Monday, November 9, 2015

Rant: Choosing Holiday Wines (Part 2)

The holidays near and the question on everyone's mind is, What wines should I buy? Last week, I offered some initial advice on choosing holiday wines: First, stop being a cheapskate! And I;m back, to provide more suggestions and advice, to help you select wines for the holidays, for your dinners and parties, as well as for special gifts.

Second, stop buying that same old fruitcake!

Most of the wine articles you'll read right now offer very similar advice, recommending the same types of wines again and again. For example, you'll see many suggestions for Pinot Noir and Riesling for Thanksgiving, the same wines that have been recommended by these articles year after year. You might have served them at Thanksgiving last year (and previous years) but can any of your dinner guests actually remember which wine was served? Doubtful.

Because they are so ordinary, they usually become very forgettable. They are the "same old fruitcakes" the same old traditional wines that everyone serves and think little about. Wouldn't you rather ditch those trite old fruitcakes and serve wines that are more memorable? There is nothing wrong with these fruitcake wines, They can be tasty and fitting for your meal, but why just stick to such wines? You can do more and make your dinner or party even more exciting.

A Thanksgiving meal is diverse, with many different flavors, from savory to sweet, and many different textures. No single wine is a perfect pairing with all these different dishes. And you can serve whatever wines you want. There are no rules. As such, you have an opportunity to serve a diverse selection of wines, to serve wines that will surprise and please your guests. For example,I've recommended serving Sherry or Sake for Thanksgiving.

This same idea applies to when you are buying wine as gifts for family, friends, and others. Don't you want to give something memorable to the recipient? It is easy to give someone a bottle of Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. They are probably the same type of wines the recipient might buy on their own. Instead, why not splurge and buy something different, something the recipient might not buy on their own but which they would enjoy. Stop sending "fruitcakes" and go for something more exciting.

You have plenty of options for more exciting gift wines. Pick something local, such as a Massachusetts wine, or something from another New England state, or even from nearby New York. Or find wines from either Mexico or Canada, our neighbors who are making some delicious and reasonably priced wines. Find wines with less common grapes such as Mencia, Assyrtiko, Petit Verdot, Grillo, Zweigelt, and Touriga Franca. Choose some different sparkling wines such as Franciacorta or Cremant d'Alsace. There are so many options available that it is easy to opt for something besides the same old fruitcakes.

All I want is for people to be more open in their holiday wine choices. Don't be lazy and choose the same old wines when there is an abundance of excellent choices out there. There are so many thousands of different wines available so why limit yourself to a mere handful? The holidays are a time many people splurge so splurge on diversity.

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