The easiest way to win over the host at your next holiday party? Show up bearing gifts—specifically, a crowd-pleasing bottle of wine (preferably one that won’t break the bank on your end). We asked wine experts to share their favorite varieties to pair with holiday fare…or, alternately, with pajamas and your couch.
Baglio di Pianetto Nero d’Avola Sicilia DOC ($14)
This rich and intense red wine comes straight from the motherland, crafted by a family-owned and -operated vineyard in Sicily. It’s made with the Sicilian native grape Nero D’Avola, with aromas of lavender, cherries and plums (basically a solid serving of fruit). Hugh Preece, wine expert and operating partner of Salt Creek Grille, suggests pairing it with roasted meats—i.e., turkey thigh or leg with all the fixings.
Where to get it: Brooklyn Cellars, 391 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn; 718-622-1403 or brooklyncellars.com
Château Peybonhomme-les-Tours ‘Le Blanc Bonhomme’ ($16)
Every Thanksgiving dinner table needs a Sauvignon Blanc—specifically one that pairs well with meat dishes, whether it’s turkey, chicken or fish. This bright and texturally rich wine combines ocean spray minerality with layers of golden apples, fresh herbs and lemon.
Where to get it: Chambers Street Wines, 148 Chambers St.; 212-227-1434 or chambersstwines.com
Allegrini ‘Palazzo Della Torre’ Veronese IGT ($20)
This full-bodied, deep ruby red is made at a family winery that dates as far back as the 16th century and is currently operated by brother-and-sister duo Franco and Marilisa Allegrini. Preece suggests balancing the acidity of this blend with grilled and roasted meats, mushrooms, risottos, cheeses and lasagna.
Where to get it: Liquor & Wine Warehouse, 99-25 Horace Harding Expy., Queens; 718-271-0100 or lwwarehouse.com
Wolffer Estate Finca Wolffer Rosé ($17)
Keep rosé season alive and kicking with this dry and gently fruitful pink wine produced from the Hamptons vineyard’s 85-acre Argentine estate. Not only is it dangerously easy to drink (aka you might want to keep it away from Aunt Kathy), but its dryness and crisp flavor pairs well with creamier dishes like mashed potatoes.
Where to get it: Brooklyn Wine Exchange, 138 Court St, Brooklyn; 718-855-9463 or brooklynwineexchange.com
Castello di Albola Chianti Classico DOCG 2012 ($15)
For those looking for a red that’s the perfect amount of dryness without being too harsh or overbearing, this medium-bodied Chianti is just the ticket. It’s easy on the palate, with flavors of cherry, spice, polished tannins and a delicate finish. Pair with grilled meats, barbecue marinades and anything roasted and stuffed (aka your turkey). It also goes surprisingly well with fish.
Where to get it: Morton Williams Wine & Spirits, 270 Park Ave. S.; 212-477-5490 or mwwinepark.com
2015 BR Cohn Silver Label Cabernet ($20)
This Sonoma Valley-produced Cab offers that classic rich boldness with the unique aromas of cassis, black cherry, mint and violet, as well as pungent oak, anise and vanilla. How can one wine have this many flavors? You’ll just have to try—but you can bet it'll get plenty of comments over dinner.
Where to get it: Gracie's Wines, 1577 York Ave.; 212-988-8288 or gracieswines.com
Château Tire Pe Diem Bordeaux Blend ($14)
Because your holiday wine selection wouldn’t be complete without a Bordeaux, we’re suggesting this cold-weather essential. Packed with juicy red currant, crushed plum and sweet herbs, it enhances the flavor of even the most well-seasoned meat dishes.
Where to get it: De Wine Spot, 428 Lorimer St., Brooklyn; 718-388-9463 or dewinespot.co
Jaillance Crémant de Bordeaux Brut Cuvee de L’Abbaye ($15)
What, you thought all Bordeaux wines were red? This sparkling white blend boasts zesty flavors of citrus and white florals. It’s perfect for popping at the start of any holiday fête—and you might want to keep a few extra bottles on hand for New Year's Eve.
Where to get it: B & S Zeeman Wine and Spirits, 47 University Pl.; 212-473-2525 or bszeeman.com
Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz ($10)
Those looking for a sweeter wine will dive right into this fresh, fruity, semi-sweet blend featuring flavors of ripe, juicy berries along with dark chocolate undertones (uh, yum). Its versatile taste lends it to a variety of food pairings, but sommeliers suggest saving it for dessert. P.S. It also makes a great base for mulled wine.
Where to get it: Beacon Wines & Spirits, 2120 Broadway; 212-877-0028 or beaconwine.com
Indaba Chenin Blanc ($9)
This Loire Valley white grape varietal has long been one of the most underappreciated whites around, but it's finally starting to get its due (in NYC, at least). This blend is light-bodied and the perfect balance of sweet and tart, so it’s great with chicken or fish dishes, as well as dessert faves like pumpkin or apple pie.
Where to get it: Red, White, & Green Wine and Spirits; 132 Kent Ave., Brooklyn; 718-302-4080 or rwgwines.com
Purple Heart 2014 Red Blend ($20)
In the spirit of the season, why not sip for a good cause? This festive red blend is a collaboration between third-generation wine producers C. Mondavi & Family, and the Purple Heart Foundation, an organization dedicated to serving the unmet needs of military men, women and families. The wine is about 80 percent Merlot with the rest Bordeaux varieties, so pair it with meats and hearty sides.
Where to get it: Morton Williams Wine & Spirits, 313 E 23rd St.; 212-213-0021 or mortonwilliamswine.com
Weingut Willi Bründlmayer Kamptaler Terrassen Riesling ($16)
Though this light-skinned white grape has a reputation for being sweet, not all Rieslings follow suit. This one, in particular, has a nice dried herbal and peppery tone that pairs perfectly with fall appetizers and veggie dishes. Amy Racine, wine director of The Loyal in NYC, loves it with mushrooms and heartier salads because of its savory side.
Where to get it: Gramercy Wine & Spirits, 104 E 23rd St.; 212-505-0550 or gramercywine.com