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The Chronicle's Wine Guy Spills His 9 Favorite Holiday-Season Bottles

Katherine Guzman | November 13, 2013 | Story Wine and Spirits

Ready to upgrade from Two Buck Chuck this holiday season? Fear not. Chronicle wine editor Jon Bonné's new book The New California Wine, released last week, makes a wino of any level feel like waxing poetic about biodynamic farming. It includes at-a-glance breakdowns of various regions so that you can quickly impress a cocktail party of wine snobs with your newfound knowledge about the limestone-rich soils in Paso Robles.

We talked to Bonné and scored his lengthy list of recommended wines to go with your holiday feasting in the coming months. (Consider our article How Not to Sound Like a D-Bag While Wine Tasting a pre-req for this and all further wine chat.)

2011 Matthiasson Napa Valley White ($35): "The combination of tension and fruit in this mix of Friulian and Bordeaux-native grapes, with a good dose of new oak, matches the rich flavors of the season but also brings a great freshness to the table. It's amazingly good with fresh Dungeness."

2012 Arbe Garbe Russian River Valley White ($28): "The same rich fruit and tension, and in this case a spicy aromatic push from Malvasia and Gewürztraminer really underscores autumnal flavors and spices like nutmeg."

2012 Tatomer Meeresboden Santa Barbara County Grüner Veltliner ($24): "Graham Tatomer's Grüner Veltliner is the first American version of that grape to make Austrian heads turn. Perfect spicy edge for fall."

2012 Drew Family Anderson Valley Vin Gris ($22): "Jason Drew's rosé has all the depth of great Pinot Noir, just in pink form. As versatile a wine as you'll find."

2012 Broc Cellars Solano County Valdiguié ($24): "Chris Brockway tapped the grape once thought to be Gamay Noir, the great grape of Beaujolais, for a California tribute to that region's joyously drinkable wines."

2012 Broc Cellar Vine Starr Sonoma County Zinfandel ($27): "Chris Brockway found a way to reinterpret Zinfandel in a thoughtful, subtle way that speaks to even the most intellectual of wine folk."

2011 Chanin Los Alamos Vineyard Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir ($48): "Gavin Chanin has the same remarkable skills with Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara that made his mentor Jim Clendenen famous a generation ago."

2011 Hirsch Bohan-Dillon Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($34): "Hirsch's more approachable bottling from younger vines and neighboring vineyards is a perfect snapshot of the far Sonoma coast."

2011 Domaine de la Cote Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir ($48): "The work being done by Sashi Moorman and Rajat Parr at the far end of the Santa Rita Hills stands to redefine quality for California Pinot Noir."

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