Choosing Wines for Your Holiday Table
By Gary Parker, Owner
The WineSellar & Brasserie
Often, people stress about the wines to serve at various holiday events. Selecting what’s best to share and mark the occasion for our festive Thanksgiving, Holiday and New Year’s Eve gatherings can raise a lot of questions and uncertainty.
The solution: keep it simple and informal!
First, be aware there is no one wine that fits any complete menu. For example, there are many different courses, flavors, spices, textures, and ways to prepare (for instance) the turkey: white meat, dark meat, stuffing, side dishes, sauces involved, etc.
Next, encourage an informal atmosphere for your guests regarding the wines to be poured. Allow them to bring something they want to share. Before the meal, open as many bottles as you feel feasible for the size of your party. Give everyone a nice wine glass and let them pour their own, trying all the wines in the order they wish and at their own pace.
This gets everyone talking about the wines, and pretty soon you have a lively event. It can be a great day to open large format bottles, such magnums and double magnums. It is also the day you should be drinking special bottles of wine that you have been cellaring, or saving for a special occasion. Give thanks, count your blessings, this is the time!
That being said, here are some specific, slightly out of the norm suggestions to consider, and why:
Taittinger Brut La Francaise ($55)
Champagne is a no brainer, because this is a product designed to mark special events. This Champagne has a high profile in regards to quality and prestige, and is a winner to bring or serve at anyone’s home.
Grenache Blanc, Palumbo Family ($25)
A little known grape varietal, Palumbo’s Grenache Blanc provides great texture, nice richness, excellent fruit and perfect balance. It will be a fine first white wine as an aperitif, and even match well with many foods.
Fleurie Du Grappin, Beaujolais ($30, $62 in Magnum)
Extremely food friendly wine, major crowd pleaser. Impressive when presented in magnum format.
Dark cherry, solid, earthy flavors excite diners at the main course and makes the event memorable. (This is Not Beaujolais Nouveau!)
Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, Delas ($30)
Dessert wines generally go neglected throughout the year. They should be treasured on this day of indulgence, as certainly a dessert course is in the works. This is a perennial winner, not too rich, but offering gobs of sweet pleasure.
Look for these selections at specialty wine shops.