This Year’s 12 Wines of Christmas

Our annual Christmas tradition is back! Find the perfect wine for your favorite milkmaid or drumming drummer this year, with our ode to the classic carol.
Illustration by Julia Lea

This time of year 12 is the magic number. December is the 12th month on the calendar. December 12 is the day you start to panic if you haven’t begun your Christmas shopping yet. And, oh dear, what do you buy your 12-year-old niece?

But more importantly, there are 12 bottles of wine in a case.

As has become our own annual tradition, we looked to the classic carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” while filling up our boxes with holiday cheer (read: wine). These bottles have you covered whether you’re making cherished memories with loved ones, or looking for a last minute gift.

The 12 Wines of Christmas, 2016

  1. 1

    A Partridge in a Pear Tree

    The Wine: Feudi di San Gregorio 2016 Fiano di Avellino; $21, 91 points.

    This wine’s label features a mosaicked bird delicately perched on the branch of a fruit tree. Meanwhile, the warm Mediterranean flavors of this white will energize you in preparation for the winter holiday.

  2. 2

    Two Turtle Doves

    The Wine: Woodward Canyon 2014 Artist Series #23 Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington); $59, 93 points.

    Two “doves” come in for a landing on the label of this luscious, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. The artist behind the label, Lynda Lowe, creates pieces with the hope of inspiring a moment of reflection. Sip this wine while you take a break from holiday stress and remember what the season of giving is truly about.

  3. 3

    Three French Hens

    The Wine: Henners 2011 Brut Sparkling (England); $42, 91 points.

    Giving Champagne a run for its money, we’re turning to England fizz for our “French Hen.” This mouthwatering, lemon sherbet-flavored sparkler’s exuberance is perfect to sip while opening gifts on Christmas morning.

  4. 4

    Four Calling Birds

    The Wine: The Calling 2014 Sunny View Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley); $62, 94 points.

    Crack this Pinot open when you need a help keeping a sunny view yourself, because your youngest cousin just declared to the entire family at dinner that he’s moving to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming a Taylor Swift backup dancer. [Ed note: We can verify that this is not an embellishment, but actually based on a recent and very uncomfortable family dinner of the author’s.]

  5. 5

    Five Gold Rings

    The Wine: Royal Tokaji 2013 5 Puttonyos Aszú Red Label (Tokaji); $54, 96 points.

    This decadent and golden sweet wine is the epitome of luxurious. Trade in your five golden rings this year for five puttonyos—the unit of measuring sugar levels in Tokaji—with this delightfully sweet end to your Christmas dinner. Editors’ Choice.

  6. 6

    Six Geese a-Laying

    The Wine: Goose Bay 2015 Kosher Sauvignon Blanc (South Island); $19, 89 points.

    When you don’t have a golden goose to rely on for last minute gifts, this wine will come to your rescue. Affordable and delicious, this isn’t your basic citrus-and-grass Sauvignon Blanc either. Weighty nut and ginger flavors make this a seasonally appropriate alternative to your average summer sipper.

  7. 7

    Seven Swans a-Swimming

    The Wine: Joseph Swan Vineyards 2014 Kent the Younger Chardonnay (Russian River Valley); $38, 92 points.

    If being surrounded by endlessly energetic nieces and nephews has you singing a swan song, turn to this Chardonnay for relief. If you’re not too exhausted from the little ones already, the tart acidity, pear and quince flavors may coax out your own playful side.

  8. 8

    Eight Maids a-Milking

    The Wine: Jada Vineyard & Winery 2014 Jersey Girl Syrah (Paso Robles Willow Creek District); $55, 94 points.

    Everyone knows that Jersey cows are the best dairy cows (looking at you Holsteins). Those maids must know what they’re doing. Give it a chance, and this dark and elegant Syrah’s warm gingerbread aromas will leave you feeling cozier than a warm glass of milk at bedtime.

  9. 9

    Nine Ladies Dancing

    The Wine: Intrinsic 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley); $22, 90 points.

    When it’s time to let loose take your cue from the woman in the red dress emphatically twirling on this wine’s label. Showing the sophisticated side of pure fruit expression, this Cabernet Sauvignon is the perfect bottle to bring to your office party.

  10. 10

    Ten Lords a-Leaping

    The Wine: Cannonball 2015 Sauvignon Blanc (Sonoma County); $15, 90 points.

    Make a splash when leaping from one holiday party to the next. This party-perfect California Sauvignon Blanc is not just delicious, it’s an insanely good deal. Consider it your go-to option for when you’ve been a little too generous in the gift giving department. Best Buy.

  11. 11

    Eleven Pipers Piping

    The Wine: Fluteau 2008 Cuvée Symbiose Brut (Champagne); $40, 92 points.

    This year, let the pipers have their pipes, and pick up your own flute…of Fluteau. A delicious vintage Champagne, it is rich and creamy and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Beyond just being an aperitif, this wine will also carry you straight through dinner. Editors’ Choice.

  12. 12

    Twelve Drummers Drumming

    The Wine: Von Schleinitz 2016 Rockin’ Riesling (Mosel); $15, 89 points.

    When it’s time to party, pump up the bass and breakout the Rockin’ Riesling. This fruity and approachable Riesling, at only 9.5% abv, will be able to carry you from dessert to late-night.

Published on December 20, 2017
Topics: Holiday Guide
About the Author
Fiona Adams
Senior Tasting Coordinator

Fiona Adams’ excitement for wine was sparked at a young age by her father. Working in a handful of New York City wine shops and a stint in Long Island wine country, she developed her wine knowledge, eventually earning her Level 2 WSET certification. Joining Wine Enthusiast in 2014, Fiona hopes to share her passion for natural wines.

Email: fadams@wineenthusiast.net


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