A lot of my Thanksgiving wine advice can easily be applied to your Christmas wine, or your Hanukkah celebration, or whichever winter holiday you choose to celebrate. Personally, I've always been a big fan of Festivus, but that's because I like the airing of grievances and feats of strength.
In general, I like to think about perspective and experience. It's maybe not the time to break out the funky South African Pinotage or the twenty year old Barolo (unless your guests share your hobby). It's more the time for crowd pleasers, bottles that are good served chilled, with bright fruit flavors, maybe a little sweetness, and low alcohol. All of those factors are important to making a non-threatening experience for your fellow guests that probably don't make a habit of tasting and spitting a dozen wines in one setting and making catty comments about brett contamination.
It's a win-win scenario, because these simple table wines tend to go well with holiday fare but also, if nobody likes them, you're only out a few bucks won't forever associate a certain Bordeaux with everybody complaining about how it smells like tomato leaves and cigars while you try to defend the style.
The Gallo powerhouse of Modesto has many marques, and one that I've reviewed before is the label known as The Naked Grape
NV The Naked Grape Harvest Red
$9, 12% abv.
I'm sorry to be so light on the details, but I don't know the specific wines and percentages, nor can I tell you upon which side of Dry Creek the light fell when these vines burst forth supple grapes over the course of a magic summer in... some year. I don't mean any of that as an insult. On the contrary, I think there's a great place for a good inexpensive table wine in the spirit of the Languedoc region of France. Something like a Vin de Pays d'Oc that you grab for $5 and enjoy with a picnic.
This Harvest Red Blend falls into the category of a light, fruity wine almost free of tannins. Just a little sweetness, lots of bright berry flavors, and no strong aromas. Sound familiar? Yes. While I'd prefer to have a great Cru Beaujolais that would perform the same way, you're more likely to be able to find a wine like this when enjoying the holidays away from home or as a last minute purchase on the way to dinner. It's smooth, refreshing, and folks found it to be fun.
And this holiday season, it's worth remembering that you can have fun with your wine.
Note: This wine was received as a sample.