The holidays are time to raise a glass and celebrate. Whether you’re gathering with family for Thanksgiving, getting a group of friends together for a holiday party, or toasting the new year with a significant other, the right wine can elevate your evening or leave you—and your guests—with a literal sour taste in your mouth. No matter the occasion or price range, there’s a wine perfectly fermented to help you impress your guests this holiday season. Here are some occasion-by-occasion recommendations from local wine experts. Cheers!
For the Thanksgiving / Friendsgiving Feasts
Pip Pinot Noir, 2014
The Pip is a bright, fragrant wine with tastes of cherry and cinnamon and hints of smoky vanilla. This medium-bodied wine has a juicy finish and as with most pinot noirs, tends to be more complex. “They have a little bit of a subtle earthiness to them, and the turkey has a similar flavor,” says Duane Johnson, wine consultant at CoalTrain Wine and Spirits.
Price Range: $20 – $25
Domaine Pavelot Savigny-Les-Beaune, 1er Cru La Dominode, 2014
This Burgundy is lighter and delicate, and this specific wine is a fair price for its type and from this producer. French burgundy is actually made from pinot noir grapes, but with different techniques. “Thanksgiving is a special occasion, and this is a special wine,” says Jim Smith, co-owner of CoalTrain Wine and Spirits.
Pairs Best With: Turkey pairs well with a pinot noir from California or Burgundy because it isn’t a red or chewy meat, and it won’t overpower the wine.
Price Range: $60 – $65
For the Holiday Party or Post-Christmas Light Viewing
Patrick Bottex “La Cueille”
A deep rosé sparkling wine from Northeastern France, this wine has an off-dry style, refreshing red berry flavors and low alcohol content. “Having a wine on hand that is a crowd-pleaser captures the true spirit of the holidays, and Bugey-Cerdon does just that in a festive way,” says Valerie Caruso, wine educator and co-host of the Wine Two Five Podcast.
Pairs Best With: This wine is perfect for a holiday party because it goes so well with sweet treats. Whether it’s sipped with a Christmas cookie, a nibble of fudge or brie topped with fruit compote, it complements a well-presented appetizer or dessert table.
Price Range: $20 – $25
For Christmas Dinner
RomBauer Carneros Chardonnay
Chardonnay tends to be a popular crowd-pleaser with generally buttery and oaky flavors. “This doesn’t have huge that vanilla bomb but tastes more citrusy, more earthy,” says Jarod Boyer, sommelier at The Penrose Room at The Broadmoor.
Pairs Best With: Because of its buttery taste, chardonnay goes well with anything featuring butter. Something simple, such as chicken skewers, is good, but if you’re looking to elevate your Christmas dinner, Boyer says lobster makes a great pairing.
Price Range: $35 – $40
For the New Year’s Toast
Zardetto Prosecco Brut
Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine that’s becoming wildly popular, especially among millennials. This particular prosecco is affordable, making it great to have for the whole party—not just for the midnight toast. “It doesn’t have a huge amount of flavor—it’s got a lot of really light refreshing notes,” Boyer says.
Pairs Best With: Because this wine is so light, it tastes best with more delicate hor d’oeuvres, such as shrimp cocktail. Italian finger foods go well too, but it’s best to avoid big red sauces or anything with aggressive flavors.
Price Range: $15 – $20