Holiday Wine Guide 23: Festive Wines And Glasses Of The Season

By Joseph DeAcetis Published: November 4 2023

Although Thanksgiving is the official lead-off to the holiday season, countless work events and social gatherings are already in full swing. There has never been a better time to taste good wines. And from a ($42) bottle of Dutton Ranch Chardonnay to ($91) Mille Notte, there’s a bottle to spark any occasion.

As a wine lover, I look forward to this time of year as people start thinking about the best wines to pair with suitable dishes for the holiday season.

To help make your holiday get-togethers simpler, the StyleLujo editors have had the privilege to sample and select a handful of the best wines for the festive season. I suggest you seek wines that pair well with the season dishes. 

When you’re hosting the event, suggests that you choose bottles that have enough structure and acidity to keep your tastebuds interested, alert, and excited for the next course. 

And if you have the type of guest that always seems to get tipsy too fast, opt for lower alcohol, no more than 15 percent ABV – so guests can enjoy the festivities in a cheerful holiday spirit.

Halter Ranch:

 Courtesy of Halter Ranch

Halter Ranch 2020 Ancestor (SRP: $85)Set along the westernmost boundaries of Paso Robles, California, surrounded by the wild, and wide-open Santa Lucia Mountain Range of the Central Coast, Halter Ranch is a 2,700-acre organic nature estate dedicated to land, art, and legendary terroir-driven wine made with the finest organic grapes. The emphasis on quality in the vineyard is complemented by a commitment to environmentally responsible grape-growing practices.
The Ancestor is the flagship red and the best example of what the terroir of the ranch has to offer. A blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Petit Verdot, 20% Malbec, this is a big, rich wine full of warmth. With aromas of blueberries, cassis, raspberry, and a touch of mocha from the new French oak, the entry is soft, rich, and mouth-coating with flavors of red currant and olallieberry. The juicy midpalate segues into a structured finish with integrated tannins complemented by flavors of the French oak. Pair with roasted meats, reduction sauces, Osso Bucco, and dark chocolate.  (14.8% ABV)


Image courtesy of Josephinenhütte

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Courtesy of Sonoma-Cutrer

Dutton Ranch Chardonnay is part of Sonoma-Cutrer’s annual Winemaker’s Release series. The Winemaker’s Release is a series of wines that showcases the brand’s commitment to artisan craftsmanship and showcases their unique, high-quality production practices. Known for their consistent and flavorful Chardonnay fruit, Dutton Ranch has been a long-time grower partner of Sonoma-Cutrer.  Dutton Ranch Chardonnay is vibrant and aromatic with scents of lightly baked apple, pie crust, melon, nectarine, clove, oak spice, and toasted sourdough bread with butter. Rich flavors of peach, oak spice, and baked apple appear on the palate. It is an elegantly structured wine with citrus-laced acidity and a lengthy, toasty oak finish. $42


Courtesy of Donnafugata

Mille Notte: ($91)

  • STYLE & BLEND: Red; Nero d’Avola, Petit Verdot, Syrah, and other grapes
  • PRODUCTION AREA: Contessa Entellina estate and neighboring territories, South Western Sicily
  • STORY: The crown jewel in Donnafugata’s portfolio. The palace shown on the label is the one where Queen Maria Carolina took refuge fleeing from Naples and was the favorite house of the writer Tomasi di Lampedusa in Santa Margherita Belice. Gabriella Anca Rallo – founder of Donnafugata, with her husband Giacomo – captures the image and embeds it into the sky from “Arabian Nights”, full of stars and full of promise. A tribute to the passionate masterpiece of oriental literature, capable of telling one thousand and one stories.
  • TASTING NOTES: intense ruby red in color. Presents a complex bouquet characterized by notes of red (cherry) and black (blackberry) fruits, fresh balsamic (eucalyptus) and spicy hints (black pepper) augmented by delicate nuances of vanilla. On the palate it is soft and enveloping, with great structure and tannins, which are mature and refined. It ends with a notable persistence.
  • FOOD PAIRINGS: Pair with slow-cooked rack of lamb, pappardelle with pork ragout, and roasts
  • SCORES: 96 points James Suckling (2018 vintage)

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