Highlight Your Holidays with Wine

Instead of a cocktail this week, I thought some more general information on serving wine would be handy for all of the upcoming holiday celebrations. The biggest thing to remember though is to drink what you like.

Types of Wine and Serving

If you are not a regular wine drinker it can be a bit confusing. These general tips will help you out without being overwhelmed.

  • Wines are generally divided into red and white. There are rose and blush wines also and those usually are treated and served like white wines.
  • White wines are usually served chilled. Put in the refrigerator for a while to bring the temperature down, but remove it about 15-20 minutes before you plan to serve to bring it up to about 45-50°F for the best taste. Common white wines, from light and sweet to dry and rich, are Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay.
  • Red wines are generally served at room temperature or just a tad cooler. Common red wines, from light and fruity to full bodied and savory, are Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • When filling wine glasses, generally you do not want to fill more than half full. This leaves room for the drinker to swirl the wine to bring out the full aroma.
  • Sparkling wines have bubbles and should be served well chilled. Also, all Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wines are Champagne.
  • Pairing wines with different foods is truly an art form. However, there are plenty of general wines to select from. Ask at your liquor store for someone to help you with wine selection if you are unsure. Just tell them you are new to this, tell them what you are serving the wines with and be sure to tell them the price range you want to stay in. There are plenty of good inexpensive wines available.

How to Age Wine Gracefully

Whether you plan to store that wine you received as a gift for weeks, months or years, here are a few tips to ensure your wine ages well.

  • Store bottles on their sides. The cork can dry out and crack if not in contact with wine.
  • Keep bottles between 55-65 F. The perfect cellar temperature to store wine is 55 F. Cooler temperatures can slow the aging process.
  • Keep humidity between 60-80 percent. Low humidity can cause evaporation and oxidation while high humidity encourages mold.
  • Keep temperature swings to a minimum. Temperature fluctuation causes wine to expand and contract, damaging the cork.
  • Store in a dark place. Light exposure can cause wine proteins to become hazy and also cause aroma and flavor change.
  • Store in a location free of odor and vibration. Vibration can hinder wine’s development and odors can seep in through the cork.

Here are a few winter wines you might consider this year.

La Crema Chardonnay

La Crema Chardonnay

An elegant choice for your favorite hostess or connoisseur, this limited production La Crema Chardonnay is a true expression of the Russian River Valley in Northern California. Complex and nuanced, with flavors of ripe pear, nutmeg and hints of nougat, this lush wine is the perfect accompaniment to any holiday celebration and pairs well with roast chicken, creamy cheeses or seafood. Learn more about La Crema and their hands-on, artisan winemaking techniques at lacrema.com.

Liberated Wines

Liberated Wines

Liberated wines are for anyone looking for something a little different, whether for themselves or as a gift. This new collection celebrates individuals that break free from boundaries to reach their full potential with nine stunning labels, all featuring a unique personality archetype. The Cabernet is a favorite for the holidays with hints of black cherry, a rich, silky texture and three labels to choose from: the Explorer, the Business Man and the Adventurer. Learn more at liberatedwine.com.

Will you be serving, drinking or gifting wine this holiday season? What are some of your favorite wines?



Photo courtesy of Getty Images (group of people)

Source: Family Features