Tell me why I have 274897 things to do before the new year, including tons and tons of parties and other commitments. Want to get on my calendar? See you in the new year. (Eye roll emoji). Because of all these endless commitments, I recommend stocking up on some solid wines. Bringing a bottle to wherever you are going is always a clutch move (unless it’s, like, to work, or something… then it’s just like “you have a problem, Natalie” or whatever.)
Here are some of my favorite wines and the appropriate events to bring them to.
1. The party with the fam
If your family is anything like mine, you’re going to need a
little large glass of wine. JK, my fam is fine; we just like wine.
Whether you’re at Thanksgiving lunch, Christmas Eve dinner or even just Sunday dinner, a good bottle of wine goes a long way. Typically, my family loves a a 1.5-liter of Chardonnay, which always just feels wrong to me during the winter and fall seasons. (Also — not the biggest fan of Chardonnay!) However, it’s Houston, and chilled white wine is always in season.
So, for my fam, I’d bring the Black Stallion’s Chardonnay because family, especially during the holidays, is about compromise. I don’t really like Chardonnay, but I will bring the best chardonnay I’ve ever had.
This wine is NOT your usual “buttery” (gag me, in what world should wine be “buttery”??!!) chardonnay. It reminds me more of a pinot grigio, but not overtly! There are some tones of vanilla and green apple (which is why I think it resembles a grigio!)
2. The Friendsgiving
If your friends are anything like mine, you don’t need nothing fancy for your parties. We’re talking grocery store box wine occasionally used to slap the bag but mostly used for a boozy sangria.
However, Friendsgiving is not a usual party of yours, so you do need some semblance of fancy. You know, pull out all the stops at your pot luck, but no one’s checking labels.
That’s kind of what Zac Brown’s wine label is like. It’s good and looks p legit, but it’s not going to break the bank.
Z. Alexander Brown’s Uncaged is a pinot noir that’s sweet but smooth with the classic pinot noir fruitiness and oak.
3. The housewarming
What is with everyone moving lately?! Or is it just me? Maybe it’s just that time in my life where everyone settles down, gets married, buys a house or upgrades their studio apartment to a two-bedroom luxury apartment. Nine times out of ten, this move — upwards or otherwise — includes a party of some sort.
Big fan of parties, but I gotta tell you, I have one rule about housewarmings (or any house party celebrating a major event): You can’t come empty handed. Now, I don’t mean BYOB. If you’re going to drink, you better bring something to drink or contribute to the bar. However, if it’s a bday or housewarming or something, you ALSO gotta bring a gift or something. I find that wine is the gift that keeps on giving because it can be a nice gift for later or it can be drank during the evening.
Houston-based Nice Winery is my new favorite wine brand, and their 2012 Malbec Reserve was the Reserve Grand Champion at the 2017 Houston Rodeo Uncorked event. It raised THOUSANDS of dollars for scholarships, so sip the yummiest Malbec you’ll ever try with great conscience.
4. The Bridal Brunch
I’m pretty confused when “wedding season” is. Is there a specific set of months where weddings are more likely to occur? If it is, when exactly is it, because I assume it’s NOT during the winter. I have TWO this winter within a month of each other coming complete with showers, bachelorettes and more.
Again, I love a good party, and bridal showers and bridal brunches are a completely different animal with champagne, finger sandwiches, penifores, etc. Basically, anything girly goes. This seems so appropriate to me. You’re getting married and everything in your home is about to be half-manly, so let’s enjoy some feminine things for a sec.
Castello del Poggio’s Sweet Rose is feminine af. A. It’s very sweet. B. It’s pink. It’s very fruity with notes of cantaloupe, white peach, pomegranate and more — those are, like, the most girly fruits, right?? If SUPER sweet isn’t your thing, I would add some sparkling water and make it like a wine spritzer.
5. The wine and whine girls’ night
Let’s talk about my book club for a sec. It’s a monthly meeting with 5 of my friends that is 1 part eating and wine-ing, 1 part whining and 1 part talking about the book we’ve all read (or attempted to read). That last part is pretty small most meetings, if I’m being really honest.
The MVPs of book club are actually the wine — typically prosecco, but the occasional pinot noir or white — and the whining — whether it be about work, boys, etc. I super love and cherish this girl time, and make it a priority to be able to attend or reschedule. Wine and whining is v important!
When we aren’t drinking a La Marca prosecco (which is always, there is always at least one bottle!!), I like to mix it up and bring a favorite of mine: Sauvignon blanc. Noble Vines’s 242 Sauvignon Blanc has got some fruity sweet tones (citrus, peach, melon) but is still sour and kinda dry. I love it! Easy to drink — but not, like, TOO easy, ya feel? Ya feel.
6. The gift wrapping party
A gift wrapping party can be a whole shebang where our moms/aunts/girlfriends all come together to share wrapping papers and gift bags as we prepare our presents for their big day: Christmas. In this case, cases of wine are required because wine not?? You’re working hard, wrapping away, and need a treat! Or, this gift wrapping party could be a party of one: You in your living room slicing paper and sticking tape. Another occasion that needs wine.
I’ve gotten into this habit of telling people off about rose. It starts with someone saying, “I don’t like rose — it’s too sweet,” which follows with me saying, “There are TONS of different types of rose — would you say all white wines are too sweet? No, some are dry and varied!!” And typically ends with me talking their unsuspecting ear off about rose wine variations. Oops. OK, but I must be the defender of rose. Someone’s gotta do it.
Noble Vines 515 Rose is one of those rose wines that might get overlooked for fear of being too sweet, but it’s actually a fruity wine more kin to a Grigio than a riesling or something. Give it a try and enjoy!
7. The White Elephant
Everyone and their cousin — or, if you’re like me, WITH your cousins — is doing a white elephant every year for Christmas. I completely get why: It’s cheaper than buying gifts for all your friends or family members and the gift giving is a party activity itself, full of entertainment and the occasional end of friendships (DON’T YOU STEAL MY CROCKPOT!).
Might I suggest a new type of white elephant? A WINE ELEPHANT! Where everyone brings a $15-$20 bottle of wine (or more, depending on your budget), and everyone fights over the one with the prettiest labels (no, just me?). It’d probably be a little more tame than the “joke gift” white elephant, but everyone gets a yummy wine.
Whether you’re doing a WINE elephant or just bringing wine to a holiday party, Diora’s La Petite Grace Pinot Noir is perfect. With it’s wax seal, it looks way more fancier than its price tag suggests, but it tastes YUM. If you sniff and sip, you’ll smell and taste black cherries and a little bit of mocha.
8. The New Year’s Darty
Another darty, another sweet wine recommendation. (Mom, or someone else unfamiliar with the term: “Darty” = “Day Party.”)
You’ll probably be hungover and sick of champagne come new year’s day, but you’re not going to not drink, right? Technically, new year’s resolutions start January 2 — it’s in the rulebook.
I’m honestly not the biggest sweet wine fan, but I like Castello del Poggio’s Moscato. It’s just peachy and has a honey taste to it. It, like the other Castello del Poggio wine, also would be good for a wine spritz, so try adding some club soda or La Croix. Actually probably would be pretty refreshing for your hangover.