Wine for leftovers and take-out: A guide for holiday overload (or a really good date)

The holidays are portrayed as a time of cheer and merriment but are often exhausting and overwhelming. Whether you’re outright avoiding your family for the holidays or just tired of cooking for them, take-out and leftovers are likely the current state of affairs. Frozen pizza, Chinese, and whatever turkey remnants require immediate consumption are all addressed in this holiday overdose addition of Wine Times, your go-to for offbeat wine (and other adult beverage) advice and insight into the old-school, innovative, sometimes weird, always wonderful winemakers, brewers & distillers who are farmers, gardeners, horsemen & herdsmen; artists, chemists, philosophers & revolutionaries. 

Spicy curry with Ampeleia Unlitro $18.99
The Ampeleia Unlitro is a collaboration between Elisabetta Foradori and associates Thomas Widman and Giovanni Podini. The Ampeleia vineyards are on the Tuscan coast, far from Foradori’s mountainous homeland Mezzolombardo. Still, this wine reflects Foradori’s commitment to terroir and biodynamic winemaking practices that have defined her career. The result is a playful wine at a nice price (and an extra 250 milliliters to share)! Unlitro is a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, Carignan, and Alicante bouschet – grapes typically grown in Southern France and Spain. As one might expect given this blend, the wine is light and fruity with a little funk. It is a very flexible wine for food pairings, which is great for all of your holiday take-out (and leftovers). Even difficult to pair spicy foods like a spicy Chana Masala or Szechwan dumplings in hot sauce would pair well with this wine. 

Pizza and Mocali Fossetti Rosso Toscano Sangiovese $14.99
This wine is a go-to for pizza pairing here at Henry & Son. The family owned vineyard is known for producing well-balanced, elegant wines and the Rosso Toscano Sangiovese is no exception: terpenic, earthy, well-balanced and full-bodied, it is perfect for a pizza party (even frozen pizza will do). The grape vines on the mountainous Mocali estate are grown between rows of olive trees and pine forest on marl and limestone soil resulting in red wines with minerality and character. Whether ordering delivery or indulging in DiGiorno this is a great wine to keep on hand for an “I’m totally over it” holiday evening. 

Chinese take-out with Terres Dorrés Beaujolais Blanc $16.99  
Beaujolais is best known for its 100% Gamay red wines. Though far less common, the region also produces Beaujolais blanc with Chardonnay grapes. Acclaimed Beaujolais producer Jean-Paul Brun makes wines using only natural yeasts found on the grapes, no pesticides and without any added sulfites. His Beaujolais blanc is weighty and rich. It has tropical fruit, citrus flavors, a long finish and enough body to hold up to greasy Chow Mein or an umami rich chicken and broccoli. 

Night cheese and Neverland Cabernet Sauvignon $19.99
This is the wine for all of the Liz Lemons out there who want nothing more than to sit on the couch with a block of cheddar cheese and a bottle of red wine. Andrew Jones has worked farming vineyards across California. Through his relationships with grape growers he was given the opportunity to make wines with some of their best grapes - and some of their overlooked vineyards. He has several projects including Field Recordings, Alloy Wineworks, wonderwall, and FICTION all unified by their dedication to small production and small vineyards. The Neverland blend is 85% Cabernet sauvignon, finished with equal parts Merlot, Petit verdot and Cabernet franc. This wine is herbaceous and woodsy, juicy and ripe with lush dark purple fruits, notes of violets, blueberries, and blackcurrant. The touch of bacon and tobacco make it a perfect trifecta for your “night cheese” indulgence.  We couldn’t have planned it better. 

Leftover turkey Waldorf salad and Teutonic Foiled Cucumber $16.99
We wrote about this 100% Gewürztraminer from Portland’s Teutonic Wine Company for our Thanksgiving post about sweet potatoes but it is worth revisiting; the price, the pedigree, and the pairing make it worth your while! A Waldorf Salad (substitute turkey for chicken) is the perfect way to use up the last of your Thanksgiving leftovers and this semi-sweet white wine is a smooth operator with the salad's apples, grapes and walnuts, while its residual sugar provides a great balance for the intense bittersweet unctuousness of gorgonzola. For a skin-fermented take on Gewürztraminer try Forlorn Hope's The Faufreluches ($24.99).

Leftover turkey sandwich with Louis de Grenelle Sparkling Cabernet Franc $18.99
This sparkling Cabernet franc from Saumur in the Loire Valley is the perfect choice for those amongst you who are growing weary of turkey. Choose a special wine to wash down your tired bird! The Loire in central France is best known for its Cabernet francs, its Muscadets, its sparkling Vouvrays…the list goes on (point being they make some dang good wine). Louis de Grenelle is one of the few remaining family owned chateaux in the region. They are proprietors of almost 2 kilometers of underground caves, also famous in the region, carved in the limestone earth by prisoners caught smuggling salt during the French monarchy. The wines are stored in these cool caverns, which were used during the French resistance during WWII. Those of you who attended November’s wine book club, during which we discussed Wine and War, may recall stories such as this. The sparkling Cabernet franc is made in the Champagne method with only 6 grams of dosage (added sugar). We are pouring some at the store today (Friday, December 2) between 4pm and 7pm. Stop by and try a sip!

Gretchen Skedsvold