6 Wines to Gift the Holiday Host

Struggling to find the perfect wine to bring to a party? Here’s some help

It happens to all of us. Invited to a friend or family member’s holiday gathering, we are bestowed with a responsibility of vital importance: choosing a bottle of wine to gift to your host. The options are as endless as the holiday season; since most of us are unsure whether the host will open it for other guests, save it for dinner, or keep it hidden for personal enjoyment, it can be extremely difficult to pick just the right one.

That struggle is real for everyone, so to give you a little confidence in your choice we enlisted the opinions of Zachys vice president and wine entrepreneur Andrew McMurray, as well as world-renowned wine expert Kevin Zraly. Let their expert opinions guide you on the way to holiday cheer.


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• A quick word of advice from Zraly is to “try “user-friendly” wines: easy-drinking, inexpensive wines from reliable producers. That way you have a greater chance of pleasing everyone if the bottle is opened during the festivities. In that case, he recommends trying a Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc from Chile, retailing at $11. “This 92 percent Sauvignon Blanc and 8 percent Semillon is a pale lime yellow wine with notes of pear and peach with a pleasant roundness and long lasting finish.”


• On the red side, Zraly suggested a Catena Malbec from Argentina. “This 100 percent Malbec has grapes from four different vineyards blended at different times. It has a dark fruit character with black cherry aromas and explosive floral aromatics. Retails $20.”


• For McMurray, the Toscaia 2015 (98LM) is a “hidden gem and guaranteed to satisfy all oenophiles. Full of fruit and lots of complexity.  It is very versatile and will pair with all types of food.” At only $19.99, it’s friendly on any holiday budget.

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• “From the oldest wine house in Champagne, the Gosset Excellence Brut NV (92WS), is a refreshing, celebratory wine,” says McMurray. “This is a rich, layered Champagne with poached apple and pear, and almond cream flavors. It has enough snap to serve as a toast when guests arrive, but enough body to go with grilled red meat or a salmon dinner.”


• The Au Bon Climat Chardonnay from Santa Barbara is a classic for Zraly, He’s been serving it at his wine school for more than 20 years. “Medium style” and “easy to drink,” the notes of “crisp apple, kiss of oak and long fruit finish” will bring a smile to your host’s lips. 

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If you’re looking for something that’s a little more elegant, check out the Taittinger Nocturne “City Lights” Sec NV. “It’s hard not to notice the festive “City Lights” bottle, but it’s what is on the inside that counts most, right? With a little touch of sugar, this sweet ‘sec’ champagne has aromas of white flowers, yellow peach and dried apricots.  This is perfect to enjoy as your holiday night is winding down, with a dessert or late in the evening.”

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