• Seasonal

Wines to Make the Season Merry and Bright

By Ellen Bhang · 12/01/2021

Some bottles are so vivacious and full of life that they feel like gifts. That’s certainly true for this trio of pours, crafted by winegrowers who reside in wildly different places—northeastern Italy, the San Francisco Bay Area, and southern France, to be exact. What all of these makers share is a fearless commitment to crafting real wine, their way. No mad scientist manipulations here. Just pure and delicious expressions of the land, perfect for this season of giving.

The bottle: I Clivi “RBL” Brut Nature
Price: Around $30
The wine in words: Friuli winegrowers Ferdinando Zanusso and his son Mario could turn out more bottles than they do, but that would go against their ethos of low yields in the vineyard and gentle-as-possible pressing of grapes. The bright, nuanced qualities of ribolla gialla are captured in this platinum-hued sparkler full of lemon, crunchy peach, and an irresistible salty tang.
Pair like a pro: Ring in the new year with this bubbly, then uncork another for brunch the next day.
Where to buy: Bacco’s Wine + Cheese, Boston, 617.574.1751, baccoswineandcheese.com
Distributed in Massachusetts by: Giannoni Selections

The bottle: Donkey & Goat Ramato Pinot Gris 2016
Price: Around $33
The wine in words: Jared Brandt credits his wife and fellow winemaker, Tracey, for dubbing this orange wine “Funkytown.” The Berkeley-based couple, riffing on the northern Italian ramato style, macerates biodynamically grown pinot gris on the skins for up to five days, resulting in a coppery color and an intriguing texture, with blossoms, tea, and citrus pith on the palate.
Pair like a pro: Ask your local cheesemonger for an aged, Alpine-style wedge, like a “Mountaineer” from Virginia’s Meadow Creek Dairy.
Where to buy: The Cheese Shop of Salem, Salem, 978.498.4820, thecheeseshopofsalem.com
Distributed in Massachusetts by: Charles River Wine Company

The bottle: Vignoble Réveille “Ultra Violet” 2013
Price: Around $28
The wine in words: Winegrower France Crispeels is every bit as energetic as everyone says she is. That verve and generosity show up in her wines, crafted from the 20 acres of organic vineyards she tends in rugged Roussillon, in the French south, an hour’s drive from the Spanish border. This ruby-purple pour is fragrant with dark fruits, field flowers, and something savory, like rare meat. Insisting on gentle vinification and aging in concrete, her wines are supple—she calls them “tender”—an amalgam of soft yet strong.
Pair like a pro: Syrah loves steak, and steak loves it back—but this lovely red will harmonize with most warming winter meals.
Where to buy: The Wine Press, Brookline, 617.277.7020, winepressbrookline.com
Distributed in Massachusetts by: Mise

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Sign up for our weekly newsletters for curated guides, can't-miss dishes, restaurant recommendations, and more.

Enter Email