The Holiday Season Uncorked!

By: DegoRedDecember brings us two great celebrations with family and friends: Christmas and New Year’s. After five years of observing wine drinking habits in the beach community, I thought it would be nice to present some wines under $20, with a focus of under $10 for the upcoming holiday season.

Pricing code: R=Rey, F=Felipe Motta, P=Pricesmart, and V=La Bodega de Varela Hermanos (in Punta Pacifica and Costa del Este in Panama City).

Unlike Thanksgiving, turkey may not be your dinner choice, but for you diehards, here a few suggestions: Rosé, Cabernet Blush, a few whites, and of course, Champagne Rosé (called CAVA here). Good French true Rosés are hard to find here, but we do have some good alternatives: Senorio de Sarria from Spain heads the list because it is the driest (V$10.20). Remember that sometimes a Champagne or CAVA in a blush Rosé will start the meal off with a holiday note. MVSA Rosado (F$8.75) will fit the bill nicely. The white of choice for turkey is always Veramonte (P$9.69).

If pork or ham is your choice, do not forget the Rosés above, but now consider the whites. In Panama we are blessed with a great wine selection from all over the world. A few: Matua Sauvignon Blanc (F$16.00) from New Zealand is a crisp wine that will enhance the rich flavors of your meat. Don’t miss adding Cecchi Orvieto Classico (V$8.00) to your list as a movement toward Pinot Grigio as it will soon be one of your favorite whites. If you still need a red, try the lighter Calvet Cotes du Rhone (F$9.50).

Meat lovers have many great choices here at respectable prices. You all probably know your favorite Cabs, so here are a few alternatives we found at the last Felipe Motta Feria: Cune Crianza (F$12.50) from Spain is one of the best full bodied reds that all our friends termed BEST OF SHOW, but if you crave a BIG Italian, Cecchi sells La Mora Morellino di Scansano (V$11.88), a red wine lover’s dream!

Now that Christmas is over, let's turn to New Year’s!

BUBBLE TIME: Champagnes, sparkling wines, or Cavas have to be the choice for New Year’s Eve. No matter what the food servings, bubbly is a must. My suggestion to start is with Chandon Extra Brut (F$17.95) because it is dry with large bubbles, and next is the complicated Segura Viudas Brut Vintage Cava (F$12.25). When you head to the fireworks, select J.P. Chenet Ice in the white bottle (F$9.15) and finish the night with Concha Y Toro Brut (R$5.99) because you won’t be able to taste it anyway.

Happy New Year…. see you in the wine aisles!