Wine—a gift as old as time, but how do you know which kind is best for different holiday parties? Three Birmingham wine experts fill us in on bringing the right choice to the table this holiday season.
1. Golden Age Wine has your picky extended family covered.
An entire side of my family is from the Napa Valley area. Some kids grew up going to parks. My aunts and uncles took me on tours of vineyards.
That being said—they know their stuff and I don’t want to see the wine I gift them used for cooking. Thankfully, Birmingham wine experts Brandon Loper and Trent Stewart from Golden Age Wine have a solution.
Pinot Noir is a crowd pleaser
If you’re wanting to upstage your cousins and bring a nice gift the wine snobs in your family will appreciate, look to the Gevrey-Chambertin.
“Gevrey-Chambertin is the creme-de-la-creme of Pinot Noir. Bring this bottle if you are looking for something unique and a bottle of wine you want to spend some time with.”Brandon Loper
Most people are familiar with Pinot Noir, so it’s a safe bet to bring to extended family or the in-laws. The Koehler-Ruprecht above is classic, light and won’t break your budget—but it’s still recognized as a nice wine.
“If you don’t know what’s being cooked or if you want to drink the wine before the meal, it can serve as a pretty great aperitif.”Trent Stewart
Zinfandel fits the whole American theme.
Think Zinfandel for a traditional Thanksgiving wine sure to please the entire family. It really stands up to the food on the table (and hopefully any particular family members.)
“Thanksgiving is an American holiday. To me of all wines made in America, Zinfandel is really, uniquely American. You don’t see wine anywhere else called Zinfandel.”Trent Stewart
2.The Wine Loft helps out with your hipster Friendsgiving.
How many friends have grown beards lately and started claiming they’re “really into craft beer?” Birmingham wine expert Stella Nostrum gave me some tips for how to show off your wine knowledge by bringing something cool, before it’s cool.
Add a little personality to your wine.
Vermentino is a textured, very structured white. It’s weird enough where the hipsters are satisfied, but still palatable where everyone enjoys it. Don’t forget to tell your friends how it’s made, because the process gives the wine an extra cool factor.
“In Sardinia, Italy the wine is made in these big clay pots that you put underground. You just mash up a bunch of grapes, throw it in there and see what happens!”Stella Nostrum
Did you know Alabama is the largest buyer of Oregon wines? How’s that for a way to change topic when your cousin Jennifer starts going on about her “life changing study abroad experience.”
Try using Sokol Blosser as a conversation piece. Not only is it a beautiful Pinot Noir, but it’s also made with sustainable practices.
Start a different conversation
Yes, you would really have to like your friends to bring this to the party. However, picture a little thimble a mouse might drink out of, and that’s how much of this you should pour into a glass—making it the perfect drink for a large party.
“It’s for an after dinner conversation. You buy one bottle and share it between 10, 15 or 20 people.”Stella Nostrum
This bottle will last you YEARS, because it’s meant to be sipped and appreciated. Coming to Friendsgiving with something this classy, yet bold and unusual will definitely be remembered.
3. The Birmingham wine experts at Piggly Wiggly give you something unique.
If you’re looking to bring a wine no one else is likely to come with, start your search at Piggly Wiggly. Wine Manager Scott Atkinson made sure I wasn’t showing up with a boring Cabernet (or boxed Franzia.)
This IS your grandmother’s wine, but upgraded
“Bring this to people who aren’t afraid to try something new or people who you need to tell, ‘You shouldn’t be afraid to try something new’.”Scott Atkinson
Add this to your cart for that eccentric friend who is probably hosting some off-beat themed holiday party. This red is dry and sparkling with just a touch of fruit, but not sweet. Pair it with a nice charcuterie plate and the evening is *chef’s kiss*.
One in a million (or 1,104)
Bring something to brag about—they only made 1,104 bottles of this wine for the world and Piggly Wiggly received 132 of them. Not only is it unique in itself, but try serving it with an untraditional holiday food.
“Specifically for this time of year I would do it with crab cakes. Everyone will quit talking for a second, because they’ll go down this tunnel vision of being in the moment.”Scott Atkinson
Interested? You better quit procrastinating, because there are only 30 bottles left! Snag yours at the Crestline location.
This sparkling rosé from Samur, France isn’t that same tired bottle of champagne you somehow always have sitting in the back of your cupboard. It boasts new flavors, but is still something everyone will like and appreciate for the different taste.
“It’s the kick off of the party. We look to find something that isn’t as ubiquitous, but more impactful.”Scott Atkinson
Don’t forget to check out Birmingham’s latest winery Finch Fine Wines in the Mountain Brook Plaza.