Festive winter beers to put even the grumpiest Grinch in the holiday spirit, from cinnamon lagers to dark Belgian ales, plus stellar end-of-year wine finds

by Neil Shrodo

CELEBRATION REDS
Folk Tree Pinot Noir
This Central Coast pinot features ripe red fruit, cherry cola, and wild strawberry, finished with just a whisper of spice from subtle use of oak. The palate is very giving, with a plush body for a pinot, and again, ripe fruit. $9.99

 

 

 

 

MM Bubbles Spread

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monasterio de Las Viñas Reserva 2014
A fantastic medium-bodied Spanish red with incredible complexity. It has an expressive nose of ripe strawberries and violets, and on the palate it is balanced with fruity spiced currants and red plums with a touch of salinity. $14.99 (on sale)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WINTER WHITES
Be it bold chardonnays, exotic selections from Europe, or sumptuous dessert wines, here are some of this year’s top finds:

BÖEN Chardonnay
Sporting the quote, “The Farmers are the Founders of Human Civilization” on the label, this wine makes for not only an important history lesson, but also an excellent glass of the most popular white wine in the world the glorious chardonnay. Its tasting notes read: “Opulent flavors with a silky, alluring texture, flavors of apricot, lemon-cream tart, and vanilla. This tri-appellation chardonnay is elegant and lingering on the palate.” Just superb. $14.99 (on sale)

East by Northeast
This pinot grigio is o the charts with flavors of orchard fruits and white flowers, orange peel, and apricot. Medium bodied and refreshing! $11.99 (on sale)

Goulart Gran Reserva Cava
Spain’s Cava region offers some of the best bubbly on the market today, but this one is truly exceptional. “A dense and rich Cava with lots of cooked apple and lemon character and plenty of bread dough undertones. Full bodied, frothy, and fruity. Richer style.” 91 points from James Suckling. $19.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Symphonie de Haut Peyraguey Sauternes 2013
Meet the perfect complement to apple pie, with rich sweetness and complex flavors of apricot jam, marmalade, dried pineapple, honey, and caramel. $19.99 per 375ml bottle

GOOD FOR WHAT ALES YOU
Oktoberfest has come and gone, Halloween is now in the rearview mirror, and pumpkin beers are starting to run low but never fear, the winter seasonal beers are here to get the holidays o to a delicious start. Every year there are more and more festive beers to choose from, but here are four classics that always put us in the spirit. Each of these breweries has decades of experience in the craft scene, and some were among the first to ever make seasonal craft beers in the United States (and we love them for that).

Samuel Adams Winter Lager
A great place to start is with this spiced wheat bock made in the style of a malty German winter beer then spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and orange peel. The addition of a wheat malt makes this a smooth easy drinker while retaining the deeper flavors of the season. $9.99 per six pack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
First brewed back in 1981, Sierra Nevada’s seasonal craft beer was ahead of its time both for American IPAs as well as seasonal beers in general. Now referred to as a fresh hop IPA, this ale is made when the first hops of the season are brought in, and that freshness carries over to the resulting ale. Bright aromas of citrus and pine dance over this bold and intense celebration of the season. $10.99 per six pack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Troeg’s Mad Elf Ale
After catching the microbrew bug in college in the ‘90s, brothers Chris and John Trogner opened their own brewery in central Pennsylvania, and every year they release one of the best seasonals on the market: the Mad Elf. A Belgian dark strong ale brewed with West Coast honey and cherries, it has a rich red amber color. It’s a sweet and malty ale with subtle flavors of tart cherry, honey, and mulling spice. And it is strong, around 11% ABV, but watch out as it is so smooth you probably won’t notice. $15.99 per six pack (on sale)

Brooklyn Winter Lager
Brooklyn’s winter lager is a modified Schwarzbier (German black beer). It’s a dark easy drinker that is still crisp and refreshing but retains layers of malty flavor paired with bright hops. It has flavors of milk chocolate, roasted barley, and black bread. $9.99 (on sale)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Buy Rite Wine & Liquor,
575 Manila Avenue, Jersey City,
201.239.1200, buyritewines.com