Celebrate Life with Good Wine & Good Friends

I love this time of year. There’s nothing like the holidays to put you in a festive mood. And, no better way to celebrate than with good friends and good wine.

I’ve got some great wine suggestions for all kinds of holiday dishes, plus some ‘bubblies’ that are just plain fun! Traditionally, we’ve always been told that the best wine to pair with turkey is a white wine. A Chardonnay works great with turkey, but might not be the best pairing when it comes to duck, prime rib or lamb.

If you want to play it safe, go red! Pinot Noirs are a safe pick for just about any holiday dish. Ironically, pinot grapes are one of the most delicate and difficult to grow, but they also make one of the most versatile wines. They go great with turkey, chicken, duck, ham…you name it.

Some of my favorite pinots that won’t break the bank

Mirassou – Always a great buy at about $10

Louis Latour’s Valmoissine – a French pinot for less than $12. This is a typical Burgundy style pinot, light and nice fruit.

Buena Vista Carneros Pinot – The Carneros region makes some beautiful Pinot Noirs. This one’s about $20.

A delightful step up would be the Orogeny Pinot Noir for about $32 or Duckhorn’s Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot for about $45. Ask your wine expert where you shop. “Ralph The Wine Guy” at the HEB Plus on 1604 and Blanco always has some great suggestions on my website…just click on the HEB logo.

If you want a great value on a good cab, go for Becker Vineyards Iconoclast – for about $10 you can’t beat it.

Champagne, sparkling, bubbly – whatever you call it, it’s festive, and just the sound of that cork popping can put a smile on your face. I keep plenty of bubbly around during the holidays. There’s nothing like a glass of champagne to lift your spirits. Plus, champagne is also very versatile and can be paired nicely with a lot of foods.

In my refrigerator

Baumard Cremant de Loire – a rosé sparkler that is simply delicious. Delicate floral and a bit of fruit on the nose and a nice dry finish. About $19

J Cuvee 20 Sparkling – Just the right amount of toasty flavors on this champagne. A great value at about $28. It’s not quite as dry as Veuve Clicquot but it’s not as expensive either.

For a holiday twist, keep a small bottle of Chambord liqueur chilled, and add a splash to almost any inexpensive champagne (Yellow Tail’s sparkling works great) for an attractive, pink sparkling drink with a hint of raspberry. Your guests will be impressed. Most of the wines mentioned can be found at HEB or Central Market. Keep in mind when shopping for holiday parties, when you buy six bottles or more at HEB or Central Market you get a 10% discount, and you can mix wines with sparklings, etc..

I’ve got more wine ideas and great recipes from San Antonio’s top chefs in my ‘recipes’ section. If you haven’t already done so, be sure and sign up for my newsletter for invitations to our exclusive events.

Cheers & Happy Holidays!

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