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Cheers! Try These Wines for the Holidays

When shopping for wine, visit a local wine shop where experts are on hand to help you select the perfect vintage.

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Patch asked three local wine experts what they would recommend for holiday gift giving and was suprised to get the same answer.

“What do they like to drink?”

In the world of wine, there’s no one perfect bottle. The best gift wine is given with ample thought towards the recipient. Do they like sweet dessert wines or a bold Cabernet Sauvignon? Would they like a bottle from a far away land, or one from their favorite local Missouri winery?

When pushed, wine experts will reluctantly give a few recommendations. But they’d much rather talk with you in person where they can show you around the shop and point out popular or underappreciated wines.

Straub’s (Town and Country, Clayton, Webster Groves)

“The hottest category in wines are pinot gris from Oregon,” said Chris Young from Straub's. He suggests giving Raptor Ridge, Pinot Gris Willamette Valley, a 2009 vintage for $35.49. It received a 93 point score from Wine Spectator.

Other suggestions from Straub’s:

  • River Road, Chardonnay Unoaked, 2011, from California. A Straub’s exclusive. $12.99.
  • Foris, Gewurztraminer, 2010, from Oregon. $12.29.
  • Gosford, Reserve Shiraz, 2010, from Australia. $8.49.
  • Volver, Tempranillo, 2010, from Spain. $15.99
  • Solitude, Carneros Chardonnay, 2010, from California. $31.99.
  • Robert Sinskey, POV, 2008, from California. $39.99.
  • Ramey, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009. $59.99.

Struab's also has list of 20 Wines Under $20 on their website if you’d like more suggestions.

Randall's Wine and Spirits in Manchester

Be sure to stop in with any of your wine questions. The store offers a knowledgeable staff to help you pick the perfect wine for any occasion.

Grapevine Wine and Cheese in Kirkwood

“Go red for the holidays,” said Bob Gray of Grapevine Wine and Cheese. “Play it safe and buy something with mass appeal.” Gray also warns gift givers to avoid shopping by looking at the labels because a wine with a pretty label isn’t necessary better than a wine with a plain label.

Three Suggestions from Grapevine Wine:

  • The Ned, Pinot Gris, 2011, from New Zealand. $13.99.
  • Susana Balbo, Malbec, 2010, from Argentina. $23.99.
  • Chaumette, Reserve, 2010 from Missouri. $25.99.

Grapevine Wine offers also offers wine tastings and classes to educate customers about wines.

Friar Tucks (Fenton, Crestwood, O'Fallon)

“It’s more a case of what you and your friends enjoy,” said Jim McAvoy of Friar Tucks, a Midwest chain of liquor super stores. McAvoy said that one year searched forty websites looking for a consensus on holiday wines and could find none. He suggests finding out what will be served for dinner before picking out a wine, then asking a wine expert to help match a wine to the side dishes.

  • Mason Louis Jadot, Beaujolais Villages, from France. $9.99.

Wine With a Cause

If you want to give wine to an animal lover, then you might want to check out Nicholson Jones Wines. The California winery is co-owned by Pam Nicholson, the president of Enterprise Rent-a-Car here in St. Louis. Nicholson is also on the board of the Missouri Humane Society. She is combining her two passions by making a contribution to the local humane society for each bottle sold until December 31, 2012.

You can find Nicholson Jones wines at Schnucks (Chesterfield, Frontenac, Ladue, Richmond Heights, Des Peres); Straub’s (Clayton, Webster Groves, Central West End), Wine Merchant, Ltd.; The Wine & Cheese Place; Ladue Market; Lukas Liquors; Grapevine Wines; and St. Louis Wine Market.

What do you think? What are your favorite holiday selections? Where are some good local places to grab your choice red or white? Tell us in the Comments.

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