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This Kansas City wine expert has six suggestions to bring good sipping to your holidays

Four unopened bottles of wine side by side on a table with a green plant in the background.
Carlos Moreno
These wines were featured on Up To Date on Nov. 24. From left to right: Echolands Grenache, Le Provençal Côtes de Provence Rosé, Mönchhof Reisling and Renardat-Fache Cerdon Bugey Rosé

Despite COVID-19 and extreme weather disrupting the wine industry, local liquor stores should have plenty of options to fuel your holiday festivities all season long.

Liquor stores will have plenty of wine available this holiday season even amidst the many hardships that faced the wine industry this year, such as wildfires, drought and the pandemic.

While the alcohol industry saw an increase in sales during the pandemic, Kansas City's Master of Wine and Master Sommelier Doug Frost said those sales almost solely benefited large producers and not local winemakers.

"If you think about smaller wineries in Kansas City, their doors were closed for a time and could not do the business they were used to doing," Frost told KCUR's Up to Date.

Weather and climate events also disrupted the wine industry. Washington vineyards lost many of their grapes due to smoke damage from wildfires. And while drought took its toll on the West Coast, it actually benefited some wine production. A lack of rain and moisture can actually lead to a bolder, more intense tasting wine.

As the holiday party season officially kicks off, Frost had a few recommendations to bring to your next festive gathering. But ultimately, he said to follow your own palate.

"The truth is drink the damn wine that makes you happy!" Frost said.

Frost and Up To Date host Brian Ellison were joined Wednesday in an on-air tasting by KCUR staffers Carlos Moreno and Michael Byars. Most of the wines listed below are available at liquor stores in Kansas City. Prices are approximate.

  • Mönchhof Reisling, $23. Frost said a wine with a touch of sweetness is actually a great compliment to the sweet spread on many holiday tables. "I love that the wine has this tartness at the end even though there's this sweetness in the front ... there's this wonderful lemon-limey tartness right at the end," Frost said.
  • Le Provençal Côtes de Provence Rosé, $20. This lighter-style drink pairs well with a milder protein like turkey, Frost noted. Plus, most people are happy to see a rosé. "I just think rosé is just the easy-to-please-a-whole-bunch-of-folks wine."
  • Renardat-Fache Cerdon Bugey Rosé, $23. Moreno described this bottle as "fun, light and crispy," adding: "This wine makes me happy. This is something I can see popping right after our meal and enjoying for dessert." Frost agreed — "It's just stupid delicious!"
  • Echolands Grenache, $35. "This to me has the prototypical qualities. It's very warm, it's very sophisticated, it's got an earthy tone to it that's very comforting," Byars said of this medium-bodied red. Frost described it as "gulpable." (Doug Frost is co-owner of Echolands Winery.)

Other bottles Frost suggested:

  • Domaine Marcel Lapierre Morgon Beaujolais, $40.
  • Decoy Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc, $17.
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As a host and contributor at KCUR, I seek to create a more informed citizenry and richer community. I want to enlighten and inspire our audience by delivering the information they need with accuracy and urgency, clarifying what’s complicated and teasing out the complexities of what seems simple. I work to craft conversations that reveal realities in our midst and model civil discourse in a divided world. Follow me on Twitter @ptsbrian or email me at brian@kcur.org.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.
Connor Stewart is an intern for KCUR's Up To Date.
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