An Instant Crowd-Pleaser: The Perfect Wine for Your Holiday Party

We have all experienced the paralysis of analysis that occurs in the wine aisle at the grocery store — similar to the feeling felt while shopping for a greeting card, strangely enough. There are so many types, varietals and blends of wine (not to mention — is tonight a red or white night?!), price ranges, regions, etc. Plus, the pressure is heightened when you are bringing a bottle to a friend’s house or a holiday party, as you are now not the only one affected by your decision.

After sampling an array of wine over the years, mostly courtesy of my mom and stepdad who are very passionate about the subject, Brandon and I have settled on our go-to bottle to bring to any social scenario — or simply to enjoy at home. Plus, this particular wine has sentimental value to me, as the winery is located just five minutes from where I grew up and where my mom still lives.

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Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery has always been a family favorite. Dating back to 1967, Chateau Ste. Michelle is the oldest winery in Washington state. For 50 years, they have combined Old World winemaking traditions with New World innovation, crafting a delicious assortment of reds and whites that have earned a number of awards. The whites are made at the Chateau in Woodinville, and the reds are made at their Canoe Ridge Estate winery in Eastern Washington. This summer, we were able to visit the winery in Woodinville and taste their wines on-site, which was a pretty special experience. Plus, the winery hosts a number of events and concerts, and I’ve been to a couple over the years.

Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Cabernet Sauvignon is my go-to wine for any holiday gathering or simply sharing with friends during the colder months. While I am not a wine connoisseur by any means, I have a few reasons for this:

1) It is absolutely delicious.

This cab has a rich and full flavor, with strong yet smooth notes of dark fruit, including blackberries, blueberries and plums. With a slight edge and remnants of cinnamon and pepper, this fruit-forward wine is pleasing to a variety of palates. And I’ve tested this theory by sharing it with a lot of people!

2) It pairs well.

According to the experts, the cab is best paired with meat dishes, such as beef, lamb and venison, in addition to pasta dishes. We don’t eat meat super often, but we do consume our fair share of pasta. But nearly every holiday gathering has some sort of meat dish, which makes this a safe bet when taking pairing into consideration.

3) It is relatively inexpensive.

At approximately $15 a bottle, this is an exceptional bottle for the price you are paying. Sure, you can grab a decent wine for $5–10, but this price point is absurd for the quality you’re getting with this cab. And I’ve definitely picked up this bottle for just $9 before! But my most recent purchase was $15, so I’m assuming that’s what you can get it for as well.

4) It is perfect for fall + winter.

It’s no news flash that reds are typically for the colder months (although I’ve had a delicious mulled white wine with dessert a time or two). So bringing this red to a holiday party is especially timely and seasonal. Plus, from a shallow perspective, the combination of the green bottle with burgundy details just screams Christmas.

5) You can find it nearly anywhere.

I have purchased this bottle in Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Tennessee, Arkansas, and probably some states in between. And I didn’t just find it at some obscure specialty wine shop either! Thankfully, Chateau Ste. Michelle is usually sold at your everyday grocery store.

6) It is very drinkable.

We’ve all tasted a wine that we tolerate rather than savor. At least in my experience, this has not been the case with this wine. It is flavorful yet not overly complex, so it goes down quite easily. I first tried and loved this when I had not been into wine for very long, and it is one of my mom’s favorites (and she sure knows her stuff).

If there is one thing I’ve learned while searching for wine for a gathering of some sort, it is to not try out something new in case it isn’t your style, or is just downright bad. So I recommend you try this before you stand behind it as your go-to party wine. Because, of course, you may have a completely different experience with this particular wine than I have.

That’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my teeny non-career of amateur wine-tasting. The same particular wine can taste impeccable in one scenario, and then completely un-exciting in another. The context in which you drink a glass can be just as important as the contents within it.

For example, I went wine tasting with Brandon, my mom, and my stepdad in Leavenworth last winter. We had a hilarious, picturesque, and life-giving night visiting wine bars in this storybook Bavarian village. Brandon and I purchased two bottles of wine we had sampled and loved. We then tasted them several months later on somewhat uneventful nights, and the tastes were completely different. While they were still good wines, they didn’t have the same initial spark the first taste did, when we were engulfed in Christmas decor, engaging in meaningful conversation, and bundled up in peacoats and scarves in this picture-perfect town.

Cheers to the holiday season!

Pick up this bottle and test it out, then decide if it’s worth sharing with your friends and family for your next gathering. Better yet, share your go-to wine with us! What makes it your favorite? Comment below, on Facebook, or on Instagram.