Holiday Wine Picks for PA Wine & Spirits

11 years ago by Tim

I thought I'd do a post with my holiday wine picks for fellow PA residents, because while our selection can be more limited in some ways, there are some serious gems to be found in the Chairman's Program.

2010 Simi Chardonnay Reserve Russian River Valley. Simi is a large producer and I'm generally not quick to recommend them - but their Reserve Chardonnay is probably one of the better wines they make, and this is an absolute steal. Consider that their base-level bottling of Sonoma Chardonnay retails in the Wine & Spirits stores for $17.99, and this wine normally sells for $26. If you're looking for a nice bottle of more traditional California Chardonnay for holiday parties at a great price ($15.99), this is the one to get.

2010 Simonnet-Febvre Chablis 1er Cru. If you are looking to move beyond California style Chardonnay, this Chablis will do the trick. Chablis is the northernmost region in Burgundy, and these wines are 100% chardonnay with a distinct "flinty" or "steely" element. As with many Chablis, the minerality on this wine is killer. This wine is unoaked, so it's a good middle-ground for a group of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay drinkers. Very reasonably priced for a wine of this quality, it's great with seafood.

2011 Domaine Darnat Chardonnay La Jumalie. Drink this next to the Chablis I suggested previously, and you'll think it's a buttery oak-monster. However, drink it next to your favorite bottle of California chardonnay (I'm looking at you, Kendall Jackson drinkers) and I think you'll really appreciate the restraint in this wine. The oak is present, but not overpowering, and the creaminess of this wine settles any hints of oakiness. It’s surprisingly fresh and vibrant and a great buy for $14.99 - a nice option if you want to impress your friends without breaking the bank. 

2011 Lieb Pinot Blanc. I've discussed this wine here before, but it's worth mentioning again because I've seen a lot of it still sitting on the shelves, which is an absolute shame. Look, I get it – Long Island is not a well-known winemaking region, and Pinot Blanc is not a well-known varietal. But do yourself a favor and pick up a bottle of this, and I think you'll love this wine. Alsatian style with lovely floral notes and loads of acidity – a food friendly wine that’s a great starter to pair with those holiday appetizers and a creative alternative to those higher priced sparklers. You'll be hard-pressed to find another wine of this quality at this price. If you are still in doubt, it’s perhaps important to note that this wine is a consistent favorite amongst some of NYC’s top sommeliers and wine directors and graces their lists for good reason. 

2008 Bacio Divino Pazzo. For a more moderately priced red, pick up a bottle of this. The Pazzo is a Sangiovese-based blend from Napa Valley and is a real crowd-pleaser and a great party wine. Spicy, with a good amount of fruit and a surprisingly smooth finish. Robert Parker himself recently scored this a 90, calling it "one of the best values in Napa" - and this is based on the $32 release cost, not the $14.99 you'll be paying.

2006 Cougar Crest Reserve Syrah. I've heard some mixed reviews on this wine. I opened this for Tara and our friend Will before a recent Syrah dinner and served it to them blind – they both thought it was an excellent wine and I would have to agree. Full bodied, peppery and a distinct oaky component - this is a big wine, almost cab-like. Nice choice to pair with your main course at holiday dinners. (SKU 33061)

2005 Husic Cabernet. If you're looking for a special bottle for Christmas dinner or as a gift, this is an absolutely phenomenal bottle of wine. It's a smooth, creamy Napa Cabernet (100%) with distinctively textured dark fruit. The creaminess is balanced nicely by a sharp dose of acidity and well-integrated tannins. It's a well-rounded wine with voluptuous fruit - think Marilyn Monroe or (perhaps more appropriately) Kim Kardashian.  It's got a little bit of bottle age and is drinking very nicely now, but should lend itself to ageing well for another decade at least. While Husic may be a somewhat lesser known name than Caymus or Silver Oak, this bottle will blow them away. Show your friends you care this holiday season with this stunner.

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload 🗙