Holidays in JP: Expert tips on wines to bring to dinner

With holiday feasts on the horizon, Blanchard’s Wines & Spirits General Manager Mike Denson and Streetcar Wine & Beer owner Michael Dupuy gave the Gazette some recommendations for which wines to bring along.

For budget wines—under $15 a bottle—Denson recommended Apothic Red, a blend of red wines grapes, not unlike a blended whisky.

“Red blends are really big right now,” he said. “It’s a little bit smoother, a little bit lighter, but still got body.”

Dupuy recommended Claud La Chapelle merlot, from France’s Bordeaux region, which is well-known for its wines.

“It looks great, which is important for a gift. It’s from a recognizable region, which carries weight. It’s interesting for people who know about wine, but it’s still a likeable style,” Dupuy said.

For moderately-priced wines, in the range of $15 to $25, Denson recommended Lan Rioja Reserva at $18.

“It’s a really good medium- to full-bodied red. It’s excellent,” he said.

Denson added that the Rioja has previously been on the menu at Tres Gatos restaurant at 470 Centre St.

Dupuy suggested a $23 Franck Peillot Bugey Mondeuse, from a mountainous region of France.

“It’s a good choice for the season. It carries the best attributes of pinot noir, the effusive aromatics, but it goes well with all sorts of food. It’s a little more wild,” Dupuy said.

For a splurge-worthy bottle, Denson suggested a Stag’s Leap Artemis, a cabernet sauvignon, priced at $50.

“Stag’s Leap is a known maker of high-end, good wine,” he said. “It’s a big, full-bodied cab. It goes great with steaks and stuff like that.”

Dupuy named a bottle from a small village in the northwest of Italy for his splurge: Roagna Barbaresco Pajé, priced at $70.

“You’re paying for an experience beyond a bottle of wine,” he said. “Wines like this change your perception of what it is to drink wine.”

Streetcar is located at 488 Centre St. and can be reached at 617-522-6416. Blanchard’s is located at 741 Centre St. and can be reached at 617-522-9300.

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