With the holiday season in full swing, wine drinking is part celebration and part necessity for surviving the blitz of gatherings. Choosing wines to gift friends or serve at your party doesn’t have to be stressful. Robin Mailey of Callicoon Wine Merchant personally shares with DV8 his recommendations of unique wines – red, white and sparkling – to help you stock up and swirl your way through the holidays. 

“When you’re trying to impress someone, bigger is always better.”

DV8 MagazinePaolo Conterno “Riva del Bric” Barolo 2010 ($125)

One of the world’s great varietals, Nebbiolo, one of Italy’s best producers, a top flight single vineyard and a cool wooden box. Can’t go wrong.

Chateau La Fleur Haut Carras 2010 Bordeaux by Albert Tissot ($125)

Picture a small man in a small vineyard surrounded by titans of his industry. Preaching modernity, internationalism and exponential profits. This is Albert Tiffon. How long can he last? I don’t know but you should support him while you can.

“Heading to a party? Bigger is still better, but needn’t be as pricey as above.”

DV8 MagazineAmphibolite Nature Muscadet 2014 ($40)

Who likes rocks? It’s called minerality and you can either go to your backyard, grab some stones and start sucking or you can buy a magnum of this biodynamic Muscadet. The latter way is much easier.

Fattorio de Lucignano Chianti 2012 ($30)

I’ve carried this crowd pleasing Sangiovese for five years now. Year in, year out it’s a no fail Chianti. This year’s version drinks a little bigger than past years but enjoyable none the less.

“Holiday meals are all about elegance. Paired wines should have a powerful restraint to them.”

DV8 MagazineChateau Les Clauzots Graves Blanc 2011 ($16)

The elegance of white Bordeaux is on display here. A nice, crisp, lemony start followed by a long, grassy finish. Loves drinking, loves food, loves it all.

Domaine Montvac Gigondas 2011 ($32)

This domaine’s wine-making duties are passed down from mother to daughter. After three generations, they make very pretty wines that carry a restrained backbone of spice. Think Lauren Bacall.

Ca Del Monte Valpolicella Ripasso 2009 ($20)

You must go a little out of your comfort zone for this wine. There is a lot of barnyard, mushroom and wet sheep flavors. If you like wet sheep, this one’s for you.

“We all know the champagnes that we can spend a bit of money on. What you might not know is that there are fabulous sparkling wines at a fraction of the cost.”

DV8 MagazineCleto Chiarli Bbrut Rose NV ($17)

Bowls and bowls and bowls of ripe strawberries. Impossible not to love, unless of course you don’t love strawberries.

St. Hilaire Brut de Limoux NV ($17)

Bubbles were invented by monks at the abbey of St. Hilaire in the south of France. Forget champagne, this is the original.

Tullia Brut Prosecco NV ($17)

This prosecco has the cleanest finish I’ve ever encountered. I once drank a bottle, wondering where it went.

“If you want to impress a wine geek (and maybe try something out of the ordinary), try these.” 

DV8 MagazineCos “Pithos” 2013 ($30)

My wife poured me a glass of this the other night and I thought, when did she go out and buy a bottle of Gevrey-Chambertin?

Celler Del Roure ” Cullerot” 2014 ($16)

I’m at a tasting and a girl hands me a glass and says, “This is Verdil, a grape native to Spain, aged six months in clay pots.” Before I taste, I think, “How in the hell am I going to sell that?” After my first taste I think, “How do I keep my customers from buying it, so I can take it all home?”

All wines are available at:

Callicoon Wine Merchant
25 Lower Main St, Callicoon, NY 12723
(845) 887-3016

Photography by Michael Marz