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Wine for the holidays: Here are the best bets

With holidays just around the corner, 2015 could be another record breaker for U.S. wine sales.

Recently, the U.S. is the largest wine consuming nation in the world, overtaking France in 2010. An estimated $37.6 billion worth of wine was shipped within the U.S. last year, according to the Wine Institute. That number has been growing every year for more than two decades.

Interestingly, the dollars flowing to wine makes have outpaced the volumes sold. Nielsen reported that while volume grew by only 1 percent from 2013 to 2014, revenue increased by 4 percent. This means Americans are buying more expensive wines.

So for something a little special for the holidays, Food and Wine Magazine's Executive Wine Editor Ray Isles shared his best bets with CNBC. Whether you are in search of a party wine, a hostess gift or a nice bottle to add to the dinner table, Isles offered up the following suggestions.


Rosé: 2014 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rose ($15)

For a wine that goes with everything, Isle suggests drinking a Rosé. He notes most people think of Rosé only in the summer, but he says it's a great choice for the holidays because it goes with almost everything.

"Dry rosé is a fantastic Thanksgiving wine," says Isle. "It's great because it has some of the white wine characteristics some of the red wine characteristics, and it goes great with turkey and richer things like stuffing."


Dry Riesling: 2013 Hugel Riesling (approx. $25)

Wolffer Estate Gallery wine vineyard
Source: Wolffer Estate Gallery

Isle calls this dry Riesling his all-purpose pour for holiday food. "People think of Riesling as sweet, but in fact much of it is perfectly dry, and again, it's great with a very wide range of foods."

He says stick to Rieslings from Alsace, Australia and Austria, if you want to find something on the dry side. His pick is from Alsace and has a crisp, citrusy, zingy flavor.


Pinot Noir: 2013 Benovia Russian River Valley ($38)

For those looking for an American wine for Thanksgiving, Isle suggests going with a Pinot Noir. "If you're going to pick one red that goes with everything, Pinot Noir is the answer," says Isle. "It's not too heavy. You can drink it with a heavy meal like Thanksgiving and not feel like you're weighed down by the wine as well."

Isle prefers pinots from Sonoma and Oregon, with his favorite being one from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma.


Champagne: 2009 Bollinger “Spectre Limited Edition” ($229)

If money is no object, Isle recommends going for the bubbly. While all champagne is produced in France, this bottle has a little bit of Hollywood in it.

"The case is made to look like the handle of a Walther PPK, and it's insulated so it can keep the wine cool for up to 2 hours," says Isle.

If spending $200 is a bit too high, Isle says the Bollinger Special Cuvee is a beautiful wine—and it will only set you back $60.