4 Wines For Elevated Holiday Entertaining
When it comes to holiday entertaining, selecting the perfect wine can feel daunting to some. Whether your goal is a wine that complements your meal or one that enhances the food’s flavors, we’ve got you. Here’s our list of the local standouts you should be serving and savoring this holiday season.
While the ultimate experience would involve a winter escape to the Art Coast, where you could visit each winery for a tasting, other purchasing options are available.
Michigan Wine Co. 2021 Rosé
The 2021 Rosé from Michigan Wine Co. is a bold semi-dry rosé that will appeal to both red and white wine lovers alike. Awarded a bronze medal at the 2022 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, this wine is comprised of a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (67%) and Cabernet Franc (33%) grapes grown at the Gabrielow Vineyard located in the Fennville AVA. Made in the saignée style, a method where only free run juice from crushed grapes is used without pressing, this wine features a unique deep ruby color without the over-extraction of bitterness that can result from a press cycle.
Featuring notes of rhubarb, ripe strawberry, and citrus, this medium body wine is ideally served chilled. Saignée wines are fairly versatile when it comes to food pairings, and this one is no exception. It’s the perfect wine to kickstart any holiday meal, pairing well with cured meats like salami and prosciutto. It’s also a wonderful way to end the festivities, as it complements a wide array of leftovers. Purchase directly from the Michigan Wine Co. tasting room or online at https://www.michiganwineco.com/wine-cider.
Modales 2021 El Suelo Red Blend
With terroir as its guide, Modales continues to cultivate an innovative catalogue of wines, including this lively 2021 El Suelo (meaning The Earth) Red Blend. Made from 44% Pinot Noir, 32% Chambourcin, and 24% Blaufrankish grapes, this wine has a light-medium body and vibrant acidity reminiscent of a Beaujolais or Zweigelt. The three different grape varietals were grown from three different vineyards in the Lake Michigan Shore AVA. Each varietal was fermented separately in neutral French oak barrels before blended in a large stainless steel tank to preserve the vibrant fruit characteristics of the wine. The result is harmonious, nuanced, and fruit-forward, making it a welcome addition to your holiday table.
Featuring notes and aromas of baking spice, sour cherry, and blackberry, this wine pairs exceptionally well with smoked turkey, roasted lamb chops, barbecued meats, or a hearty goulash. The 2021 El Suelo Red Blend can be purchased at the Modales winery or online at https://modaleswines.com/collection/wines/.
Crane’s Winery Merlot 2020
Crane’s Winery has successfully translated over a hundred years of skillful fruit-growing traditions into the art of winemaking. Their Merlot 2020 is made with grapes grown in the Fennville AVA and aged for 8 months in medium toasted French oak barrels. It earned a gold medal and best-of-class award at the International Eastern Wine Competition (East meets West) in 2022, receiving 94 points. This Merlot is a smoky, full-bodied dry wine featuring tasting notes of black cherry, raspberry, plum, cedar, sweet tobacco, blackberry, licorice, vanilla, clove, mocha, and earthy flavors.
With a moderate tannin and acidity, it can be paired with a wide variety of foods for your holiday table, including beef—particularly roast beef and filet mignon—roast chicken, lamb, roast pork and pork loin, garlic, mushrooms, berries, and fruit, particularly red fruit sauces. For a cheese plate or charcuterie board, pair this delightful merlot with Blue, Gorgonzola, and Cheddar cheeses. Pick up a bottle (or several) directly from Crane’s Restaurant & Winery in Fennville.
Fenn Valley True Chardonnay
For white wine fans, the True Chardonnay from Fenn Valley Vineyards is an unoaked dry white wine processed entirely in stainless steel to reveal the natural taste of the Chardonnay grape and allow the fruit to be the centerpiece. This well-balanced wine features notes of crisp apples and peaches and avoids the typical heavy, toasty, buttery, and vanilla flavors found with Chardonnay that’s been fermented in oak barrels.
For those embracing the lighter side of a traditional holiday meal, the fresh fruit character and bracing crispness of this Chardonnay allow it to better complement less heavy entrees. Pair this flavorful wine with fish, chicken, pork, or vegetables served naked or dressed in simple, light sauces. Fenn Valley’s True Chardonnay can be purchased at the winery, from better wine merchants throughout Michigan, and online at https://www.fennvalley.com/product/true-chardonnay/.