The holidays can be so stressful. Wine is nearly a must, and these ever reliable, food friendly, and juicy Italian wines can help soothe special occasion nerves and accompany many everyday meals.
Disclosure: The wines in this post have been provided as media samples. All opinions are my own.
What kind of wine do you have for the holidays?
Or maybe the more important question is what kind of meals do you have for the holidays? Something traditional? Something for a special occasion that you don't usually have?
Or, if you're like me, the holidays mean take out! There is no way in heavens I'm cooking for anyone. It's called a "holiday" for a reason!
Whether I'm dining out, door dashing in, or bringing food to a holiday gathering, I make sure to have a bottle of wine with me.
And the holidays call for a special bottle of wine! Special can mean many things to many people, but according to the Oxford Language Dictionary, it is "better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual."
These two Italian wines fit the bill of achieving significance via quality but also cost, ranging in the $25-50 price range.
Just over the $20 price point, it makes them special occasion wine, worthy of a gift, and something I would enjoy for a nice Friday night meal.
Tenuta di Nizzole 2018 Chianti Classico
100% Sangiovese, 14% ABV, $25
Aged for 24 months in barrel and 3 months in the bottle.
Distinguished by the DOCG label, denoting the highest quality seal granted to Italian wines, this Chianti wine comes from an estate first cultivated in the 1200s.
At $25, it stood out for it's bright, bold fruit, yet still very food friendly acidity and approachability.
Visual: garnet, brick rim, plump legs, luscious swirl
Aroma: dried cherry, raspberry, pencil shaving
Taste: fresh berries, red currant, cocoa, velvety finish. Lots of aeration and decanting really helped this wine stand up gracefully. It has acid but with rounded edges, making it very potable.
Pairing: I tried this wine with a Chinese roast duck and was not disappointed. While I consider roast duck to be a special occasion meal, for some it is an everyday meal to be dined on regularly.
Duck has that thick layer of fat that makes it tastes so good, and it is 100% dark meat, making it extra rich.
The rich acid in the Chianti really cut through that fat and brightened the red berry fruit in the wine. The soy sauce and spices in the glaze too made an apt match for this rich red, not caving to the tannins as one might expect.
Yes to Chianti plus roast duck!
Tenuto di Biserno 2019 Insoglio del Cinghiale
33% Syrah, 33% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot; 14% ABV;r $43
Aging in stainless steel and brief periods in oak. Lots of silky fruit and body.
Visual: inky, blueberry, Urusula and the deep sea purple
Aroma: blackberries, fir, touch of pine
Taste: bold, earthy, plum, blackberry, forest floor. Not too much acid actually. Some mushroom, soy sauce, and star anise notes.
Pairing: Meatballs are special occasion affair for me, so that is what I chose to pair with this wine. It's so much easier to throw together a bolognese meat sauce but actual shaped meatballs take it to next level Italian food for me.
And can I just say that this pairing was everything? The tomato meatballs just unleashed a waterfall of bright raspberry, wild strawberries gushing forth in every possible which and good way.
Per the winemaker notes, "This wine pairs well with game dishes, roast pheasant or rich game stews. Slightly chilled, it is equally good in summer with picnics and barbecues."
I would love trying this chilled in the summer; how good does that sound?
The Last Drop
Whether you need a wine for the holidays or a nice wine to brighten up your weekend, Chianti and Tuscan wines are food friendly and can please many palates.
These two particular wines, Nozzole and Insoglio, made for high quality, mid range options that you might consider for your dinner host or your next special meal. They are available from Kobrand Wines.