Holiday wine shopping made easy
As we approach the holiday season, it’s time to consider what wines to buy and why. There are many considerations and many wines to choose from today as wine continues to be more and more popular as a beverage to celebrate all special occasions.
But there are two things to really consider when choosing wines to celebrate this joyous time of year — wines to pair with foods and wines to enjoy on their own with appetizers in a social setting.
First, let’s talk about the types of wines that are absolutely necessary for the holidays. Think of these wines like accessories to an outfit. These are wines that will pair with almost all holiday foods and definitely add to the season’s enjoyment. These are Champagne or a sparkling wine, sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio, riesling, pinot noir, syrah/shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and port.
There are several wonderful sparkling wines on the market well under $20, as are there sauvignon blanc and the other wines we’ll discuss. Remember to buy wine you like and that’s meant to drink now. Expensive wines are meant to be collected or stored to bring out the best in the wine for a later date. However, if you have stored a wine for a special occasion, this might be the time to share with loved ones and special friends.
Champagne is a wonderful aperitif. The best are the dry and slightly sweet types made from pinot noir or chardonnay. Of course, only Champagne is made in France and in the region of Champagne; all other wines in this group are referred to as sparkling wines or in Spain as cava or in Italy as Asti. Depending on your taste, pink (pinot noir) or whites (chardonnay) are equally good. Both types go well with appetizers, fruits and cheeses to get your event into the swing of things.
White wines such as sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio are well paired with both food and socializing. Both pair well with fish, chicken, pork and casseroles. There are several wonderful brands from New Zealand, Oregon, Washington and California, again all well under $20 a bottle.
Pinot noir or Burgundy’s are a wonderful complement to holiday meals, as they pair well with oily fish such as salmon, and dark fowl such as duck and turkey. However, they too can stand on their own and are wonderful for cocktail parties and appetizers.
Are you in the mood for a roast of beef or a rack of lamb? Then look no further than a shiraz or cabernet sauvignon to bring out the best in those meats. These also pair well with spicy dishes such as pasta sauces or gravies.
Finally, when you’re ready to relax and enjoy those last glowing embers in the fireplace — if it should get cold enough on the Gulf Coast — and the lights twinkling on the tree, there is nothing like a tawny port to finish the evening. This should be accompanied by some sharp cheeses, such as cheddar, blue, Brie and Stinson along with some almonds, walnuts and pecans to bring to the end a wonderful day spent with friends and family. There are a number of ports available from wineries in Portugal, Spain and now even California and Texas.
So, head to your favorite wine shop and speak with the wine steward about wines they would suggest. Take your holiday menus with you, so they can help pair wines with your foods.
Holiday Cheers! The Cork Guy
The Cork Guy is a local Texas coastal connoisseur of all things wine. With taste buds especially adept at unraveling they mysteries of the vino world, we hope you will enjoy his visits to Coast Monthly magazine.
You can reach The Cork Guy at firstname.lastname@example.org.