Wine For Your Holiday Celebrationst
From Savory To Sweet, Acid and Bubbles Can’t Be Beat
by Jason “Stub” Stubblefield
For many of us, the varied savory and sweet flavors of holiday hors d’oeuvres, appetizers, main courses and desserts make choosing that perfect wine challenging.
As I’ve expressed many times on my blog and in my editorial features, as well as on Daytime Blue Ridge on WSLS Channel 10, and during wine tastings, the key to pairing wine with food is acidity. Higher acidic wines will almost always pair with a variety of foods—from savory to sweet.
For savory dishes, I often recommend Riesling as a great choice for a white wine. Rieslings are made in six different styles, ranging from bone dry to extremely sweet. The common link between all styles is acidity. Generally speaking, Rieslings from Alsace, New York and Washington will tend toward the dry side. These wines pair well with savory foods and exhibit flavors and aromas of peach, apple, pear and lemon. Sweeter Rieslings (labeled “Pradikat” if from Germany) may appeal more to non-wine drinkers, and they also pair well with savory flavors or even desserts. A crisp, dry Riesling is a perfect pairing for Chef Schopp’s sweet and creamy Blueberry Kugel featured in this issue.
When choosing red wine for the holidays, I always recommend Morgon. Its high acidity makes this a great paring for a variety of holiday bites. Morgon wines, which are popular in the Beaujolais region of France, are lighter bodied reds with tart cranberry and cherry notes. They are made in a slightly more tannic style and present distinct granite in comparision to wines from other Beaujolais regions. Morgon will pair well with savory dishes; however, it is also a perfect accompaniment for sweeter desserts such as Chef Schopp’s Peppermint Mocha Cheesecake, also featured in this issue.
While many of our holiday celebrations center around food, let’s not forget New Year’s Eve celebrations, which for many of us include a Champagne toast at midnight. Champagne is often a scary prospect for many of us who don’t regularly drink the bubbly elixir, whether due to cost, style or just lack of knowledge.
My go to Champagne is Taittinger. This particular sparkling wine is crisp, refreshing, slightly creamy and can be purchased for $50 or less. In the same price category, Moet & Chandon is also a great choice. If you want to step up to a more “luxury” Champagne label,
Dom Perignon will set you back about $130, but well worth it.
If you’re looking for a more economical bottle of bubbly for your New Year’s Eve party, try a selection from Gruet. This winery in New Mexico produces some fabulously delicious sparkling wines made in the Champenoise Method by French winemakers, and they are well-priced at $20 to $40 per bottle. For those a little afraid of a wine from New Mexico, I will assure you, Gruet sparkling selections will be served during every gathering I host this holiday season.
I wish each and everyone of you a wonderful Holiday Season and the best possible New Year. Until next month, be nice, be safe and be happy.