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Bottles and Bubbles

Holiday wine recommendations from Arvada experts

Article by Allison Bankston

Photography by Rachel Audette, The Turquoise Camera

Originally published in Arvada Lifestyle

The holidays give us a chance to enjoy so many inviting dishes, both traditional and adventurous. From elegant to affordable, the right wines can greatly enhance your holiday get-togethers. We spoke with two local, Arvada wine experts to get some helpful tips in choosing bottles and bubbly. 

Sam Nizam owns Five Parks Wine and Spirits on West 85th Drive in Arvada. The store carries upscale wines, but he emphasizes you don’t have to spend a lot of money. He loves the 90+ brand as a budget-friendly option. “For the holidays, pinot noir is the healthiest wine.” Sam says, “It has a lower sugar content, is lighter, and you can serve it with a wide range of foods.” Sam also recommends the Replica pinot noir. Another great option is a malbec from Argentina. “It’s a close cousin to the pinot noir.” He says you also can’t go wrong by bringing a prosecco to a party. 

A semi-sweet riesling is lovely with turkey and lighter meals. Sam likes the Chateau Ste. Michelle riesling. It’s mid-priced at under $20.   

Sam works with a lot of boutique vineyards. “These smaller operations are more hands-on and aware of all aspects of production and supplies,” and Sam says that leads to fascinating flavors. 

A few other tips from Sam: 

  • Don’t chill red wine unless you’re going to drink it soon.  

  • Keep an open bottle of red in a darker area after opening. 

  • Check the dates. Most white wine is only good for 4-5 years.   

Five Parks Wine and Spirits is changing hands, but Sam says the new owner is committed to the same values. Sam thanks the Arvada community and encourages people to shop locally this holiday season. “Every sale matters. This has been an amazing journey. Be happy for me, because in stepping away, I’ll be healthier…and my wife will be happy, too.” 


Lavonne Wise from Flights Wine Cafe on Grandville Avenue in Arvada has some wonderfully creative suggestions to make your get-together special. “It’s always nice to start off with something a little sparkling. That way you can have that with some appetizers or tapas.” LaLuca Prosecco Rosé is one of Lavonne’s favorites with its attractive bottle including shades of salmon and pink and a bright taste with hints of strawberries, cranberries, and hibiscus. “It’s a light, sparkling wine with nice bubbles.”

Pizzolato Italian Spumante Brut is bubbly and fun. “The bottle is gorgeous,” says Lavonne, “It will bring on lots of great comments. It’s not super sweet–just a hint of sweetness.”  

 Lavonne suggests a smooth red blend from South Africa called Escuda Rojo. "It’s not heavy like a cabernet sauvignon, but it has the same rich freshness as a heavier red.”  

You might also consider a Masciarelli Montepulciano. Neither of those rich, red options are oaky. With heavier, holiday meals, Lavonne recommends staying away from the oak-infused notes.   

For white wine, Torrontes is a crisp and refreshing treat and should be served very cold. A dry riesling is also a wonderful option. Lavonne suggests Dr. Loosen riesling. 

More than anything else, Lavonne emphasizes that it’s okay to drink what you like. Maybe you prefer a heavier cab with your meal. Wine is meant to be savored, and if you enjoy it in a different way than others, that’s perfectly alright. As long as you feel you’re hitting the pallets of your guests, you’re making a great choice. 

Some people feel you should only drink wines at exactly certain temperatures or only with particular foods. Lavonne says we need to let go of these misperceptions. At the end of the day, she says you should drink things you truly enjoy, and that’s the only hard and fast rule. Still, it’s good to be open to new things. 

“We have a lot of interesting bottles, such as a sparkling malbec–things you wouldn’t often find.” Lavonne says Flights has wines from New Zealand, Africa, Greece, and more, so there’s always something new and exciting to try. “It’s good to step out of your comfort zone, expand your knowledge, and discover new flavors.” 

If you often don’t finish a bottle, you may want to consider picking up a simple wine pump, available at Flights Wine Cafe and most wine stores. The pumps are generally under $15, and they pull oxygen out of the partially full wine bottles, extending the life of your remaining wine. 

Flights Wine Cafe offers tastings not only as special events but anytime, and they feature out-of-the-ordinary cocktails along with fun options like their Cowboy Flight with multiple interesting bourbons. Flights also has a full menu with a variety of Charcuterie boards and creative tapas such as bourbon-glazed meatballs and house-made pickled vegetables. The menu itself will have your mouth watering with items like a smoked salmon flatbread with ricotta impastata, red onion, capers, and a roasted garlic and lemon citrus aioli. All of the dishes served at Flights are made from scratch. “For a small place, we rock miracles out of our kitchen,” raves Lavonne. “We also have flights of desserts so you can try several things.”     

Guests tend to stay quite a while during dinner at Flights. “At the end of your dining experience, we bring out something you can try that was not part of your meal.” A visit to Flights is certainly an adventure for your pallet and an opportunity to make amazing memories with friends and loved ones. For more information on Flights Wine Cafe or to make a reservation, visit or call 303-697-0492.


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