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What We’re Into Right Now: Holiday Edition

French 75 punch, sparkling biodynamic rosé, good-value red Bordeaux and more.

Each month, we pull together a selection of drinking-related items that have, for one reason or another, grabbed the attention of PUNCH’s editors, who spend pretty much all day, every day surrounded by booze. Here’s what we’re into right now.

Domaine A. & P. Villaine Bouzeron | Talia Baiocchi, Editor in Chief
I love this wine on release, but I love it even more when it’s got five or more years in bottle; the sharp edges that make aligoté (aka the Bernie Sanders of Burgundian Grapes) racy release, have rounded off, giving way to a tension between weight and acidity, along with a mushroomy complexity. It’s true of aged aligoté in general, a wine I’ve take to actually putting away—or, when I am lucky to find it, buying with age. A few years back I happened on a tiny treasure trove of 2008 Bouzeron from Aubert de Villaine, better known as the winemaker at the storied Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, at an unassuming restaurant in Big Sur. They (possibly illegally) agreed to sell it to me on the cheap, and every year since we break at least one on Christmas, to great fanfare. 

Chartreuse Toddy | Lizzie Munro, Art Director
Sure, I’ll be enjoying a few Martinis and a bottle or two of Champagne this holiday season. But the truth is, I love (and drink) those things year round. Ask me what I’m drinking for the holidays and I’m game to go a little bit sweeter, a little bit warmer… I want something that I can sip comfortably on the sofa in my coziest slippers—like a toddy. Of course, you can apply the toddy treatment to just about anything, but I’ll be closing out the year with a personal favorite (and PUNCH original) made with Cognac, green Chartreuse, lemon and honey.

Red Bordeaux | Jon Bonné, Senior Contributing Editor
Yeah, yeah, the height of uncool, but there’s something old and traditional I love about drinking these wines at Christmas. There’s a strength and warmth to them that feels right for these shortest of days and the cold outside—and when you get past the silliness of the bigger names, this remains one of the best places to find value in great wines. I’m still fine-turning my final choices, but I may go with La Grave Figeac from Saint-Emilion (the most prestigious real estate you probably never heard of), or a few bottles of Champ des Treilles, made by two of the region’s top biodynamic pioneers. Or maybe some bottles of Haut-Médoc de Haut Bages Libéral, the everyday wine of that biodynamic Pauillac property, which has the side benefit of subtly trolling any right-leaning family members. And possibly a bottle of the rare Vieux Taillefer white, too, one of the more seditiously brilliant wines to come from a region that doesn’t do subversion very well.

French 75 Punch | Tatiana Bautista, Assistant Editor
Holidays with my family are typically booze free, so I’m channeling all of my holiday drinking efforts into New Year’s Eve. I’m staying put in New York with some friends, and intend on making a French 75 Punch to sip on before I commit to only drinking sparkling wine into the first few hours of 2020. Making a large-format drink is also the perfect excuse I’ve been looking for to justify buying a punch bowl.

Jacquesson Cuvée 740 Extra Brut Champagne | Chloe Frechette, Senior Editor
This is not the first time (nor likely the last) that this particular bottle has appeared on our list of holiday drinking recommendations. With dark stone-fruit notes and a light, bright finish, it remains my go-to Champagne for the holidays. In fact, I recently picked up a bottle as a host gift and, reminded of its eminent drinkability, promptly returned the next day to buy more for myself to drink this Christmas and, most likely, at New Years, too. 

Moscow Mules | Leslie Pariseau, Features Editor
“But it’s basic!” you might protest. And to you I would say, “Indeed.” And that is why, every Christmas, we take down the copper cups, buy a shit-ton of ginger beer, twist the cap off a handle of vodka and chop many, many limes. Everybody likes a Moscow Mule, and everybody will drink one when it inevitably lands in front of them. Do I add anything special to the Moscow Mules? Never. I muddle some limes, drag those shiny mugs through bagged bodega ice, glug in the vodka, top it with ginger beer and pass it around. Sure, you could make an interesting syrup or dash in some bitters, but nobody wants a whimsical twist on their mashed potatoes or their honey-baked ham. People want tradition. And vodka-drunk, copper-plated tradition they shall have.

Domaine Julien Labet “Lias” Chardonnay | Megan Krigbaum, Contributing Editor
Two generations of Labets run this family winery in the village of Rotalier. From organic vines grown on blue clay, this wine is not the oxidized style that many have come to expect when the Jura comes into the conversation; it’s crystal clear in color and flavor. I had this wine on our patio with friends a couple years back and it stopped me cold with what I think of as a cloud of flowers. It’s a wine that I’m happy to drink when it’s hot out, but even happier when it’s cold. There’s a real textural magnificence to this, direct, but generous, exactly what we’re all looking for this time of year.

Piña Colada Milk Punch | Kaitlin Bray, Director of Audience Development
Ever since joining the PUNCH team this summer, I’ve been eyeing this Piña Colada Milk Punch recipe. I’ll be spending the holidays in California, but the vibe will be far more fireside than beachside, so it seems like the perfect time to track down some velvet falernum and try my hand at clarification. Plus, I can’t think of a better way to flex my bourgeoning cocktail knowledge to my in-laws. If I over-scald the milk and everything goes terribly wrong? Well, that’s what back up wine bottles are for.

Meinklang Frizzante Rosé 2018 | Allison Hamlin, Partnerships Manager
I’m doubling down on my Thanksgiving pick with another Austrian wine for the holidays. This pinot noir-based biodynamic sparkler has been in my party wine rotation for almost a decade, and I see no signs of stopping now. Slightly off-dry, full of fresh strawberry and gently effervescent, it’s ideal for a pre-meal aperitif, a universal host gift or a bottle to drink entirely by yourself while frantically wrapping presents.

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