The season of feasting is upon us, beginning with Thanksgiving and carrying on past the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. So what bottle do you bring to the holiday feast? Opt for a light red wine, which will complement rather than compete with heavy holiday dishes, thanks to acidity that cuts through the richness of gravy, stuffing, and even yams. Here are some Santa Barbara County bottles to find.
Whitcraft “Pence Ranch” Santa Ynez Valley Pinot Noir 2013: Cherry, red currants, and hedgerow berries are light and bright but very satisfying and flavorful. If you want to push the boat out with a special wine treat, you won’t regret buying this bottle by Drake Whitcraft. $60
Amplify Santa Ynez Valley Merlot 2014: This wine has the potential to get Santa Barbara back on that merlot road, as it’s the polar opposite of the infamous Sideways rant. Cherry, blueberries, dark chocolate, lively acidity, and still a smooth finish, this is not Miles’s merlot. $28
Barden Santa Barbara County Syrah 2012: Even at 13.3 percent alcohol, this wine by Doug Margerum is very concentrated and on the lean yet muscular side of the wine spectrum. Berry fruit and peppercorn, but still polished, it’s got spices that keep coming. Decant about two hours before drinking. $60
Lo-Fi Santa Barbara County Gamay/Pinot Noir 2014: Gamay is the grape of Beaujolais, a favorite region for winemaker Mike Roth. Light with intense plum, white pepper, and sweet soy flavors, this is a holiday wild card, but granny may not like it. $23
Central Coast Group Project “Barrington Hall Wine Dinner Special Cuvée” Grenache/ Mourvèdre/Syrah 2012: At 14.6 percent alcohol, this is on the heavier side, but the grapes sat on skins for an average of 50 days, which gives a great concentration of flavor. But it’s quite light in color and has a crisp bite of acidity. Strawberry coulis, potpourri, and wild herbs: This can stand up to all the rich festive flavors. $75