Drink in the New Tree-Trimming Tradition
While tree trimming is a holiday tradition, it can be one fancy, tinsel-stringed chore. Don’t worry. Our editors have selected eight elixirs to match the tasks on your decorating to-do list. These pours promise to make decking out your house much more merry.
Untangling the Christmas Lights
This annual challenge requires a wine that can calm nerves as you tackle knot after infuriating knot. Reach for a bottle of Valdelacierva’s 2011 Crianza Tempranillo ($17), hailing from Rioja. Remember what this season is all about as you enjoy bright red-fruit aromas and spice, and savor holiday flavors of vanilla, spice and even mellow tobacco notes.
Garnishing Gingerbread Houses
There’s nothing better than spackling graham-cracker homes with scoops of frosting and candy, except pairing the project with a light-bodied Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler’s 2013 Kabinett Riesling ($18). Sporting high acidity, this off-dry Riesling is a great match for your candied architecture. It’s perfectly balanced, offering zesty citrus-and-floral notes and layers of peach, saffron and earthy pollen.
Enjoy a raging fire while you set up your stockings with care? Easy. Pour yourself a glass of Troon’s 2012 Estate Zinfandel ($29) from Applegate Valley, Oregon. Its comforting notes of vanilla, whiskey barrel and dried red fruit will put you in the ultimate Yuletide mood.
Baking Holiday Cookies
You have to test that batch of holiday cookies you baked for your friends, family and Santa. Pair your favorite recipe with Kopke’s Rosé Port ($15), which delivers good acidity and a hint of yeastiness, balancing berry flavors with seasonal spices.
Decorating the Tree
From wrapping the garland to hanging ornaments and topping the tree, the trimming tradition deserves a pour of equal gravitas. Enter Zenato’s 2010 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico ($75). The wine’s bold aromas of earth, plum cake and mocha evoke the holiday season, while the rich palate of chocolate, baking spices and smooth tannins will keep your spirits high.
Setting Up Your Outdoor Lights
You’ll need to bundle up when you take the holiday decorating outdoors, so don’t forget some hot toddies. Monkey Shoulder’s blended malt Scotch whisky ($32) is the right dram for the job. Intended for mixing, this butterscotch-orange sipper has oaky tannins and a 43% abv that will fortify you from the inside out.
When it comes to wrapping presents, slow and steady wins the race. Take the task in stride with Elysian’s Split Shot Espresso Milk Stout ($12 per six-pack), a rich, seductive beer that’s dense with chocolate and espresso flavors. Frothy textures and flavors of sugar and chocolate milk ball are a gift unto themselves.
Celebrate Your Masterpiece
Once you’ve done the deed of making your home holiday-ready, treat yourself to Adelsheim’s 2012 Nicholas Vineyard Pinot Noir ($105). Aromas and flavors of toasted hazelnuts and black cherry—not to mention an impressive finish—will have you bellowing ‘Ho-Ho-Ho!” louder than the big guy.