Are you needing some fresh inspiration as you curate your wine selections for the holidays?
Ryan McFeely, sommelier, and owner of SML Fine Wines offers up some pairing advice for the coming food-filled weeks of celebrations!
Unlike at Thanksgiving, Ryan leans more toward Merlot and Cabernet for this time of year. Finding a vintage with some oak aging on it introduces notes of baking spices into the bouquet - giving an instant nostalgic connection to the scents and tastes we readily associate with the season.
Considering the sweet, smokey, and salty elements that are present in cured pork, he suggests wines from Germany and Austria to be served alongside. A nice dry Reisling or an herbaceous Gruner Veltliner can help balance and tantalize the palate.
Red Sauce Based Entrees
If Italian is the direction that your traditional meal leans, a bright, earthy Chianti would be an excellent choice to compliment the rich garlic, spices, and tomato found in this genre of cuisine.
Ryan prefers sticking to sparkling wines that are made in the Champagne method (Cava or Champagne, for example). By allowing carbonation to develop via a secondary fermentation in the bottle, you end up with a much more full-bodied, interesting wine. In contrast, when carbonation is simply injected into a wine, the final result can tend toward being one-noted and bland.
$20 +/- Crowd Pleasers
If you're looking for a middle-of-the-road holiday wine that:
Can be served with or without food
Pleases a wide range of preferences
Is budget-conscious (i.e. perfect if you're inviting the whole neighborhood over!)
look no further than these favorites:
Colle Corviano Montepulciano D'Abruzzo
(a slighly richer option)
Les Brebis Pinot Noir
(lighter, brighter, and fresh)
Both are fruit forward, have well-integrated tannins, and moderate alcohol percentages. You can find them at SML Fine Wines where Ryan will be happy to help you with any other pairings you might require - including a fantastic selection of accoutrements for your holiday cheese boards. Nothing is more festive than throwing together a plate with a hearty cheese, duck rillettes, a rich European mustard, and a crusty baguette to greet your guests in style when they arrive!
SML Fine Wines is open: