Most people will do more entertaining over the next two months than they will do all year. It’s important to stock up on a variety of vintages to indulge your guests – and thank yourself for a meal well cooked. AVE recently sat down with a wine expert at Cool Vines to identify the best bottles for holiday entertaining, so you can impress even the most refined palates.
The wine you serve at your Thanksgiving feast should be versatile, able to handle a multitude of flavors, yet also mild enough for casual sipping before gorging. Lauren Ramos, of Cool Vines, recommends Lackner Tinnacher Welschriesling. “This wine is perfect for salads and starters, but will not skip a beat if you decide to introduce it to the turkey and sides as well,” she says. “Welschriesling (not to be confused with Riesling – different grape entirely) is an Austrian varietal with exceptional character. It is a medium-bodied white with bright, balanced acidity, making it crisp and lively, while its smooth, delicate feminine nuances are sure to intrigue even the most discerning palates.”
For the main course and continuing through dessert, wow your guests with something bold. Ramos suggests Opera 02 Lambrusco Secco. “This pours like rich red velvet with bubbles,” she says.
“In one word…it’s sexy. This wine is also bone-dry, exuding beautiful notes of cranberry and dried fruits – ideal for a Thanksgiving feast.”
Christmas Eve Dinner
For most families, the Christmas Eve meal is a time to display traditional family recipes, typically involving a variety of fish, rack of lamb and lasagna filled with countless types of red meat. Ramos recommends Benito Santos Albarino. “This wine is a good supporting actor for the large cast of characters that will grace the Christmas Eve dinner table,” she says. “Albarino is a white grape from Spain. This particular wine is medium-bodied with stunning minerality and a touch of salinity, making it an excellent choice with fish and lighter fare.”
Our red vinotypes should stick to a versatile red to complement this massive multi-course gathering. Ramos suggests the Vercesi del Castellazzo Pezzalunga Rosso. “Hailing from the Lombardia region in central Italy, this mild-mannered blend of five different varietals can stand up to many a Christmas meal,” she says. “It’s remarkably well-balanced and elegant with bright and lively fruit characteristics – making it modern and fruit-forward enough in style to appeal to those California lovers out there, yet still maintaining its traditional qualities in a way that make it undeniably perfect for classic holiday dishes.”
New Year’s Eve Party
Sparkling wine shouldn’t be reserved for toasting at midnight, especially French sparkler Domaine de la Taille aux Loups Triple Zero. “This wine, hailing from the Loire Valley, is one you’ll want to enjoy throughout the evening,” Ramos says. “Made from the lovely and delectable chenin blanc grape, this bubbly is sheer elegance with unsurpassed purity and expression – a prime example of a sparkling wine that’s right up there, in quality, with some pretty pricey Champagne, without putting a dent in your wallet.”
If fizz isn’t your thing, Ramos suggest sticking with a light- to medium-bodied red like Anne Amie Vineyards Cuvee A from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. “This wine makes a great companion to the many appetizers and cheese plates you’ll come across at a New Year’s Eve bash,” she says. “A modern pinot noir, it boasts bright, fresh flavor and a silky-smooth charm, giving it the versatility needed to pair well with a wide range of noshes and nibbles.”
Cool Vines prides itself on simplifying the wine buying and ultimately tasting experience. All vintages are arranged by taste, guiding customers to select wines based on preference and occasion. Both locations in Westfield and Princeton are a short drive from our communities in Union and Princeton, but wines are also available for purchase online.