The holidays are fast approaching and that means lots of hosting, cooking and wine!
Holiday meals usually encompass a wide range of foods, so that usually calls for a range of wines. To cover all the bases, I usually like to have on hand a great sparkling, a white and a red. Here are some options that I think will cater to every palate, and give everyone a perfect pairing with their food:
Sparkling wines come in all different shapes and sizes; some are lighter, some are fruitier, some are more effervescent, some have oak, some do not...so which one do we pick? My go-to is usually a traditional method Crémant. Less expensive than Champagne, but with just as much flavour, Crémant is an affordable crowd pleaser. Crémant is the name used for sparkling wine from all regions in France, other than Champagne. I usually go with a Crémant du Bourgogne, which is going to be the closest comparison to Champagne, both in location and grapes. Bourgogne, or Burgundy, is located just South of Champagne, and is famous for producing still wines from the same grapes, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This sparkling will have a nice weight to it, could go with food or by itself, have a nice creamy bubble, some fruit flavour, but also some nice bready notes. Typically, I bring out bubbly as soon as guests arrive. Great with appetizers, festive and pretty, sometimes I even put a cranberry in the bottom of the glass for an extra little pop :)
As the evening continues and dinner approaches, we will want a nice white and red counter part to go with dinner. I usually go with a mid weight white and a fuller bodied red. Typically, a white with some weight will also sub where a light red might shine, and then the full bodied red will cover the rest. Of course, offering bubbly though-out the meal is never a terrible idea either!
My typical pick for a white that stands up well to food, while also being tasty on its own, is a stainless steel, or unoaked, Chardonnay. Some people are not keen on oaked Chardonnays, so this should cater to all palates with some fruit forwardness and lovely body that will go with a variety of foods. Go-to regions for this style of Chardonnay - Napa Valley or Chablis.
For a full bodied red, you can really go anywhere, but a favourite of mine, also very food friendly but easy to drink on its own, is Tuscany. I absolutely love an IGT blend, and for those who usually don't stray out of their Cabernet Sauvignon comfort zone, this spices things up a bit, while still being sure to please. Tuscany is famous for its Sangiovese grape, and when blended with some common known French grapes, like Cabernet, Merlot or Malbec, creates a beautiful blend that is super drinkable and goes amazing well with food. Thinking a lovely roast, beef or ham, with gratin potatoes and oven roasted brussel sprouts, or a traditional turkey dinner with stuffing and mash, whatever your meal entails, this wine will be a lovely red pairing.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday!