can be found at Healthy Living Market and Cafe in South Burlington.