Wine Talk with Alice Swift
Alice’s Wine Picks for the Holidays
It’s that time of year again! The days and months just seem to go by faster and faster with each passing year. The fall/winter decorations have begun coming out, and we are closing in on the holidays! It’s time to start thinking about menu planning for the upcoming feasts. Though the food menu might not be set, you can always start early by planning the wine pairings for the big meals.
I recently taught a wine tasting class, and we tasted a few wines along the way. Below are three wines we tried that I enjoyed, and they just so happen to go well with your traditional holiday meals (there’s a little something for everyone)! Here are my picks for the quarter:
2014 Argyle Chardonnay
Argyle has over 30 years in the business, since 1987. The winery is located in Willamette Valley, which is a well-known AVA due to its similarities in latitude and maritime climate to Burgundy, France. Initially, the winery focused on sparkling wines, made in the traditional Champagne style with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes. Over time, they have expanded their portfolio, which now includes still wines: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and even Riesling.
The wine that I was able to try was a little older, a 2014, whereas their current vintage is 2016. However, the wine was still quite pronounced in aroma, with buttery notes and ripe fruit still showing through. The age of the wine allowed the earthy tones to shine, and I could really see this wine capable of being paired with your roasted poultries and gravy, like roasted chicken or turkey. Even heavier vegetarian dishes would pair well with this wine, such as your green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, biscuits and roasted corn.
2015 Charles Krug Cabernet
If you are planning to have a rib roast or the equivalent beef dish, then the Charles Krug Cabernet would be a perfect pairing! The vintage I tasted was the 2015, though the current release is 2016. The earthy aromas are well-balanced with the dark ripe fruit aromas and flavors of black fruits like cherry, plum, blackberries, etc. The higher tannin levels in the wine from the 18 months spent in French oak helps complement the fattiness of a rib-eye cut, though this wine could hold for several more years before drinking.
While Charles Krug shares the same last name as the famous Krug Champagne house in France, that is about all they share in terms of wine production. Charles Krug produces mostly red Bordeaux varietals, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, along with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. There are also some limited production wines, such as the limited release Malbec and Zinfandel Port. Charles Krug winery prides itself on being the oldest winery in Napa Valley, and has been owned by the Mondavi family since 1943 (currently operated by Marc and Peter Mondavi, Jr.).
Loosen Brothers Dr. L Riesling
If you prefer something a little sweeter (but not too sweet), one of my standard “go-to” wines is the Loosen Bros. Dr. L Riesling. This wine is quite versatile, as it is a great entry wine for those who are new to wine, as well as an easy drinking, everyday wine. If you plan to have some apple pie, pumpkin pie or some type of desserts with your holiday meals, a sweet wine might also be a good option.
This wine is quite popular, and comes from the Mosel region of Germany, which is alongside the river of the same name. Dr. Loosen estate has remained within the same family since 1988, when Ernst Loosen acquired the estate. The wine has a good balance of acid and sweetness, and has the aromatic fruit forward characteristics that makes Rieslings so desirable. Though the grapes are not estate-grown, the wines are quite reliable and excellent quality in terms of consistent aromas and flavors year over year. The wine is a little on the sweeter side, but even for someone like myself who does like to eat sweets (nor do I like chocolate or candy), this Riesling is my go-to if I am looking for a easy drinking, low alcohol glass of wine.
This holiday season, experiment a little with your wines and see if you can find a new favorite or one that pleasantly surprises you?
Keep an eye out for the next quarterly “Alice’s Picks” of the spring with some selections for celebratory occasions!
Until next month, Cheers~!