12/01/09 – wines to bring to your next holiday party

By Jesse on November 30, 2009

With the passing of Thanksgiving, it’s time for even the most curmudgeonly holdouts among us to reluctantly acknowledge the arrival of the holiday season in full force — and, as always, following on the heels of that arrival is the inevitable arrival of the holiday parties. While it’s universally poor form to show up to a party empty-handed, it becomes especially crucial, during this season of giving, to project an image of generosity and good will towards men. And what better way to engender good will than by showing up with a delicious bottle of wine?

This week, we’re on a search for the perfect bottle to accompany you to your lineup of holiday parties. Everyone’s probably still feeling burned out from the big meal last Thursday, not to mention the trials of Black Friday (and apparently “Cyber Monday” as well… when did this become a thing?), so we’ll be making the shopping easy this week. Bring any bottle that you think would be the ideal contribution to a festive gathering of the holiday type. Just be prepared to explain why you brought it.

For me, the ideal holiday party bottle is one that’s big on flavor without being too expensive. I typically go for hearty reds with a lot of earthiness, maybe some spice, and hopefully some fruity notes of red berries and plum. This could mean anything from Cabernet Franc to Syrah to Zinfandel, but I’ve lately found that my best hearty-red values have been hailing from the Mediterranean countries (Spain, southern France, southern Italy, even Greece), where the natural Old World “dirtiness” gets infused with ripe, fruit-bearing sunshine. Delicious bottles of Tempranillo, Monastrell, Nero D’Avola, Primitivo, and Aglianico can be found for south of $10, making them the perfect party contributions (as well as ideal gifts for my broader circle of wino acquaintances).

Of course, maybe you’re of the opinion that nothing livens up a holiday party like a juicy white, which may have more universal appeal among the revelers than an earthy red. Or how about some bubbly? Everybody likes to get their sparkle on when they’re in a celebratory mood. Or maybe you’ve found some killer dessert wine that’s not too expensive, which you plan to unleash on your next seasonal soiree and blow everybody’s minds. Or maybe you bought a case of something on your last trip to Paso Robles, and your goal is to distribute all of the bottles by the end of the month. Whatever your poison may be, just be sure you’ve got some good logic behind it. (As always, you can opt to bring $10 instead of a bottle.)

This week’s tasting will be held on Tuesday evening, starting at 8pm, at Jason’s nautically-themed apartment in Brentwood. To RSVP, simply click “will attend” on the right-hand side of this page, and I’ll send you a reminder e-mail (with directions) the day of the tasting. See you then!