Ready for the Trinity of Holidays that will raise your blood pressure while deflating your wallets? Nope, neither am I.
What I can advise is this: K.I.S.S. which we know as Keep It Simple Stupid ( not calling anyone reading this stupid but we need a word to finish the acronym. )
People literally can ( and have ) filled volumes giving advice on the ” Perfect wine to serve at or with your holiday meal ” and rather than attempting to try your patience with another pile of pontification on the subject I will render for you a work rather closer to a Pointillism painting mixed with wisdom from Ricky Nelson.
Rule number one: NEVER show up empty handed! Can’t stress this enough.
For Thanksgiving it use to be all about what white varieties of wine worked best with a bird that was notoriously hard to cook to perfection. Over oaken Chardonnay or a tropical fruit bomb Chard ? Well now, as there are now so many different techniques to brine, baste, infuse, stuff, debone, and immolate said bird via deep fat fryer it might be safer to show up with a fire extinguisher rather than an alcohol product.
But I digest….
Safest course of action for any holiday meal you are invited to is to sleuth around and determine what your hosts favorite tipple is. Don’t try to become the stressed out wine and food parings expert second guessing what will go best with your host’s meal, that’s their job! All you have to do is stroll in with a bottle of your hosts fav beverage and you are golden.
Now here is where Ricky Nelson is very wise. ” You can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself. ” So in addition to the gift bottle for your host you bring a bottle of something you want to drink. Doesn’t matter what’s being served, as long as you enjoy the beverage. Your host will not take offense! You have relieved them of some of the holiday burden and shown them what a true and wise friend you are!
You the host? Don’t sweat it. Here is where the Pointillism ( my artsy way of saying bullet points ) comes into swing. Points of brilliance that make a better picture if you stand back.
Turkey: serve a nice unoaked Chardonnay such as Smoking Loon Steelbird or a lighter red like a Gnarly Head Pinot or George DuBouef Beaujolais Nouveau.
Ham: pair with a Gewürztraminer or Viognier both from the California growing area. The slight sweetness will work well with the hams saltiness.
Roast Beef: mellow Merlots and not overly assertive Cabernets and blends like offerings from Cupcake wines are good matches. Also see below under lamb for other suggestions
Lamb: Carménère, Malbec or any of the above listed wines for beef.
Duck or goose: any of the fine wines from Torbreck especially Cuvee Juveniles for the duck.
Remember to look for wines that are going to complement your meal not drown it out or steal the show. Also ask your local wine merchant for help. I always try to establish a relationship with a small independent wine merchant to get insider info and products from smaller producers you might not find in State stores.
Don’t forget to spike your nog ! Bourbon is the way to go here. Slightly sweet and a bit more alcoholic than most rums Bourbon is the all American spirit for this job. Stay away from the recent flavored offerings of Bourbon or the Rye and moonshine whisky popping up. Stick to good old fashioned offering from Buffalo Trace, Makers Mark and Wild Turkey 101 for a smooth nog spiking good time.
And lastly, whew! New Years.
It was always about Champagne for New Years and in some ways it still. But let’s be a little more precise and broaden the term to sparkling wines as Champagne is only from that particular region of France.
Spain, Italy and California produce some wonderful sparking wines and to mention all the different producers would cramp my fingers. Just remember that you will want to pick a sparkling wine one level sweeter than the wines you usually enjoy.
From sweetest to driest ( least amount of residual sugar in the wine )
Sec, Demi-Sec, Dry ( this is just about the all around crowd pleaser ) X-tra Dry, Brut and Natural.
Bubbles not your bag baby ? Well show on up with a bottle of premium vodka or tequila and get swinging !
Be safe, call a cab or Uber it up and enjoy your holidays!