December is upon us and the time for season celebrations abounds. With friends, family, and co-workers, it’s time to set the table. It’s time to enjoy one another and toast to the season! Wine is a welcome addition to the holiday table.
As a starter, sparkling wines set a festive spirit and brighten any event. There are several types of sparkling wines, and their bubbles will set the stage for a festive mood. They can be modest in price or expensive. One of my favorites is Prosecco, ranging in price from $10 to $25. I have a preference for Ruffino. Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine and can be quite lovely and modest in price. There are several California producers of sparkling wine such as Roederer Estate and Mumm. Of course, there is always Champagne. This is the proper name for sparkling wine from the Champagne region in France. One of my favorites is Veuve Clicquot Brut. And, of course, one could always splurge on a bottle of Dom Perignon.
A better question might be, what about the meal itself? What should be served that best pairs with the main course? Let’s look at a few options.
Riesling is a wonderful partner for rich, gamey birds such as duck or goose. It’s a counter balance to rich, salty meats and meat treatments like ham, sausage or charcuterie. The wine tastes like fruits – peaches and apricots – and has great acidity. Rieslings run from dry to very sweet, so make sure you find one with the appropriate level of residual sugar. One of my favorites is Kabinett from Mosel Germany. Kabinett refers to the amount of residual sugar in the wine that makes it slightly sweet and delightfully easy to drink.
Gewurztraminer is a classic dry white wine that works well with rich dishes and rich fowl such as goose, duck, and turkey. A perfect match whether the prep is classic holiday or more like curried duck with lemon, honey and ginger. The nose on this wine is big – roses, lychees, gingerbread, orange marmalade, fruit-cocktail syrup. Even with the sweetness of aroma, the wine is dry and naturally low in acid.
Viognier works as well to highlight the main course. It offers up stone and tree fruit flavors and can be enjoyed young. It partners well with holiday foods – especially goose, turkey and honey glazed ham. The wine is usually full-bodied with apricot, honeysuckle and gingerbread aromas and flavors.
If you haven’t tried these wines before, please do. Get some help in making sure you get a good example of the varietal. The joy of wine is in the exploration.
Enjoy! Happy Holidays!