The holiday season is officially here and most people look forward to entertaining and impressing their guests. Being a self proclaimed wine connoisseur a major aspect of holiday entertaining for me is having the right wine selection paired with complimentary cheeses, hors d’oeuvres, dinner and even desert. Not everyone understands the difference between the various reds and white wines, or even which is the best choice for a given meal. Picking the right wine to accompany the food on your menu can really enhance the flavors in the food you serve. Here are some ideas on how to make the right wine choice for your holiday guests.
Chardonnay: Usually a medium to full-bodied, dry wine. Poultry and game birds, veal and pork, rabbit fish and pasta preparations which feature cream and/or butter, mushrooms.
Sauvignon Blanc (Fumé Blanc): Medium to light-bodied and dry. First courses, seafood, ethnic dishes—pastas, curries, salsas, spicy sausages, vegetable dishes, luncheon salads, olive-oil based dishes, tomato sauces, goat cheese.
Chenin Blanc: Light to medium-bodied, normally off-dry to semi-sweet. Braised Chicken, sushi and other Oriental dishes, poultry, pork.
Gewürztraminer: Light to medium body, usually semi-sweet, occasionally off-dry. Spicy cuisines such as Chinese, Mexican, and Indian, mild sausages, fruit salad.
Riesling (Johannisberg Riesling, White Riesling): Light to medium bodied, semi-sweet to off-dry. Crab meat, appetizers and finger foods, pork, salads.
Cabernet Sauvignon: Medium to full-bodied, tannic and dry. Beef, lamb, pork, duck, game meats, cheeses.
Merlot: Medium to full-bodied, less tannic than Cabernet, dry. Beef, lamb, pork, duck, game meats, cheeses, stews, pizza, heart pastas.
Zinfandel: Medium to full-bodied (also made in a lighter style), dry. Hamburgers, beef, lamb, venison and game, hearty pastas, turkey, stews, pizza.
Pinot Noir: Medium to light-bodied, dry, little tannin leaves silky texture. Lamb, duck, turkey, game birds, beef, rabbit, semi-soft cheeses.
Pink Wines (Rosé, White Zinfandel, Cabernet Blanc, Blush, Blanc de Noirs): Vary in color and sweetness. Choose the most current vintage. Best with smoked foods, quiche, pork and ham,Mexican and Thai food. Can be served with all food.
Sparkling Wines/Champagnes (méthode champenoise / fermented in the bottle): Crisp and bubbly. Types are Brut, Blanc de Noir, and
Brut: Dry. Traditionally a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Aperitifs and first courses, fruits and nuts. Fuller bodied variations go well with any fish and chicken.
Blanc de Noir: More fruity than brut, but still dry. Aperitif, with lunch, desserts.
Blanc de Blancs: More delicate than brut. Caviar. Anytime.
Highly Recommended Holiday Wine Gifts
A bottle of wine makes a nice holiday gift for almost everyone, friends, family and in some cases business associates. Wines can be found in a huge price range to fit every gift–giver’s budget via Suite101.com and Food & Wine Magazine.
White Holiday Wine Gifts
Red Holiday Wine Gifts
OK you wine lovers, curious about the proper ways to store your wine? Stay tuned for a future post discussing how to store your wine and maybe even some storage options. For a listing of the types of wine here are a two great sources: LOVE TO KNOW: Types Of Wine and Matching Wine and Food.
By: Nicole L. Tate
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