Couples are under a lot of pressure to plan for Valentine’s Day. There’s the restaurant that has to be booked weeks in advance, the romantic gift and bouquet of flowers that have to be bought, and the perfect bottle of wine that needs to be found. What’s more, that wine not only has to taste delicious with dinner, it also needs to be special in some way. After all, if you’re dining at a James Beard Award-winning restaurant and it took you months to book a table, you need a wine that will match the caliber of the food. Whether you already have reservations at a fine restaurant, or you plan on cooking a rustic, romantic meal at home, the perfect wine for Valentine’s Day will complement your meal, making the occasion feel even more luxurious.
When you think of the aftermath of a New Year’s Eve party, you probably picture dozens of empty and half-empty Champagne bottles scattered around the room. While many people love a splash of bubbly on December 31st, not everyone wants to sip on it all night. Even though Champagne has had a virtual monopoly on New Year’s for decades, it’s certainly not your only option. In fact, some of the best red wine for New Year’s can be just as impressive as a vintage bottle of Krug. They may even win the hearts of even the most diehard Champagne fans. Whether you want to break out of a Champagne rut or you simply want to offer your guests a few more choices this year, choosing a handful of high-quality, rare red wines could make your New Year’s party a raving success.
Champagne and New Year’s Eve go together like bread and butter. No New Year’s celebration feels quite right without a flute of bubbly to toast with when midnight strikes… The best Champagne for New Year’s Eve will make even the most casual party feel like an iconic, once-in-a-lifetime event, and it’s a great opportunity to uncork your true showstopper bottles. In this guide, you’ll find a curated list of top-tier Champagne to buy this holiday season.
From nutty, caramelized pecan pie to spiced gingerbread cookies, the holiday season is chock-full of decadent desserts. When you find the perfect dessert wine pairing for each of these classic treats, you make the experience feel even more indulgent for your guests. A honey-like German Riesling can bring out the nutmeg and cinnamon notes in a slice of pumpkin pie, while a rich ruby Pinot Noir can add a complex layer of fruitiness to a cup of chocolate mousse. Fine wine has the power to elevate even the simplest desserts, making them taste as though they were made from scratch in a French patisserie.
Every year, my family makes an enormous batch of lasagna on Christmas Eve. While this Italian holiday tradition makes for a delicious dining experience, sometimes, finding the perfect wine pairing can be a challenge. The layers of creamy ricotta, spicy sausage, acidic marinara, and buttery noodles have so many flavors that the lasagna tends to overpower all but a handful of wines. That’s why we usually go with a full-bodied, acidic wine like 2004 Vietti Barolo, which can pair well with just about any savory Christmas dish, from lasagna to prime rib. Whether you’re serving a holiday classic like Christmas ham or you’re cooking up something a little more exotic this year, the best wine for Christmas dinner usually falls in the category of acidic, full-bodied reds and whites. These varieties will enhance the food at your table and elevate the holiday experience for you and your guests.
We have only one rule in our family on Thanksgiving: no one is allowed to bring Cabernet Sauvignon to drink with dinner. That’s because the table would end up crowded with big, bold California fruit bombs that would completely overwhelm the lighter dishes. Even turkey struggles to compete with these intensely concentrated wines. Instead, my family uses Thanksgiving to experiment with new varieties, especially lighter styles with relatively low alcohol content. By avoiding bold reds, my family has already discovered dozens of lighter, less appreciated wines that we adore–Philippe Pacalet Gamay is now a Thanksgiving tradition at our table. By following these simple Thanksgiving wine pairing tips, you too can serve wines that take your traditional Thanksgiving dinner dishes to new heights (and maybe even discover a new favorite wine in the process).
Some wine enthusiasts believe that sommelier certification takes years to complete, and that it’s only useful for those who want a career in the wine industry. This isn’t necessarily true. Dedicated students can become a sommelier in as little as 24 weeks through the American Sommelier Association. Moreover, sommelier status opens new doors for you that you might never have considered before. When Vinfolio’s Tamara Forward went through the process in 2014, she not only received a top-notch wine education (which made it easier to shop for and enjoy wine in her spare time), she also made meaningful connections to her fellow students, and was able to use her education to move her wine career forward. Even if you aren’t looking for a career in wine, you can gain a great deal of experience and improve your wine collection by becoming certified. If you’re wondering how to become a sommelier, here’s how to go about it, what to expect, and how it can help you as a collector.
What if scientists could pinpoint the perfect bottle of wine for your palate, based only on the genetic makeup of your DNA? A Silicon Valley technology company, Helix, claims that they can do exactly that. Using a DNA sequence and a short quiz, the company says that they can help their customers find their ideal wine style without ever picking up a glass of wine. But how reliable is this new technology, and could it really replace a wine tasting session? The science of wine tasting is still a complex and rarely-studied field, so before you get your genome analyzed, take some time to learn about why we prefer the wines we love, and what you can do to find your own perfect bottle from the comfort of your home.
One of my friends has been a wine collector for 20 years; he owns at least a dozen bottles of fine Latour and Haut-Brion, and is immensely knowledgeable about the wine industry. Knowing how much experience he has with wine, you can imagine my surprise when I learned that he had never bought a full bottle at a restaurant. He told me that he could spend hours in a wine shop looking at obscure vintages and know exactly which bottle to pick, but when he tries buying a bottle of wine at a restaurant, he is too nervous to commit to a single full bottle. Because of this, he would always bring wine to restaurants instead; that way, he’d know exactly what to expect.
MENTIONED IN THIS POST: -Le Pin -Ogier -Alesia -Pine Ridge -Krupp Brothers -Ausone 2009 -Ausone 2016 My first barrel tasting experience was a massive success, in part because I had a knowledgeable mentor walking me through the process. The head winemaker was a close family friend, and he offered to take me and four of…
MENTIONED IN THIS POST: -Clos des Papes -Clos St. Jean -Dalla Valle -2012 Beaucastel -2002 Dominus -2001 Haut-Brion Blanc The Washington Post’s Kristen Hartke was a self-proclaimed “wine consumer, not a connoisseur.” She didn’t have an in-depth knowledge of the winemaking process–she didn’t even know which grapes make up the perfect bottle of Chateauneuf du…
MENTIONED IN THIS POST: -Screaming Eagle -Chateau Latour You would think that a wine enthusiast loves walking into a restaurant to find a wine list hundreds of pages long. In theory, more wine choices means a better chance that you’re going to find something exciting and mouthwatering. However, in practice, most of the wine lovers…