Did you know that more wine is sold in November than in December?

It's true! I doubt that people consider the Thanksgiving feast anymore wine-worthy than the Christmas feast, but rather that the holidays are upon us and we start drinking more wine at table as a rule.


There are parties. We stock up. And we start stocking up for all of our festive events in November.

Here are a few of my personal picks for 2011 in case you need some suggestions.

Gobble, gobble

The Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages 2009 ($12) is mellow and rich and mouth-filling with bright cranberry-pomegranate fruit. The consummate wine for holiday feasting, Beaujolais stands up to all manner of sweet and savory combinations at the table, and this is a good one at a very good price!

Santa Julia (+) Torrontés, 2010 Argentina ($10) is an exquisite rush of ruby grapefruit and honeysuckle with a chiseled clean-cut, steely finish. Priced to please and super food-friendly. Perfect for holiday sipping.

Carmens Electric

Looking to put a little zip and zing into the party? Serve up these taste-bud-tantalizing, high-acid whites.

Mohua Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Marlborough, New Zealand , ($14) is pure passion fruit. Its flavors are lush, ripe and exotic, wrapped around such a core of vibrant acidity that each sip makes the mouth water; positively stunning.

Brancott Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Marlborough, New Zealand, ($12) is key lime juice in a glass. Lime, lime and more lime.

Chimney Creek Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Marlborough, New Zealand, ($12) delivers fresh lemongrass, both tangy and tart.

Ponga Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Marlborough, New Zealand ($10) is all celery stick, with a hint of white grapefruit.

Bait and switch

Lagler Riesling "Spitzer Setzberg" Federspiel, Austria 2009 ($26). This wine dances across the palate with gossamer flavors of peaches and apricot then crushes you with its minerality. It's a monster masquerading as marquise. Drink with east Asian or Indian fare!

Tiny Bubbles


This year, try something new and novel. You won't be disappointed.

Childaine Montlouis Sur Loire Brut NV, France $24 This bubbly explodes with roasted nuts and green pear. The finish is clean, dry, crisp and taste-bud tingling. It's a natural with the fresh flavors of sushi, but it also makes for a stunning breakfast/brunch bubbly.

Banfi Rosa Regale NV, Italy ($19): This sweet, red sparkling wine is the perfect foil to chocolate desserts and magnificent with chocolate fruit fondue. This is what you should be drinking on New Year's Eve at midnight when the savory fare is tucked away and dessert is on the table. The grape is Piedmont's brachetto, and its berry fruit and "scentoxicating" aroma will wow you!

Match made in Heaven

French poet, Leon-Paul Fargue said, "I love oysters. It's like kissing the sea on the lips." Fuel the passion with a chilled bottle of Drouhin Chablis 2009 ($23). It's a deliciously refreshing chardonnay (with no oak). And it's as steely and mineral as they come, with a good lacing of green apple fruit. Pithy, tart, gooood!

Walk on the wild side

Casa Ferreirinha Esteva 2009, Douro, Portugal ($11): This luscious little number is full of blackberry fruit and violet perfume, and finishes with dark chocolate. It's a blend of tinta roriz (tempranillo), touriga franca and tinta barroca, all three of which are found in spirit-laced port. This wine is dry, though, and Capt. Jack Sparrow exotic.

The Peter Lehmann Barossa Valley Shiraz 2008 ($15) is a liquid red licorice stick. The 14.5 percent alcohol is deceptively hidden midst the subtle cherry fruit and supple cocoa tannins. It's a big wine, though, make no mistake about it. It is as concentrated as an amarone and possesses the same corresponding — and compelling — bittersweet finish.

Tait Barossa Valley Ball Buster 2009 ($22): This monster is a shiraz/cabernet sauvignon/merlot blend and clocks in at 15 percent, according to the label, but it possesses an almost port-like quality and tastes more akin to a brandied cherry liquor without the sugar. It is guaranteed to put hair on your chest and have you swinging from the trees like Tarzan in short shrift. The tannins are soft as satin. The fruit jammy and succulent. It's the alcohol that's, well, the ball buster.

Gift that keeps on giving

Antinori Tignanello 2007 ($77): This super-Tuscan is as "knife and fork" as they come. Big. Bold. Chewy tannins. Ripe berry fruit. A touch of tar. It's a prize-fighter.

Bertani Villa Arvedi Amarone 2006 ($60): A spicy and rich red with sun-dried plum-cherry fruit laced with chocolate. The tannins are satin-smooth, and the alcohol is in perfect balance. It is an extraordinary amarone, neither hot and brandied nor characterized by rusticity and volatile acidity.