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It’s true for so many of us. When the calendar rolls to mid-November we get into a bit of a festive fury don’t we? Parties, presents, pumpkin pies. And though we feel that time is never on our side, we still try to put a little more panache into everything we do. Why do we work ourselves into such a lather? Because it’s the holidays and we want to make nice memories. Or we thrive on self-torture. We’re baking more than usual and cooking richer, heavier, meals. We’re polishing the china (wait, does this still happen?) Our homes are cleaner and smell better in case we get the last minute drop-in. We’re more charitable; we share more of our time, our money and our gratitude with those around us. Hectic, yes. But it’s a beautiful thing.

Typically your tender holiday gatherings are bound to involve a cocktail, and the holiday table and fuzzy sock reunion around the fire afterward are oft enjoyed with a glass of wine. And in spirited fashion, your wine offerings may not be selections that you’d purchase for everyday consumption (remember, the extra panache thing?) Here are a couple selections that rise to the holiday occasion that you can be proud to tuck in a stocking, present as a hostess gift or pour at your party.

Estancia Meritage

This wine is smooth and rich. It’s a Bordeaux blend, meaning its primary grape varietals are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This is a style that’s easy to drink and familiar to many red wine drinkers. It’s velvety with flavors of ripe fruit and notes of French vanilla and chocolate. Red blends are super-hot right now and this one is such a yummy, special wine. It’s a great versatile food wine too—pair next to roast, steak or even lamb.

Mount Veeder

This Cabernet is gorgeous. Its generous body and deep flavors of mocha, tobacco and cassis make it an unbelievable pairing with a nice filet. Cabernet Sauvignon, especially from California, is a really wise choice for gifts. Consumers may be more familiar with domestic wines, and (even better yet) may have travelled to that particular winery. Want to really be a hero? If your recipient has done some winery travel, gift him or her with a Reserve selection from that winery. You’ll probably get a couple complimentary babysitting sessions or mowed lawns out of that deal. (Of course, it’s better to give than to receive, but if you totally nail the gift, then why not reap the reward?)

And in spirited fashion, your wine offerings may not be selections that you’d purchase for everyday consumption (remember, the extra panache thing?)

Ruffino Orvieto

Speaking to the popularity of blends, this one is ideal for the white wine drinker. It’s a blend of Italian grapes from a quaint little hillside village near Tuscany called Orvieto, which lends its name to the wine itself. Ruffino Orvieto is a fruity, floral blend with just a touch of acidity and a lasting finish that hints of almond. This wine would be really nice paired with all those cocktail party foods—crostini with roasted tomatoes and shaved parmesan drizzled with olive oil or thinly sliced prosciutto topped with torn basil. Oh, and bring me some figgy pudding; this wine pairs beautifully with dessert.

These are just a few suggestions that you can really feel good about giving and even better about drinking. Enjoy your holiday season and as always, cheers.

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