Holiday Wine Recommendations from Houston’s New Iron Sommelier

adele corrigan wade iron sommelier 2022

At the recent annual Iron Sommelier competition, 13 celsius longtime general manager Adele Corrigan Wade walked away as the newest champion after several years of competing. Her wine theme, which showcased a grape that seldom gets attention, was “Over the Moon for Meunier,” and her flight of wines were Chavost “Blanc de Noirs” Brut Nature Champagne from France, Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Meunier from Willamette Valley in Oregon and Best’s Great Western Pinot Meunier from Victoria, Australia. 

We asked Adele to provide us with wine recommendations that will carry us from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day 2023. The noted prices are from 13 celsius’ wine list — and retail prices for taking these bottles home are 20% off those shown below. Inquire about selections by emailing the shop, or just drop by 13 celsius at 3000 Caroline. By the way, there’s an opportune wine-shopping moment coming soon: 13 celsius’ Annual Holiday Wine Sale starts on Black Friday

holiday wine at 13 celsius
A selection of holiday wine picks from Houston’s newest Iron Sommelier, Adele Corrigan Wade of wine bar 13 celsius. Photo by Adele Corrigan Wade.


Greeting Guests: Charles Bové Sparkling Brut Rosé, $40. “A great, elegant rosé from a crèmant de Loire producer.” 

During the Meal: “Everyone does gamay. Go off the beaten path with Azienda Agricola Brigaldara Valpolicella from northern Italy. It’s a blend of Corvina and costs $42.” 

With Pumpkin Pie: Domaine Weinbach “Cuvée Laurence” Gewürztraminer from Alsace, France, $86. “The idea is to match the baking spice aromas and flavors in the wine with the spice in the pie. Also, this wine is a little off-dry to match the sweetness of the pie.”

Phoenicia Israeli wines
Phoenicia Specialty Foods offers a dedicated section of wines from Israel. Photo by Ann-Marie Tcholakian.


“I don’t get asked about wines for this often, but when I do, I refer people to Phoenicia Specialty Foods because it has a good selection of Israeli and kosher wines.” 

We asked Phoenicia co-owner Haig Tcholakian for a few recommendations, and he says, “I recommend Golan Heights Winery’s Gilgal Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend for a red and Hermon White Blend for white (same winery as the red). The red has flavors of deep red fruit while being balanced on the finish to pair with roasts or other holiday main courses. The white tastes of citrus and melon, while structured enough to pair with fish and lighter meat dishes and sides.”

Christmas Eve 

For Evening Celebrations: Aubry Brut Premier Cru Champagne, Jouy-les-Reims, France, $79. “This is a time for Champagne! This one is from Premier Cru vineyards and is a grower Champagne.”

For Cuddling Around the Tree: Graham’s 20-year Tawny Port, $90. “It’s sweet and soul-warming — the wine that hugs you back.” 

Christmas Day

“This day is all about the weather! If it’s hot: light reds. If it’s cold: heavy reds. But a solid go-to: 2020 Domaine Roger Perrin “Cuvée Vieilles Vignes” from Côtes du Rhône, France ($41 on our list). It’s the traditional blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre from this region. 

What Adele’s Going to be Drinking:  “In my household, it’ll likely be Burgundy all day, such as 2018 Huguenot Pinot Noir from Marsannay ($96 on our menu) and 2020 Chanterêves Chardonnay ($76 on our menu).”

Special Bottles to Break Out for Friends and Family

“Cold weather equals heavy, earthy old-world reds. This is THE time to open up that bottle you’ve been saving and share it with friends and family.”

  • 2017 Mas Martinet “Clos Martinet”, Priorat, España: a blend of Garnacha, Syrah and Carignan, $244
  • 2012 Château d’Armailhac 5ème Cru Classé, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France: a classic blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, $174
  • 2013 Rubinelli Vajol Amarone della Valpolicella, Veneto, Italy: Corvina and Rondinella in the traditional style, $154
13 celsius
Wine bar 13 celsius in midtown Houston. Photo by VJ Arizpe.

New Year’s Eve

“How many times do people have a headache from drinking too much Champagne? In addition to over-drinking or not drinking enough water when celebrating, there’s also a bit of sugar hidden in the ‘brut’ styles of Champagne and sparkling wines — sometimes up to 12 grams per liter. Opt for a brut nature or brut-zero style such as Laherte Frères ‘Brut Nature’ Blanc de Blanc NV from Chavôst ($104) to help curve that inevitable next-day headache.”

New Year’s Day

For Brunch: “Sticking with the zero-sugar theme but also you’re broke from blowing your budget on Champagne last night? How about a cava, such as 2017 Recaredo “Brut Nature Gran Cava Corpinat from Penedès, Spain ($57)?”

For Traditional New Year’s Day Dinner (ham, black-eyed peas and cabbage): The fruitiness should match the sweetness of the ham. Try a fuller-bodied Pinot Noir that still has some good acid, like 2018 Bruliam “Sangiacomo Roberts Road” Pinot Noir from Petaluma Gap in Sonoma, California ($61). 

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