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).
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Walla Walla Valley; $34
Think berry-filled dark chocolate truffle with a pinch of spice — great with smoky meats.
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.
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.
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.
NV Brut Rosé
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.