With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season it can be difficult to remember one of the most important pieces to the holiday puzzle … wine! Whether you are giving it as a gift or looking for something to pair with your holiday feast, here are five of our favorite, although unexpected, wines that we hope you’ll try this holiday season!

Cheers to the holiday season!

Cheers to the holiday season!

Champagne and Sparkling Wine

Forever thought to be for New Year’s Eve and celebrations of the like, champagne has now proven to be perfect for any day that ends in “Y.” Whether large or small, any holiday celebration should begin with a glass of champagne to send the signal that it’s time to celebrate the holiday and let any stresses wash away!

For a true champagne, Josh Hammond of Buster’s recommends Veuve Clicquot Brut NV (Non Vintage), $55.99.

The JJ Vincent Crèmant de Bourgogne from France, $19.99 at Wine Market. "We love this JJ Vincent sparkler because it's a Crèmant, which means it's made in France but outside Champagne, which is great for your wallet," says Wine Market's Lindsay Smith.

The JJ Vincent Crèmant de Bourgogne from France, $19.99, at Wine Market. “We love this JJ Vincent sparkler because it’s a Crèmant, which means it’s made in France but outside Champagne, which is great for your wallet,” says Wine Market’s Lindsay Smith.

Any wine from the Stags Leap District

Hosting a wine dinner or need a special wine for your favorite Sommelier? Stop the guesswork and pick any wine grown in the Stags Leap District of the Napa Valley. This 5- to 7-mile stretch of land inside the Napa Valley is widely regarded as one of the best wine growing regions in the United States. Stags Leap is blessed with long, warm days that are cooled very quickly at night from the mountain air, which lends itself to a wine with a near-perfect balance of acid and sugar.

At Buster’s, Josh recommends the Cliff Lede Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, $72.99, while Lindsay’s pick is the Shafer One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon, $104.99, at Wine Market.

Shafer One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon, $104.99 at Wine Market. Image: Shafer

Shafer One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon, $104.99, at Wine Market. Image: Shafer Vineyards

Cabernet Franc

If you love the red wines of Bordeaux, then there’s a great possibility that you’ve already experienced the finesse of Cabernet Franc. If you love Cabernet Sauvignon but want something a little softer for a relaxed night of tree trimming and laughing with friends, then Malbec will be a welcome addition. At Wine Market, Lindsay suggests the La Source du Ruault Saumur-Champigny from Loire, France, $21.99. Josh’s pick is the Robert Turner Cabernet Franc 2013, $54.99 at Buster’s.

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Robert Turner Cabernet Franc 2013, $54.99, at Buster’s | Image: Robert Turner Wineries

Chennin Blanc

Known as Vouvray in France, where wines are labeled for the wine region rather than the grape, this wine is similar to Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. You are sure to please a wide range of palates with this wine. Buy it for yourself and to give as gifts to your white wine-loving friends. Your friends will remember your gift throughout the year as it leaves a great first impression.

“Chenin Blanc is commonly grown in France and domestically, but some of our favorite Chenins come from South Africa,” says Lindsay, who recommends Kloof Street Old Vine Chenin Blanc by Mullineux, Swartland, South Africa, for $19.99.

Josh recommends Dry Creek Chenin Blanc 2015, nicely priced at $12.99 at Buster’s.

During a tasting at Dry Creek Winery last year, we tasted an earlier vintage of the Chenin Blanc Josh Hammond of Buster's recommends. And we concur with his recommendation!

During a tasting at Dry Creek Vineyard last year, we tasted an earlier vintage of the Chenin Blanc Josh Hammond of Buster’s recommends. And we concur with his recommendation!

Gruner Veltliner

No time? No problem? Keep this wine on hand for the impromptu holiday gathering, or a night of watching binging Love Actually, The Holiday and Bridget Jones’s Diary. This light, crisp white wine can be thrown together with a plate of cheese, fruit and crackers or goes perfectly with a big batch of popcorn for a girls’ night.

Lindsay’s choice is the nicely priced Weingut Stadt Krems Kremstal Grüner Veltliner from Austria, $18.99. Josh also chooses a well-priced wine, a 2015 Hopler Gruner Veltliner for $15.99.

Thanks to Josh and Lindsay for their hand-picked selections, and cheers to the holiday season!

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