By The Glass
Wine choices that will uplift holiday meals
The holidays are almost upon us and I just can't wait. There is so much to celebrate and so many opportunities to do so. And it's never too early to plan what you are going to eat and drink.
Our Halloween food theme is Thai, so I'm opting for a deliciously vibrant and lightly sweet riesling. My wife makes a wonderful yellow Thai chicken curry with some help from Keo's cookbook. My father-in-law is making satay with all the fixings and a friend is bringing sticky rice. I can already taste it.
A bottle of 2005 Josef Leitz Rudesheimer Klosterlay Riesling Kabinett ($16) would be perfect: refreshing and cleansing acidity to cut through the coconut milk; a hint of sweetness to offset the heat of curry. The aromas of peaches, pears, flowers and earth will make it the belle of the ball. I'd better get two bottles. (If you're not into wine, a blended Mango Margaritas will also do.)
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. All I have to do is cook and eat. There's no stress, just pure celebratory hedonism. I cook the turkey on the grill using indirect heat, with a bit of kiawe added at the end for a little -- never a lot -- of smokiness for complexity.
Beaujolais nouveau is always fun to drink at Thanksgiving, but if you want something deeper, look for a great pinot noir. The French 2005 Bouchard Pere et Fils Pommard ($36) is a beauty, so silky and with such pretty fruit aromas of cherry, plum and spice that you might want to dip your turkey in it. A little closer to home, the 2005 Melville "Terraces" Pinot Noir ($39) from Santa Rita Hills, Calif., has just as much complexity, with a more intense aroma and sandalwood spice that you will not soon forget.
If you're not into red wines, a bottle of chardonnay is lovely with turkey and gravy. The 2006 Neyers Napa Valley Chardonnay ($24) is a sensual experience, with voluptuous, rich texture and gobs of ripe fruit. It will put a grin on your gravy-stained teeth.
Christmas is usually a potpourri of wonderful things -- snow crab legs, Chinese steamed fish, steaks, roast duck and other glamorous fare. I'm not even going to try to make pairings, I'll just drink what I like most. And that is burgundy.
Finding value in burgundy is difficult given today's exchange rate. My advice is to buy wines from the 2005 vintage, because they are exceptional. The 2005 Lucien Boillot Gevrey Chambertin ($30) is a stunning example of the appellation and soothes the thirst for great pinot noir quite handily.
Whites from 2005 vintage were also excellent, even the "lowly" wines of the basic Bourgogne Blanc appellation. Those from great producers showed greater complexity and flavor than their official status. The 2005 Domaine Jean-Marc Roulot Bourgogne Blanc ($25) is a palate-seducer. It is round and elegant with notes of orange blossoms, citrus, sweet vanilla and pears. It's a wine to be lapped up by the glassful.
Drink whatever is your favorite, as these celebrations come only once a year. And please celebrate safely.
Roberto Viernes is a master sommelier and wine educator with Southern Wine & Spirits.
This column is a weekly lesson in wine pairing written by a rotating panel of wine professionals. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org