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  • Writer's pictureThe Unassuming Wine Bros

Holiday Wines 2020

Updated: Jan 24, 2021

The 2020 holiday season will undoubtedly cause a myriad stressors and anxieties- from navigating the frequent opinions of a visiting relative to choosing wisely at a socially distanced “White Elephant” gift exchange, to decisively showing out with the neighborhood’s best holiday decorations, to overcoming an election hangover after your preferred candidate lost, to name a few. But don’t fret! We are here to lighten your load while keeping your wallet full by helping you select the perfect, affordable, and locally available wines for your holiday festivities. And much like the banter at many holidays’ tables, we did not always agree on this month’s wines - and that okay!

We are The Unassuming Wine Bros (UWB) – Patrick and Vigo - two regular guys who love everything about wine, including writing about it. Our goal is to explore the nuances of wine, share our adventures with you, and have a little fun along the way.

Vigo: Unlike most months where Patrick makes the selections, and I sit back, taste them, and critic his choices, this month we attempted to both select wines that follow a typical theme of a holiday get-together, which normally plays out as:

• Wines that you serve when guests arrive;

• Wines that you serve during the meal; and

• Wines that you serve during or after dessert.

Patrick: With this in mind, our tasting started with sparkling wines, moved into wines that we thought would pair nicely with traditional holiday dishes, and finished by tasting wines that we thought might help you wash down traditional holiday pies. In all, we sampled seven different wines - all under $20 and available for purchase in the Lakewood Ranch area. As always, at this price point, we kissed a few unmentionable frogs, but in the end, we found five delicious but reasonably priced wines for you to enjoy while you navigate the holidays.

Arrival Wine:

2018 Anne De K Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose:

91 –Wine Enthusiast; $19.99 Total Wine; 12.0 Alc. by Vol.

Patrick: I selected this Cremant d’Alsace sparkling Brut Rose - an affordable but still great tasting Northeast France sparkling wine made in the traditional Champagne method - and was glad I did. It was light, dry, not overly effervescent, but pleasantly easy to drink, featuring light strawberry and cherry notes and a mild creaminess, with minerality. This selection had great balance, with neither its dryness nor light fruit dominating the other. This is a solid celebratory starter wine to serve when the guest arrives with light holiday bites such as mild creamy cheeses and strawberries and is sure to add a little cheer to the party.

Patrick’s Rating:

Vigo: This sparkling Rose deserves to be served in a fluted glass. Beautifully pink in color, this wine showed tight bubbles with notes of creamy apples. It's the taste of the holidays in a glass. As Bruts go, it's dry, but being a Brut Rose, it's not so dry that you don't feel refreshed. At twenty bucks a bottle, it is great value for a bottle of sparkling French wine, and it delivers. You will get a complimentary raised glass from your guests when you serve this.

Vigo’s Rating:

Mealtime Wine:

2019 Famille Bougrier “V” Chenin Blanc:

89 – Wine Community; $14.99 Total Wine; 11.5% Alc. by Vol.

Patrick: This was Vigo’s selection, and I was pleasantly surprised by it. It is light to medium-bodied and flavorful. If you enjoy a buttery, oaky, or heavy white wine, this is not the wine for you. The wine exhibited an interesting blend of citrus and mild peach flavors with refreshing minerality and is a perfect choice to serve with turkey or other light meats. At this price point, you can confidently fill everyone’s glass - then do so again - knowing everyone at the table will be pleased with it.

Patrick’s Rating:

Vigo: This selection was a total shot in the dark. Chenin Blanc grapes generally pair well with this type of meal, but I had little personal familiarity with them, the region they are grown, or this specific wine. Our selection - the 2019 Famille Bourgrier "V" Chenin Blanc - is slightly sweet but not in the range with a Riesling or Gewurztraminer. As we sampled the wine, we tasted it with a slice of roasted turkey breast, and it was phenomenal. After just this small sample, there is no doubt it will pair nicely with another lighter, savory holiday offerings - such as turkey or ham - and cranberries.

Vigo’s Rating:

Wines with Dessert:

2018 Double Black Zinfandel

92 – Beverage Dynamics; $13.99 Total Wine; 14.5% Alc. by Vol.

Patrick: The next two Zinfandels might be Vigo and I’s biggest points of wine disagreement yet. I found this Paso Robles Zinfandel drinkable but very average. Think fun to date but not marriage material. It was smooth with raspberry fruit jam and a mildly earthy finish but left me generally underwhelmed.

Patrick's Rating:

Vigo: I'll say this, I've never been a fan of Zinfandels. Sweet, thick as jam, with spice notes, has never been in my palette wheelhouse. However, the 2018 Double Black Zinfandel may have changed my opinion. Spicy but smooth on the palate, this wine did not drink like Zinfandel; it tasted more like a Pinot Noir. As my confusion grew, I asked Patrick where this originated; his answer then made sense: Paso Robles, California. I have traveled through and toured many wineries in Paso Robles or, as the locals call it, "Paso." Double Black Zinfandel is an excellent representation of Paso wine. I have also spent a lot of money on Paso wines, and I can say that this is a fantastic wine for its price and is suited more for the main course than a dessert.

Vigo’s Rating:

2017 Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel:

91 - Wine Enthusiast (Wine Enthusiast’s #13 Top 100 Best Buy of 2020); $14.99; 14% Alc. by Vol.

Patrick: I picked up this bottle at Publix and was very happy with it. This Lodi, California Zinfandel was full-bodied, had aromas of vanilla, and was a zesty and complex blend of raspberry, plum, cinnamon, mild pepper, and baking spice with an interesting and satisfying finish. This was a much more dynamic Zinfandel and is a perfect wine to serve with any baked pie with vanilla ice cream. Great way to finish a holiday football watching night!

Patrick's Rating:

Vigo: The 2017 Bogle Zinfandel Old Vine is classic Zinfandel. Full-bodied raspberry jam with a hint of black licorice flavor. The Bogle Zinfandel Old Vine is what every Zinfandel lover looks for, which I can accept, but cannot understand as a Pinot Noir/Cabernet Sauvignon lover. After we pulled out the apple pie as a pairing, I can say that this wasn't as bad as I initially thought. This wine is great to drink with a sweet dessert at the end of the meal, but I wouldn't pair it with the main course.

Vigo's Rating:

Mail Bag:

Robert S from Bradenton FL wrote to us: "Unassuming Wine Bros, do you have an online presence?

UWB: We're in the works of starting an Instagram site and also in the process of creating a podcast so our readers can have easier access to our wine musings. As of right now, Around the Ranch is the exclusive home of the UWB. We will continue to write about wine as long as you are enjoying reading about it. Thanks for reaching out.

Let us know whether you agree, disagree, or whether you prefer other wines or pairings more. We'd love to hear your input and suggestions and are always thrilled to receive your feedback, information, and opinions. We can be reached at

This article was originally published in Around The Ranch newspaper on November 18, 2020.

Rating System:

Vigo – Retired US Army Sgt. First Class (Humvees) / Patrick – practicing local attorney (Scales of Justice). Ratings are given on a 1-5 scale, with five being the highest.

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