Oh the Holidays are here. To most people this means a time of culinary delights, festive parties, and family. Yea that all sounds fantastic. To me and people in all retail or service it is a time of crowded stores, long hours, little sleep and in general high blood pressure. But, the constant fast pace, and in my case, all that great wine I get to recomend and really interesting people who are looking for the perfect treat to compliment the Holiday table, it can be alot of fun. (How was that for a looong run on sentence).
So that brings me to the number one question I am asked, “What wine should I serve with…..?”. Now mind you the vast majority of people already have an idea of what they want, they just want an affirmation. But, when people do seriously have no idea what to serve the standard go to is Pinot Noir, Burgundy, or Riesling and because it is that time of year I must throw in Beaujolais Nouveau. These wines usually pair very well with turkey or ham and are usually easy drinking and will satisfy a majority. There are those you can never please, and to those I say NEVER INVITE THEM BACK. After all they are getting free wine.
Just a few basics for some of the most popular varietals.
One of the lightest red wines. It is usually fruity, strawberry, raspberry and light cherry with light tannins. Burgundian styles are usually earthy, and fuller bodied. Some can even develop that barnyardy style, but don’t let that fool you the flavor is fantastic.
Some of the best areas are in Califofrnia, Carneros and RRV, Oregon, the Willamette valley and in New Zealand. And of course France, the Burgundy region.
A favorite from the Willamette Valley.
Often thought of as a sweet wine there are many great dry Rieslings. German Rieslings come in 5 sweetness categories; Kabinett- dry to off dry, Spatlese- sweet, Auslese-sweeter, Beerenauslese- very sweet, and Trockenbeerenauslese- super sweet. Alsace wines tend to be more dry to off dry. In the states Rieslings are more to the off dry with the exception of course of the LHR the sweet dessert wines. Washington State offers some of the best choices fro domestic wines, with New York state, and South Africa producing some very nice choices.
Sweet Rieslings have a nutty, honey flavor. A pepper or spice finish is common, and they are of course sweet. Dry Rieslings are crisp, light and elegant. They go great with turkey or ham and work well with vegetarian meals too. (Not that I would know, GIVE ME THE MEAT). Below is one of my favorites, an off dry from Germany, Dr. Heideman’s.
Beaujolais Nouveau is “The first wine of the harvest”. A Southern burgundy wine ( it was expelled from Northern Burgundy as an inferior grape). Made from Gamay it is light and fruity. It is not too sophisticated, but it can be quite good. Gewurtztraminer is another favorite. It is also dry, off dry and sweet. Hailing from Germany, Austria, Alsace and from California and becoming more common around the world. It is very aromatic and tastes of honey and a spice finish.
What it really comes down too is choosing what you like. Enjoying your family and friends and giving thanks for all your blessings. What ever wine you choose – count your blessings and be Thankful.