By Sydia Bell

The holiday season is and that means its time to get the champagne flutes out of storage and break out your best wine glasses out of storage for Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Kwanzaa celebrations.

What you serve at your holiday parties and dinners needs to complement the food you’ve prepared, and it’s also important your selection sends a “Happy Holidays” message instead of “last minute pick up”.

This year, we stopped by three different Atlanta wine shops and compiled a list of the best wines and champagnes to share this season.

The Mercantile

The Candler Park wine shop located at 1660 DeKalb Ave. is known for its wine selection hand-picked by co-owner Janea Boyles, who provided us with their top pairings for a traditional sit down meal.

Salice Salentino Riserva 2009 ($17.99) Perfect for pairing with a rich meal like a ribeye, lamb or with ripe aged cheese, this red wine is ideal for the holiday season. The confident, yet not overbearing alcohol content, is one reason Boyles finds this selection flawless for balancing out a rich and hearty meal. The tannins (textual element that makes wines taste dry) and fresh acidity work together and create, in the end, a balanced, soft wine.

Rosa Regale ($25) This red, sweet sparkling wine is delicious whether your choose to sip some between meals or as a after dinner sparkler. Hailed as one of the few wines that truly goes well with chocolate. With its undeniable berry flavors, this selection will also complement an array of cheeses, seafood platters or pastas with delicate or spicy sauces.

The Wine Shoe
This boutique wine shop at 339 Nelson St. in Castleberry Hill prides itself not only on its unique selections, but the education they provide to customers. Wine educator Jaye Price choices cover the entire gamut for pairings before, during and after a meal.

Bodegas Carrali – Chardonnay de Reserva 2012 ($19.99) Ideal for pairing with lighter dishes like fish or chicken, this Chardonnay from Uraguay has a higher alcohol content and lower acidity with a sweetness that makes it stand out.

Recioto Di Gambellara Cavazza ($24.99) For those who love a Moscato, this selection is ideal for you. Bunches of grapes found in the hilly area of Gambellara are dried naturally in wooden crates for at least three months and then fermented without skins in stainless steel tanks. This intensely fruity pick, leaves a nougat taste that can be appreciated with baked and creamy chocolate desserts, a fruit sorbet or soufflé.

La Fontaine Pineau Des Chartes ($29.99) This sweet dessert wine is made from Ugni Blanc grapes, which are also used to make Cognac. This wine has a slightly higher alcohol content and she be enjoyed slightly chilled after meals.

Perrine’s Wine Shop

As a direct reflection of shop owner Perrine Prieur, these selections from the West Midtown shop at 1168 Howell Mill Road reflect the grandiose side of the holidays.

Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs ($122) Described by Perrine as best when served as a starter to open the appetite, this true champagne is made exclusively with white grapes fermented in stainless steel tanks.

Domaine Alain Chavy Puligny – Montrachet 2010 ($56) Hailing from the same region as the shop owner, this white Burgundy has great depth with subtle hints of oak. Perrine suggests pairing it with a mushroom risotto or a white fish, like cod.

Fumanelli Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2006 ($69) Declared as the Winemaking Region of the Year in 2009 by Wine Enthusiast, this rich red with hints of black plum and nutmeg from the Veneto region of north-eastern Italy is best served with a hearty meals like venison or rack of lamb.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.