Holiday Wine Pairings

Nothing really makes a wine a holiday wine except perhaps a celebratory price tag and a holly jolly warming effect meant to stave off wintry weather. But, our holiday-time affinity for rich meats often begs for red wine’s structure, hence an abundance of reds in the list that follows. Think of this as my version of Oprah’s famous “Favorite Things” episodes (though if you just checked under your chair for a free bottle of wine, apologies for creating false expectations).

Bordeaux Varietals

Double Canyon 2015

Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

Washington state; $25

Like a cherry pie on graham cracker crust, this Cabernet has a smidge of syrah, petit verdot, merlot, and malbec to round it out — a great value for a Washington cabernet.

Seven Hills Winery 

2016 Seven Hills Vineyard

Cabernet Sauvignon

Walla Walla Valley; $50

Juicy and fruit-forward with subtle tannins — a perfect choice for a party or predinner red wine (easy to drink without food).

Armstrong Family Winery

2016 Fronk

Columbia Valley; $38

A combination of dark cherries and figs with savory herbs, roasted bell pepper, and cocoa, Fronk gets along with everything from juicy burgers to leaner cuts like pork tenderloin.

Mark Ryan

2017 Long Haul

Columbia Valley; $55

Predominantly full-bodied merlot and sourced from vineyards throughout Red Mountain, Yakima Valley, and Horse Heaven Hills, Long Haul boasts dark plum and cherry mingled with sweet tobacco and earthy flavors.

Rhone Varietals

Latta Wines 2015 Upland Vineyards Grenache

Snipes Mountain; $45

Delicious x 1,000 and overflowing with raspberry, bramble, and sage — like dessert in the evening.

Trust Cellars

2016 Syrah

Walla Walla Valley; $34

Think berry-filled dark chocolate truffle with a pinch of spice — great with smoky meats.

Cairdeas Winery

2016 Caisléan an Papa 

Yakima Valley; $45

This Grenache-driven take on a châteauneuf du pape-style wine has notes of strawberry, cherry, coffee, and wet stone — serve with roasted meat or rich beef stew.

Kevin White Winery 

2017 En Hommage Syrah

Yakima Valley; $30

There are strong lines of blue and black fruits on the nose and palate, enhanced with spices and black pepper — perfect if your family does an Italian-cuisine take on the holidays.

II Vintners

2017 Make Haste Cinsault

Yakima Valley; $25

A great lighter-bodied red, so aromatic with perfumed flowers, red cherry, and strawberry and a slight gaminess on the palate — drinkable year-round.

Pearl and Stone Wine Co.

2017 Boulder Loop

Columbia Valley; $39

A medium-bodied GSM redolent with strawberries and a subtle blueberry characteristic; slightly smoky and oh-so-easy to drink.

Oregon Pinot Noir

Penner-Ash Wine Cellars 

2016 Zena Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir

Eola-Amity Hills; $72

This pinot is the Willamette Valley’s version of a steakhouse wine — ample structure, raspberries, and chocolate, and black pepper spice with an elegant finish.


Woodward Canyon 

2018 Chardonnay

Washington state; $44

Grown on some of Washington’s oldest vines (planted in 1977), this Chardonnay showcases ripe pear and caramel apple with a subtle hint of hazelnut crème.


Gran Moraine

NV Brut Rosé

Yamhill-Carlton; $55

Electric with tiny bubbles and bursting essence of Asian pear, the palate leans more to citrus and nectarine — just add cheese, charcuterie, fried food, oysters, or pretty much anything.

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