Local wineries share their top picks for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and more

click to enlarge This Liberty Lake Wine Cellars selection could make a great gift. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
Young Kwak photo
This Liberty Lake Wine Cellars selection could make a great gift.

Whether you're hosting, tasting or toasting, holiday celebrations are an apt opportunity to enjoy good wine. For those still looking for the perfect pairing for that Thanksgiving turkey, or a fancy bottle to share with friends as the clock strikes midnight, check out the following spirited suggestions from five local wineries.

LIBERTY LAKE WINE CELLARS
23110 E. Knox Ave., libertylakewinecellars.com

Liberty Lake Wine Cellars is kicking off the holiday season with the release of two new wines during the Spokane Winery Association's Holiday Wine Festival tour, happening the weekend before Thanksgiving, Nov. 19-21 (details at spokanewineries.com).

"Those will include our 2018 carménère ($40) and 2018 malbec ($36), both of which have won a number of awards," says Sarah Lathrop, who co-owns the winery with husband Mark.

While nearly all of Liberty Lake's wines complement the holidays and make great gifts, the Lathrops recommend the winery's 2019 Tahija dry riesling ($17), and its 2018 The Golden Ticket ($40) for Thanksgiving meals.

"The Golden Ticket is a Bordeaux-style red blend," Lathrop says. "It pairs well with food in general, and the gold label is very festive, too."

The winery is also offering a Thanksgiving hostess gift pack ($20) with themed plates, napkins, candles, a bottle of the Tahija dry riesling and a corkscrew.

"Both our Tahija chardonnay ($22) and our 2018 The Golden Ticket ($40) are often purchased for gifts, and are both great for drinking with food or on their own at a party," Lathrop says.

She adds that the winery's 2018 syrah reserve ($44) is a nice, fancy choice for holiday toasts and New Year's celebrations.

Liberty Lake Cellars' wines range in price from $17 to $45 per bottle, with wine club members receiving a discount. Wines are currently sold at its tasting room, and shipping of online orders is available to some states.

LATAH CREEK WINERY
13030 E. Indiana Ave., Spokane Valley, latahcreek.com

For a warmer take on wine, consider a visit to Latah Creek Winery's tasting room for a cup of hot, spiced sangria.

"We serve mulled sangria in our tasting room during the holidays, and it's our wine-of-the-month for November," says winemaker Natalie Conway-Barnes, daughter of owners Mike and Ellena Conway. "It's also available as a gift basket ($29) that includes a bottle of our sangria and mulled spices, with instructions for making your own batch."

While the winery regularly posts pairing suggestions and recipes on its website and social media pages, Conway-Barnes recommends Latah's chardonnay ($14) or tempranillo ($18) for Thanksgiving dinner.

"We also make a cranberry-horseradish sauce that pairs well with our Huckleberry d'Latah," she says. "It's funny — most people don't think they'd taste well together — but they really do."

Although Latah Creek doesn't produce sparkling wines, Conway-Barnes says its orange moscato ($16) gives off just enough bubbles for holiday and New Year's toasts.

"It's a nice sweet wine, and while it's not sparkling, it does have a bit of extra CO2 that gives it some added lightness," she says.

Latah Creek's wines can be purchased online, at its tasting room and in limited quantities at local grocers.

MARYHILL WINERY
1303 W. Summit Pkwy., maryhillwinery.com

Craig Leuthold, owner of Goldendale-based Maryhill Winery, says its most holiday-esque wine is the vintage port ($40) made in the traditional style as a blend of four different Portuguese grape varietals.

"It comes from Avery Vineyard in the Columbia River Gorge," Leuthold says. "It has a lovely residual sweetness, making it an excellent dessert wine."

For Maryhill wines to pair with Thanksgiving or Christmas meals, Leuthold says two of its white wines, the chenin blanc ($28) and albariño ($25), are both light, citrusy choices. For those who prefer red wines, he suggests Maryhill's cinsaut ($52), which is also light in style with a fruit-forward taste.

When it comes to gifts and holiday sharing, Leuthold's favorite is Maryhill's Clifton Hill's cabernet sauvignon ($54), a wine he calls "elegant, full bodied, with robust flavors and a silky finish."

For New Year's celebratory sipping, Maryhill offers two sparkling wines, a rosé ($29) and the Blanc de Blancs ($36), both produced by Treveri Cellars and sold at Maryhill's tasting rooms.

Although Maryhill wines can be found in many area grocery stores, Leuthold says selections there tend to be limited, so your best bet is to purchase in person during a visit to the Spokane tasting room in Kendall Yards, or online.

COEUR D'ALENE CELLARS
3890 N. Schreiber Way, cdacellars.com

Next time you're in Coeur d'Alene, consider a visit to Coeur d'Alene Cellars. Owner Kimber Gates says the winery makes its own special holiday wine called Tipsy ($32).

A red blend with broad appeal, the Tipsy bottle features a leaning snowman on the label.

"It doesn't require much aging, so it's ready to drink," Gates says. "It's a crowd-pleaser; a lot of people really enjoy it."

Coeur d'Alene Cellars offers an annual 50 percent-off case sale for its wine club members on Friday, Nov. 19, an ideal time to buy in bulk ahead of the rush.

For holiday meals, Gates recommends pairing a bottle of the winery's mourvèdre ($30) with turkey, and its Opulence blend ($44) with prime rib or lamb.

"The mourvèdre is more fall-esque, and pairs better with birds," she says. "Opulence is a bit fancier, and goes excellent with red meats."

For social gatherings, Gates says the winery's No. 6 red blend ($30) can be found in a twist-top bottle, which makes for easy opening.

If you're looking for something special, Gates says wine collectors might appreciate a bottle from one of the winery's small batch, exclusive bottlings ($36-$38).

"These are wines that we don't make every year, so they're only available in limited quantities," she says.

Coeur d'Alene Cellars' wines are available for purchase at its tasting room and online.

ARBOR CREST WINE CELLARS
4705 N. Fruit Hill Rd., Spokane Valley, arborcrest.com

While wine pairings will vary according to the holiday being celebrated and the menu chosen, Arbor Crest Wine Cellars owner Kristina van Loben Sels suggests pairing turkey with Arbor Crest's pinot gris ($22) or its Conner Lee Vineyard chardonnay ($22).

"These two white wines are aged in barrels, so they have a creamy finish, are a bit less acidic and offer a broader mouth feel," van Loben Sels says.

To serve with darker meats such as prime rib or duck, she recommends rich, layered, red wines like Arbor Crest's Dionysus ($51), Farrington malbec ($45), cabernet franc ($32) and cabernet sauvignon ($28).

"With heavier meats you want a wine with tannins that cut through the fat and proteins," she says.

If you're bringing wine along to holiday gatherings, Thanksgiving or otherwise, van Loben says it's a good idea to ask staff at your favorite winery what wine they'd suggest for a hostess gift. She personally recommends bringing a bottle of red wine such as a merlot or cabernet sauvignon because "typically, these wines are most versatile for food pairing."

While some Arbor Crest wines are available in many local stores, the largest selection can be found at the winery's tasting room. ♦

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