By no means would I ever call myself a Wine’E’ …I am more of a Wine’O’ …
I am not classically trained, everything I know about wine I have learned ‘in the field’.
What I do know is what I like and what I like to give as hostess/host gifts at the holidays or serve at my holiday parties.
Here are a some simple wine facts and a few recommendations all under $20, to help you navigate the world of wine through the holidays…
Chardonnay – Originated Burgundy (France) from green-skinned grapes. Considered a “Wider-Bodied” wine, meaning the weight on the palette not that of the drinker! Popular wine in the 1990’s, some things should stay in the 90’s however chardonnay is making a huge comeback in the wine world. It is now being made less oak’y’ and even un-oaked which is my favorite kind. This wine goes great with fish chicken and salt and vinegar chips. When I shop Chardonnay I like to shop California. Reco’s- Sterling Vinters , Toasted Head, Beringer and Kim Crawford East Coast ( New Zealand) , Cono Sure (Chile)
Sauvignon Blanc – Green shinned grape wine originating from the Bordeaux region of France. Generally lighter on the palette than a chardonnay. To me a good Sauv is like the little black dress of white wines, always a crowd pleaser. Pairs great with fish, poultry and salad…Wine with Salad ? OF COURSE! New Zealand is producing, in my opinion, some of the best Sauv’s on the market for the value. Reco’s – White Cliff, Stoneleigh, Kim Crawford (my Fave), Konrad
Riesling- Generally a slightly sweeter wine origionally from germany but now made all over the world. It is a lighter wine with some acidity to balance the sweetness. Acidity levels are in every wine making some ‘sharper’ on the pallete than others. Pairs well with fish, chicken, poultry and I personally like it with cheese. mmmmCHEESE…. Reco’s – Wild Ass (Canada), Rosewood (Canada) , Chateau Des Charmes (Canada), Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt Nies’chen (Germany)
Pinot Grigio – Is another little black dress of whites, it plays nice with all! Pinot is planted all through out the Venezia and Alto Adige regions of Italy, you can also find it int eh U.S and France. The taste is crisp, dry with a good acidic bite. Reco’s Schreckbichl Colterenzio (Italy) , G.Marquis The Red Line (Canada) , Villa Sandi (Italy), Mc Manis (USA), Santa Margherita (Italy).
Merlot – This wine is generally called “Easy to Drink”. I myself call it “Red Water” …If you are thinking about getting into reds you can start here but don’t stay too long. There is SO much more red has to offer. I have no reco’s for this as I would never give it to anyone.
Syrah/Shiraz – Some of the best areas for this wine are syrah excels in France’s Rhône Valley, California and Australia. Australia being my personal fave… This wine pairs well with MEAT! Beef especially and dill pickle chips! This wine is often described as peppery and berry filled. Notes of black berries and spice are often used in the making. ‘Notes’ is just a fancy word for flavors you smell or taste in the wine. Reco’s- Wolfblass (Australia), Rosemount (Australia) , Hardys Bankside (Australia) , Fat Bastard (France), Ladies who shoot their lunch – Over Budget at $35 but had to add it for the name alone!! (Australia)
Pinot Noir – One of the hardest wines to grow and rarely blended. Blend meaning a process whereby two or more grape varieties are combined after separate fermentation. People often refer to this wine as being fresh and delicate. Generally has a fruity nose and the tannins are soft, which makes this red a much ‘easier’ drinking red. However unlike Merlot it has body to it. Nose simply refers to the wines aromas and Tannins are compounds found in most plants in grapes they are mostly in the skins and pits, they give a wine structure. Usually the more tannins the ‘harsher’ or stronger tasting the wine is. Pinot pair really well grilled salmon, chicken, lamb and in my opinion…just about anything. Reco’s – Hunter’s (New Zealand), Kim Crawford (New Zealand), Chateau Des Charmes (Canada), Roux Pere & Fils La Moutonniere (France),
Cabernet Sauvignon – This wine is often considered one of the worlds best varieties. It is often a blend of cab franc and Merlot and pairs wonderful with red meat and Sunday night television. This wine if most often full-bodied and usually has fruity and vanilla notes. Reco’s- Ringbolt (Australia) , Ironstone (USA), Catena (Argentina), Wolf Blass (Australia), Peacock Ridge (South Africa), Vina Tarapaca Gran Reserva (Chile), Sterling (USA), Alamos (Argentina), Errazuriz Max reserve (Chile), Fat Bastard (France)
Prosecco- This is a sparkling Italian wine that is a great wallet friendly option for some bubbles at ANY occasion. Perfect for Mimosa ! Reco’s- Blu Giovello (Italy), Foss Marai extra dry (Italy), Bottega (Italy)
Sparkling Wine – Is simply wine with carbonation to make it fizzy…this can happen in two ways…One from fermentation and other by adding the carbonation. When people think sparkling they usually think white or rose but you can also get FABOOSH sparkling reds. Recos’ – Bottega Rose Gold Brut ( Italy) , Yellowglen Pink (Australia), Jackson Triggs Entourage ( Canada), Wolf Blass Gold Label (Australia)
Champagne – Can only be called Champagne if it comes from Champagne France. Carbonation is created naturally from fermentation. In the 17th to 19th century Royalty became associated with Champagne and rappers in the 21st century…But don’t allow that to ruin it for you. Reco’s – Veuve Clicquot, Piper Heidsieck, Charles Heidsieck, Bollinger Special Cuvee, Lamiable.
Do you have a fave? I would love to know what it is…Always looking to try new things…
If you want to learn more about wine and wine terms check out The Wine Enthusiast.
Cheers have a great Holiday Season and remember to PARTY SAFE!