Southern-bred Holiday Gift Wines

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A true southern lady or gentleman never shows up empty-handed for a holiday dinner party. But what wine should you bring to wow your hostess or host? Forget Napa Valley and Bordeaux, y’all. Here are a few recommendations to help you pick out a delicious, affordable wine from down South.

  • Malbec, from South America
    The Malbec grape makes a medium to full-bodied red wine that drinks as smooth as velvet. It’s an especially great choice for a party where steak or BBQ are on the menu, or for a host who loves hearty red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon. Some delicious Malbecs to look for are those by Dona Paula, Catena, Tikal, and Gascon. (Around $12-$30)
     
  • Chenin Blanc, from South Africa
    Have a host who loves Chardonnay? Kindly introduce them to Chenin Blanc, a grape that makes for a similarly full and fruity yet less buttery and oaky wine. Some of the most delicious Chenin Blancs come from South Africa, a wine-growing country also known for Cabernet Sauvignon-based blends and an indigenous red wine, Pinotage. Ken Forrester, Simonsig, Mulderbosch, and Raats all make delightful Chenins. (Around $9- $18)
     
  • Sauvignon Blanc, from the South Pacific
    New Zealand makes a zesty white wine from Sauvignon Blanc that packs a wallop of citrus flavors. It’s just perfect for front-porch sippin’ or for the adventurous host who likes light white wines. Never you mind the bottle’s screwcap now—it’s just part of New Zealand’s initiative to be more environmentally friendly and also avoid issues of cork spoilage. Pick up Spy Valley, Ten Sisters, Cloudy Bay, or Craggy Range (Around $12- $25). 
     
  • Cabernet Franc, from the Southeast USA
    Of course, we can’t forget about the South, which makes some tasty wine these days. The Cabernet Franc grape grows just swell in the heat of North Carolina and Virginia and makes a light to medium-bodied red wine with cherry and spice notes. Some labels to look for are North Carolina’ Biltmore Estate and Virginia’s Barboursville and Horton Vineyards. (Around $13-$24)
     
  • Sparkling Wine, South Australia & Southwest USA
    Not sure what your host prefers? You can never go wrong with bubbly. French Champagne producer Gruet literally put down roots in New Mexico and now produces a tasty, dry bubbly found nationwide. Another option is sparkling Shiraz, a red bubbly from South Australia that’s often on the sweeter side. (Around $13-$25)

Now put that bottle in a pretty bag and go impress your host or hostess. Cheers!

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