• By: Kate More

Cheery wines for a Covid Christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Covid this Christmas, and that may require an extra pour or two of holiday “cheer” in your wine glass.

While slurping a box of the cheap stuff is a bad idea, a nice glass of vino will boost the “feel good” chemicals in our brain, that’s reason enough to get your corkscrew ready this year.

To spread sufficient cheer, it is worth noting that some wines are arguably more cheerful than others. At the top of my list, it’s hard to beat bubbly, and for a great bottle of bubbles, it doesn’t require the wallet-depressing price tag of Champagne — a bottle of Crémant can be just as good for half the price.

Released December 11th in Vintages, Cave de Ribeauvillé Giersberger Brut Crémant d'Alsace, $25.95 would be a fun glass with sprightly notes of green apple and spring flowers. But if masking up and scouring Vintages feels like a downer, take it easy with Veuve Ambal Crémant De Bourgogne Grande Cuvée Brut, $19.95, a delicious sparkler that’s widely available and boasts a price tag worth toasting.

For reds, there’s a reason everybody loves California: the wines out of Sonoma and Napa especially are juicy and crowd-pleasing with notes like chocolate and jam, plus they are nice belly-warmers for winter thanks to full body and high alcohol. Typically a high-end steak house staple, St. Francis Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, $34.95 in Vintages fits this bill and won’t disappoint.

But if cheaper means more cheerful in your book, skip the California section and buy a comparably big red from Spain or Portugal. Familia Bastida Drama Dark Blend 2018, $15.95 in Vintages is a pleasing pour with notes like raspberry coulis and mocha. From Portugal, the Colinas de Ançã Baga Reserva 2015, $17.95 in Vintages, delights with cocoa and sugar-plum notes — perfect for staying sensible, satiated, and sane this holiday season.