For Christmas one year, my mom invited her childhood friend to stay over for a few days. As a gesture of gratitude, my mom’s friend brought her the most thoughtful gift: a beautiful wine basket filled with my mom’s favorite Champagnes, including bottles of Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame and Perrier-Jouët. Not only was the gift attractively packaged in a beautiful wicker basket, but the wine itself was of spectacular quality. Although my mom appreciates fine wine, she rarely buys it for herself, so the gift allowed her to enjoy the bottles she loves for the first time in years.
Whenever I see a magnum from one of my favorite producers, I almost always buy it without a second thought. That’s because I host a Christmas dinner party with my extended family every year, and we go through around a dozen standard-size bottles over the course of the night. Hosting a party like this is a serious challenge–not only do you need to make sure there’s enough wine to go around, but you also have to choose those wines carefully so that they appeal to everyone’s diverse tastes. It took my family and me a number of years to refine our Christmas wine list, but we have finally come up with the perfect combination of wines that make everyone in the family happy.
For much of my life, New Year’s Eve celebrations revolved around dancing, fireworks, and flutes of Champagne. However, in the past few years, I’ve made wine a much bigger part of my holiday celebrations. It all started when I was invited to a friend’s house for a formal New Year’s Eve dinner party. I brought along a magnum of 2001 Ridge Monte Bello to share with everyone. As the night wore on, I noticed that several of the guests had pulled their chairs over to my side of the table hoping for a refill. They’d never had Ridge wine before and wanted to learn more about the producer. This gave me an idea: what if I hosted a New Year’s Eve wine tasting party?
Three years ago, I was invited to a New Year’s Eve dinner party with a small group of close friends. I knew that I wanted to bring a bottle of wine, but I was having trouble deciding what type to bring. I assumed that everyone else would be bringing the usual Champagne for New Year’s Eve, so I crossed that off the shortlist. I wanted to choose a wine no one else in the group would think to bring, like New-World Pinot Noir, Riesling, or Torrontés. I eventually decided on a bottle of Rhys Pinot Noir, and it turned out to be the perfect choice for the event. The wine paired beautifully with our food and it was a nice change of pace from the sparkling wine everyone else brought.
Some bottles are destined to make great wine retirement gifts. In a recent discussion on the Wine Berserkers forum, member Andrew Demaree wrote that he gave a bottle of 1997 Montelena to his father to celebrate his recent retirement. To Demaree’s surprise, another forum member responded to his comment saying that he, too, had been given an entire case of the exact same vintage after retiring from his company. Demaree wrote back, “That’s fantastic. They must’ve thought very highly of you!”
La Paulée de San Francisco, the Bay Area’s take on Burgundy’s traditional post-harvest celebration, takes place this year between February 27th and March 3rd. In order to make the most of your time at this unforgettable event, we have compiled a selection of helpful dos and don’ts.
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. But while many people love a splash of bubbly on December 31st, not everyone wants to sip on it all night. Even though Champagne (and, increasingly, sparkling wine) has had a virtual monopoly on New Year’s for the past few 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, and may win the hearts of even the most diehard bubbly fans. Whether you want to break out of a Champagne rut or you simply want to offer your red wine-loving 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 night of December 31st is all about new beginnings, and the right bottle of Champagne can make this special event feel like a major milestone in your life. Rather than kicking the new year off with a less-than-exciting glass of Prosecco, sipping on finely aged 1971 Moët & Chandon Dom Perignon feels significant and can set a positive tone for the year. 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.
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.
MENTIONED IN THIS POST: -Mollydooker -Beaux Freres -Bryant Family -Opus One -Yquem The last blind wine tasting party that I attended was a casual event, and it was a blast, yet it was also a bit of a disaster. First, the host didn’t separate the wines by style, so I drank a mouthwatering glass of…
A collector on the Wine Berserkers forum recently attended a “wine archeology” tasting party. His friend frequently buys wine from a shop in Belgium, and one day decided to invest in a handful of unlabeled mystery bottles that the store sold him for next to nothing. Some of the wines were so terrible that they…