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Philly's Top Sommeliers Share Their Favorite Holiday Wines

Time:2016-11-17 15:35wine - Red wine life health Click:

wines holidays tips philly sommeliers

This season is meant to be enjoyed with a large glass of wine and delicious food with family and friends aplenty. Below, we caught up with the city's most knowledgable wine experts to find out which wines are perfect for the holidays.

Xavier Mariezcurrena, Sommelier at Davio’s King of Prussia


"For the holidays, lighter red wines make for perfect cocktail hour [drinks], but can hold up to the flavors we love at the table, like stuffing, roasted turkey, and sweet potato casserole. One of my favorites is Cavallotto's Freisa bottling from their 'Bricco Boschis' vineyard. While Cavallotto's Barolos are recognized as some of the best in the world, around $20 per bottle, the wine is perfect on its own, and will easily hold up to all the fixings at the dinner table."

Hai Tran, Wine Director & Advanced Sommelier at Lacroix Restaurant

"A holiday meal isn't complete without a complementing wine. Surprise guests this year with some exciting alternatives to the traditional favorites. Swap out Pinot Noir, a holiday workhorse that everyone recommends, for reds being produced in Sicily. Look for wines from the Vittoria and Etna regions, such as a Cerasuolo di Vittoria, which combines the vibrant red fruit and floral tones of Frappato with the structure, spice, and darker fruit tones of Nero d’Avola to produce an elegant red that is ready to tackle any holiday feast."

Gordana Kostovski, General Manager & Sommelier at Volvér


"Champagne, of course! R. Pouillon's Solera—it's an amazing grower champagne by Fabrice Pouillon, who carries on wine-making tradition for his family, [and] uncompromising artistry and care for the vines and soil. [It has] amazing body and depth, unmistakable minerality, captivating nose, and terroir-driven bubbles. Thirty percent of the reserve wine dates back to 1997, hence 'solera.' It really is super versatile and fun, and a beautiful expression of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ terroir."

Jeffrey Mayfield, Wine Director at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse

"It’s almost an impossible question to answer! My palate is consistently evolving and changing. At 30, do you still drink what you did in college? Of course not! With all of that being said, one of my favorite wines is Rioja (Red and White). They are both surprisingly affordable and accessible in all age marks from Joven to Gran Reserva. But what really draws me to them is their versatility with food and their longevity. A beautiful Gran Reserva Rioja can age for decades, and will stun you with its smooth silky tannins and elegantly balanced acid, alcohol, and fruits. The same can be said for the whites: They are complex, to say the least! I love scallops and risotto with a bottle of older white Rioja or red Rioja with a simple duck confit dish. For me, Rioja checks a lot of the boxes, whether you are just opening an everyday drinker with some cheese and charcuterie, or a great bottle of back vintage Gran Reserva for a special occasion. You can always find a Rioja wine for everyone in just about everyone's price point. It's an easy crowd-pleaser."

Michele Konopi, Certified Sommelier at Savona


"I have a few wines I love around the holiday season, but my favorite is Numanthia. They make a Termes, which is affordable for casual dinners, as well as their Numanthia label for special occasions—both made from the Tina de Toro grape varietal. Both wines are bold with silky tannin: the Termes is more fruit forward with floral qualities while the Numanthia is powerful and intense. I'd suggest decanting the Numanthia an hour before drinking. Robust and alluring, this wine symbolizes my first love affair with Spanish grape varietals. It’s perfect for sipping by the fireplace as you watch the snow fall."

Bill Eccleston, General Manager & Sommelier at Panorama

"Cabernet franc from Loire valley is absolutely perfect with most holiday foods. You also can't go wrong with sparkling wine!"

Stephen Flis, Beverage Manager at Barclay Prime

"My two favorite wines for the holidays are Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe’s 2013 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Télégramme and Trisaetum’s 2011 Pinot Noir. The Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a friendly, approachable wine with a fragrant nose that exudes fresh red fruit aromas. This full-bodied wine is rich and intense, offering tasting notes of raspberries and black cherries. My second favorite, Trisaetum’s Pinot Noir, has great concentration and density. The black cherry flavor profile, complemented by aromatic accents of rose petals and highlights of oregano, digs deep into the mid-palate upon its smooth finish. The weight and texture of meat, such as turkey on Thanksgiving, is just right for the tannin and acid structure of a well-balanced Pinot."


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