Do the cup of cheer one better this year. A bottle from Northern Michigan wine country reminds your friends and family to toast the good life. Festoon your bottle with a few gleanings from the forest—Christmas ferns, hemlock, pinecones—and you’ve got the kind of instantly festive, immediately enjoyable present everyone really loves to get. Here are eight great wines to give, and since the beauty of wine tastes is that they’re as varied as snowflakes—there’s the right one here for everyone on your list:
We asked Darric Newman, wine guru at Folgarelli’s Market & Wine Shop, the Traverse City gourmet emporium his grandparents started 30 years ago, for the top three gift picks from his cellar. 424 W. Front St., Traverse City, 231-941-7651.
2006 Ship of Fools, Chateau Grand Traverse, $13.94
Newman counts this dry, crisp white handcrafted in the Northern Italian style one of his favorite table wines. It’s a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris.
Sweet Tweetie Kira Boyd hand sews wee felt bird ornaments in Traverse City; find them in all feathers for $10 each at The Potting Shed, Lake Leelanau, 231-256-7913.
Blanc de Blanc, L. Mawby, $16.99
“This is a world class sparkling that value-wise stands up to any Californian and French sparkling at that price point,” says Newman.
Party Hat Find these cute little wine cappers at the Yarn Shop, Glen Arbor, 231-334-3805, or owner Mary Turak will hook you up with the yarn and the know-how to knit your own.
2005 Pinot Noir, Bowers Harbor Vineyard, $22.99 Small-production red made from Dijon clones is a “spot-on Pinot Noir that’s spicy and light-bodied,” says Newman.
A few more favorites …
Cerise, Chateau Chantal, $25 Cherry wine fortified with cherry brandy is vibrant and luscious, with a warming finish. We’d love it for a post-caroling party.
2007 Pinot Gris, 45 North $16 Beautifully balanced and a perfect match for a holiday smoked fish appetizer.
Talismøn, L.Mawby, $30 This full-bodied splurge will put the loveliest sparkle in their holiday.
Arcturos Sur Lie Chardonnay, Black Star Farms, $12.50 Master Sommelier Claudia Tyagi put this flinty, crisp, naked chardonnay on the wine list at Detroit’s acclaimed The Whitney.
2007 Gewürztraminer, Left Foot Charley, $17 A luminous, spicy, floral and high-alcohol wine that’s traditional with turkey dinner.