Cheer Wine

Lou Amdur shares the four commandments of holiday wines

Ladies and gentlemen, Lou Amdur has returned.

Inside Lou Wine & Provisions, a small and spartan bottle shop next door to Sqirl, the revered wine merchant holds court over a fascinating collection of more than 50 small-production wines, most of which sell for under $25.

We asked Amdur for tips on selecting wines for the holidays. Turns out, he has four simple commandments: Choose vinos that are low in alcohol, light-bodied and fruity, have a squirt of acidity, and resonate with winter's spice-intensive flavors.

Holiday wines at Lou Wine & Provisions

"If you're sipping a 16% ABV mouth-numbing zinfandel, you'll be falling asleep before the turkey is carved," explains Amdur. Opt for these instead, currently available at Lou's:

Serol Tubullent Sparkling Gamay 2012 ($20 for 750ml) "This wine made me smile the first time I tasted it. Not because I was tipsy–it's only 8.5% ABV–but because it has the freshness and juiciness of Beaujolais with the added fun of effervescence. It's ideal to start a meal, or to consume throughout."

Reisetbauer Apfelschaumwein 2009 ($37 for 750ml) "Don't call this one a cider. It's technically apfelschaumwein, or sparkling apple wine. It's made from meticulously farmed apples in Germany and vinified like Champagne, aging for 18 months on its yeast. The result is a dry and complex apple wine with very fine bubbles."

Eisacktaler Kellerei Alto Adige Schiava 2012 ($16 for 750ml) "This has the minerality and acidity found in most Alto Adige wines, but it's the clove and spice flavors that make it stand out this time of year. The effect is like cranberry sauce: it refreshes your palate and balances out rich foods."