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Planning Holiday Wines for an Unusual Holiday Season

Even if you’re not gathering in the usual way with family and friends this holiday season, there’s still plenty of reason to celebrate with what’s in your glass. Jeremy Patenaude, general manager of Chicago wine shop All Together Now, has already started helping customers sort out their holiday wines, and here, he shares some recommendations and advice to help you with your own lineup.

Tip #1: Reach for a tried-and-true match for turkey. Think White Burgundy, Pinot Noir, Gewurtztraminer, or Beaujolais. Specifically, Patenaude calls out the 2018 Domaine Chanrion, Cote-de-Brouilly as a go-to. “It’s a structured Gamay, where the tannins and fruits are balanced perfectly,” he says, adding that if you can find a magnum-sized bottle of this one. “The big bottle on the table sets the mood for a celebration, so whether you are hosting or bringing a bottle to a small gathering, just go for it!” $24,

Tip #2: Start or end with a low-ABV option.“If you’re going the traditional route and making stuffing and turkey, then you’re cooking all day,” says Patenaude. “I like to have a massive cheese board out while we’re prepping, which we’ll wrap up and bring back out for dessert later in the night. Cider works really well for either pre- or post-meal needs.” This year, he recommends the Hi Yu Floreal Cider, made with up to 35 varieties of bio-dynamically farmed apples from Mt. Hood, Oregon. “This tastes wonderful with softer goat brie, or a harder Cabot Clothbound Cheddar,” he says. $33.99,

Tip #3: Embrace the non-traditional. Patenaude suggests the Sebastian Riffault Sancerre ‘Les Quarterons.’ “An atypical expression of Sancerre, Riffault picks his grapes later in the season than his neighbors. This one has some notes of beeswax and ripe mango from botrytis-affected grapes, I think it’s great with Capriole Farms Sophia goat cheese.”$27.99,

Tip #4: Treat yourself to something special. Even if you are with your parents or close relatives, you can pick up something a little different just for yourself in addition to those safer crowd-pleasing bottles. For example, the Heidi Schrock Pinot Blanc Pet-Nat is a Pinot Blanc fermented on the skins for three days that Patenaude calls a great way to start the celebration. “It’s extremely versatile with many cheeses, and especially delicious with All Together Now’s Rabbit Pate!” $34.99,

Tip #5: Get something celebratory. “We all need a reason to celebrate something right now,” Patenaude says. On that front, the 2016 Sylvie Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin is “a delicious Pinot Noir from a super thoughtful vigneron. Sylvie has taken her family’s operation to a new level, while at the same time removing chemicals and herbicides from the vineyard. Lots of red fruits and a little spice, this wine will probably be even better in 10 years.” $75,

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