How to Enjoy All the Wine from the Food & Wine Classic at Home
Order the wines now to receive them in time for the event on December 5.
Food & Wine’s virtual Classic in Aspen, which was a whopper of a success back in July, is now going to return in December for a special holiday edition. And, of course, what would a holiday event be without wine? (Well, boring, for one thing. So we won’t be doing that.) As before, there will be a couple of wine seminars from regular Classic in Aspen hosts, this time round F&W Executive Wine Editor Ray Isle plus noted wine expert, author, and TV Host (KQED’s Check Please!) Leslie Sbrocco.
The Food & Wine Classic at Home: Holiday Edition will take place on December 5. Plus, the wines are all affordable (excellent news) and, since we teamed up with Wine.com on this, they can be sent directly to your home. You should go ahead and buy tickets for the event here, and order the wines here (use the code FOODANDWINE10 for a 10% discount).
Because it’s December, the seminars this time round will provide plenty of wintry holiday fun. Leslie Sbrocco will be showcasing a few great winter reds. As she says, “There’s nothing like a cozy red to warm you up on a winter night. My picks shine a light on three different wines from three diverse countries that span the style spectrum from supple and juicy to hearty and spicy.
“First up is Diora’s ‘La Petite Grace’ Pinot Noir. This Pinot is far from petite, with plenty of velvety richness, but it still speaks with graceful elegance. A warm red from a cool coastal climate—California’s Monterey County—it takes on turkey and sausage stuffing as easily as roast beef and mashed potatoes.
“And for a winter red that may not be top of mind for holiday pairing but should be, head to Spain’s historic Rioja region. Ramon Bilbao’s ‘Limited Edition’ Crianza is a special bottling that takes traditional Tempranillo and gives it a modern twist with French oak-cask ageing. Supple and stylish, it’s packed with spicy succulence.
Finally, saddle into comfy mode with the Susana Balbo Cabernet Sauvignon. But not just any Cab…this one hails from high-altitude vineyards in Argentina’s Uco Valley. Crafted by the country’s most famous female vintner, Susana Balbo, it’s a complex, balanced beauty perfect for sipping with hearty holiday meals or simply enjoying fireside.”
Isle, on the other hand, will be concentrating on a perennial holiday need: excellent bubbles for non-crazy prices. “Sure, you can splurge on Dom Perignon or Cristal,” he says, “but there are excellent bottles of sparkling wine and even Champagne out there that won’t make your bank account—or your spouse—freak out.”
First up, the Raventos I Blanc Blanc de Blancs, from Spain’s Pènedes region. This is one of the top sparkling wines of Spain, “yet it’s remarkable affordable,” Isle says. “Brisk, bright and minerally, it comes from a single, organically farmed estate southwest of Barcelona. I really think that Pepe Raventos, who makes it, is one of the most ambitious, forward-looking vintners in Spain.”
Next up, classic Champagne: Bollinger’s Special Cuvée. “This non-vintage brut from Bollinger is just a gorgeous bottle of wine. Bollinger leans towards a richer style,” Isle says, “full of toast and brioche notes; they’re one of my favorite Champagne houses. It’s really a Champagne that can be served straight through the meal; bring on the roast turkey, seriously.”
Finally, he suggests an outlier: traditional Lambrusco, the sparkling wine of Italy’s Emilia Romagna region. Specifically, the Lini 910 Labrusca Lambrusco Rosso. “Lambrusco is classically made from red grapes, so we’re actually talking about a dry red sparkling wine here—almost purple, the color is so deep. I wrote about the Lini family who make this wine in our upcoming December issue—they’re stars of the region, and throw a spectacular family holiday party in December, which we’re running recipes from.” When it comes to traditional Lambrusco, Isle says, don’t think sweet, either. “Lini’s Labrusca Rosso drinks like a dry red wine, full of dark fruit and bright acidity, just full of lively bubbles. I love pouring it at dinner parties, because at first, when it goes into the glass, everyone is totally startled; then, without fail, they ask where to buy some themselves.”