Tips for selections that match the festivities
Posted on Nov. 08, 2016
Even the most seasoned host can find choosing which wines to serve for holiday events stressful. Determining what to serve to make Thanksgiving, holiday, and New Year’s Eve parties special typically raises many questions. The best solution is really to keep it simple and informal.
To begin, understand there is no perfect wine that covers a complete menu. There are so many flavors, spices, textures, and preparations for main entrées, side dishes, and sauces — no single wine can complement it all. It’s fine to mix it up.
Next, create an informal atmosphere where the wines will be poured. Encourage guests to bring a wine they are excited to share. Before the meal, open as many bottles as you think feasible for the size of your party. Pour everyone a first glass of wine and then let guests refill their own. Have them try all the wines in the order they wish and at their own pace. This method gets everyone talking about the wines they are enthusiastic about, and soon you will have a very lively event.
Holidays can be a great time to open larger size bottles like magnums and double magnums. It is also the time you should drink special bottles of wine that you have been saving for a special occasion. Give thanks, count your blessings, and drink up!
Here are some out-of-the-ordinary suggestions to consider:
Brut La Française, Taittinger ($55)
Champagne is a given for the holidays. It feels specifically designed to mark special events. This Champagne has a high quality and prestige profile, and is a winner to bring or serve.
Grenache Blanc, Palumbo Family ($25)
A lesser-known grape varietal, this local Grenache Blanc has a perfect balance of great texture, nice richness, and excellent fruit. It is a fine first white wine as an aperitif and matches well with many foods.
Fleurie Du Grappin, Beaujolais, Le Grappin ($30, or $62 in magnum size)
This is an extremely food-friendly wine and typically a major crowd pleaser, impressive when presented in magnum format. The wine’s dark cherry, solid, earthy flavors work with many main courses and make the event memorable. Despite the similar name, this is not the often-watery Beaujolais Nouveau.
Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, Delas ($30)
Dessert wines generally get neglected throughout the rest of the year, but they should be treasured on these days of indulgence. This is a perennial winner — not too rich, but offering an abundance of sweet pleasure.
All these selections are available at better specialty wine shops, including The WineSellar & Brasserie. 858.450.9557, winesellar.com Gary Parker