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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Wine Tips

For many people, the holiday season is a time jam-packed with activities and celebrations! Tree-decorating parties, family get-togethers, office parties, and that magical night of Christmas Eve.

To make sure your party guests are happy, it’s easiest to limit your wine selection to just two or three to alleviate confusion. A good all-around, popular white wine is a dry Riesling from Germany, the French region of Alsace, or the Finger Lakes region of New York. For a red, try a Pinot Noir from Burgundy, Oregon, or California.

However, if you want to start your holiday party with a bubbly, think about a Cava from Spain, a Prosecco from Italy, or a sparkler from California. These are good choices because they are light, crisp, and dry, they can successfully accompany many canapés and appetizers, and they don’t carry the price tag that Champagne from France does. For a drier style, look for the word “Brut” (dry) on the label. Want a little sweetness in your sparkler? An off-dry sparkler will say “Extra Dry” or “Extra Sec,” while “Sec” will indicate a slightly sweet wine, and “Demi-sec” is a sweet wine.

For a lot of families, their Christmas dinners are made up of many of the same dishes they celebrated with on Thanksgiving. For white wine lovers, options can include a dry to off-dry Riesling, an unoaked Chardonnay, a Gewürztraminer, Viognier, or Pinot Gris. A crisp, dry Rosé from the Tavel region of France’s Rhône Valley is an excellent food wine and pairs beautifully with baked ham and many of the side dishes at your Christmas dinner. For your red wine lovers, offer light- to medium-bodied wines such as Pinot Noir, Chianti Classico, or Beaujolais. Some families eat duck or goose as their Christmas dinner’s main course, and Pinot Noir goes especially well with these birds’ gamey qualities. For those who want a more full-bodied red, choose a Cabernet Franc, such as a Chinon from France’s Loire Valley, an Argentine Malbec, or a California Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.

With dessert, be sure that the wine you serve is sweeter than the dessert , and that the weight of the wine matches the weight of the dessert. Many holiday desserts are made with chocolate, and a gorgeous wine that pairs deliciously with chocolate is Brachetto d’Acqui, a red Italian sparkler with a beautiful aroma of strawberries. Many fortified wines, such as tawny port, cream sherry, and Madeira, are fabulous with desserts.

And here’s something fun to sip on as you’re decorating your tree: mulled wine, a hot drink made with red wine (Merlot is an excellent choice), port, apple cider, oranges, apples, and spices! It’s also a tasty way to warm up when coming in from the cold!

Happy Holidays!

1 comment:

Stacy D. Marsh said...

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