Now that Halloween is said and done, holiday planning is in full effect. From favorites to serve at holiday parties to must-get Thanksgiving hostess gifts, winemaker Robert Blue of Bonterra Organic Vineyards offers up some festive holiday wine tips.
What wines make the best hostess gift? When considering a wine for a hostess gift, it’s not only about what kind of wine the host or hostess likes, the budget you had in mind, but also about their style of entertaining. Do they set a formal table with placecards and multiple plated courses? Then gift a wine with the same level of detail and nuance, like Bonterra “The McNab” 2013 (or for people you want to impress, the re-release of “The McNab” 2007). If they’re more into family-style dining, an easy-drinking varietal wine, like Bonterra Chardonnay 2016, will feel right at home with its fresh fruit flavors, and screwcap for easy serving.
What is a failsafe option if you’re not sure what type of wine the gift-getter likes? If you’re not sure what kind of wine your recipient prefers, a failsafe choice is a classic varietal wine, such as the Bonterra Pinot Noir. It’s a smooth wine that will pair with most dishes, from chicken to red meats, fish and vegetables, like mushrooms. It’s rich, with soft tannins and berry, vanilla, and spice flavors that fade into a lovely, long finish.
What are some festive holiday wines? The most festive wines, in my opinion, are the wines that tell a story and enhance the occasion! Bonterra Pinot Noir and Chardonnay both pair well with a range of fall and winter dishes, both having a medium body, fresh fruit aromas, and balanced acidity. Made with organic grapes and sustainable practices, wines from Bonterra are expressive of the Mendocino terroir, and of the farmers who work to produce them and support the native plant and animal species that live among the vines.
What is the best way to wrap wine as to not ruin it? The easiest (and most eco-friendly) thing to do is pick a bottle with a good-looking label so that you don’t have to wrap it at all! A ribbon or gift tag around the neck adds an elegant and festive touch, and won’t get in the way should the host decide to open the bottle right away.
What are your rules of thumb for purchasing wine as a gift? The bottle you choose to gift should be informed by the occasion. If it’s a large party or event, maybe bring one bottle for your host to hold on to and enjoy on a quiet evening—like Bonterra “The Roost” biodynamic Chardonnay, which has spent nearly a decade developing nuanced aromas and flavors to be savored. For a larger group, pick a bottle that everyone will enjoy—like Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc 2016 or, because rosé has no season, Bonterra Rosé 2016.
What are your thoughts on wine-of-the-month clubs? Who doesn’t want to receive new wine on their doorstep each month? Wine-of-the-month clubs are a great way to discover new wines from favorite producers, and offer the best prices on wines directly from the winery. At Bonterra, we run our wine club on a quarterly schedule, to usher in each new season with hand-selected wines delivered right to your recipient’s (or your own!) door.