Wine Culture Magazine

Trère 2019 Albano Seccor ‘Arlus’ pairs nicely with festive canapés. Supplied photo

A departure from the predictable can make a holiday meal even more memorable. Consider gracing your holiday table with these unique—and affordable—tastes firmly rooted in the European tradition, with ties to the land where vines have been grown for centuries.

A perfect reception wine, Trerè Albano Secco ‘Arlus’ 2019 hails from the ancient hills of Romagna’s historic Faenza. Made from 100 percent Albana, it’s crisp, citrus and mineral toned, and pairs nicely with festive canapés such as smoked salmon and capers.

For more substantial seafood, and shellfish such as lobster and crab, look no further than northwest Spain’s Rías Baixas, where Albariño is the ideal match for what’s widely regarded as some of the best seafood anywhere in the world. From O Rosal, in the temperate south, Adegas Valmiñor Davila 2020 is a blend of mainly Albariño, with Loureiro and Treixadura, grown on sandy, alluvial and granitic soils close to the mouth of the River Minho. A more complex style yields floral and tropical aromas plus herbal hints and distinct minerality.

Cabernet Franc may not immediately spring to mind immediately as the perfect turkey wine, but this mild mannered cousin to Cab. Sauv. can prove to be a popular partygoer. Biodynamic-grown, hand-harvested Domaine de L’R Le Canal des Grands Pièces 2019 hails from the Loire Valley—the cradle of Cabernet Franc. Medium-bodied with approachable tannins, its gently spicy and plush, fruity style is a good match for cranberry sauce while not overpowering the white (or dark) meat.

If beef is the centrepiece, Sangiovese is happy to oblige, often with spice and savoury elements. From Romagna (where it’s indigenous), organic Chiara Condello Sangiovese Predappio 2018 sports complex layers of wild strawberries, herb, pepper and anise with a streak of acidity, a mineral core and measured oak.

A good Duero will also do justice to your roast beef (although in Spain the dish is more likely to be lamb). And, if any remains—a taste pairs well with stronger hard cheeses, including, of course Manchego, or aged Cheddar, among others. From the heart of the Duero (and a winery dating back 70 years) Bodega Sarmentero Roble 2019 is a dry, medium-full bodied red with dark berry notes wrapped in balanced fruit and acidity through a lingering finish.

One final thought? Santé! Cin-cin! Salud!

—and Happy Holidays!

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