Perfect Wines To Brighten Your Holidays
The holidays are always a great time to get together and enjoy a wine or two. So, what do you bring to one of these holiday parties? Here’s a small sample if wine ideas that would work for cocktail parties, sit down dinners or dessert get together.
Beaujolais Nouveau – Beaujolais Nouveau only comes out one time a year. It gets released globally every year on the third Thursday of November. Typically this is one week prior to Thanksgiving over here in the United States. Consider this wine the starter red wine for non-red wine drinkers. It’s a light bodied, very smooth fruity red wine with light tannins (dryness). With this wine you can even put a slight chill on it before serving. Now there is one thing to remember about this wine. It’s not an aged red wine so the chance of trying to keep it for a long period of time to age it is not a great idea. The rule of thumb is to drink this wine while still very young and fresh. So in reality this makes this wine a perfect holiday gathering wine – inexpensive, ready to drink and effortless to sip.
Gewürztraminer – The name Gewürtztraminer is a little long so if you need to shorten it you may simply call it Gewurtz (guh-VURTS). The grape is grown in regions of France, Germany, the United States and Italy, where it is thought to have originated. Why is this considered a holiday wine? Well, this a great wine to serve with your holiday turkey dishes. The flavors compliment the actual bird and the sides (stuffing, potatoes, etc…) as well. The wine has an aroma of sweet flowers with apple cinnamon and pear qualities but with the added richness of spice and lychee notes. Choose this wine over Chardonnay for your next turkey dinner.
Glüwein – The name “glüwein” roughly translated from German means “glow-wine”. You will usually only find this wine around the Winter season. It is one of many “mulled” wines we’ll showcase here. Mulled means to heat and add spices typically. Glüwein is a German red wine that is heated and then either cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, citrus or sugar are added while heating. You can add one of those ingredients or a combination of those to satisfy your own taste. The wine is so low in alcohol that in Germany the children drink it with gingerbread.
Glögg – Glögg is a Nordic mulled wine just like Glüwein but has the spices (cinnamon, sugar, cardamom, ginger, cloves and bitter orange) already infused in the wine. The wine is heated and then generally served with raisins, nuts and Ginger Snaps. Glögg is a perfect holiday wine to serve in a large heated punch bowl for a party with many guests. It goes well with almost any holiday dessert or treat you may serve.
Ice Wine or Eiswein – Now this wine is for those parties that require a dessert wine. Why you ask? Well, an ice wine is basically full of sugar. The process is extremely simple enough. The grape is left on the vine to wither and freeze in the cold climate. Then the grapes are harvested and pressed. What this produces is a concentrated thick-ish wine with a huge amount of residual sugar. Depending on the grape variety it can be light and sweet to thick and syrupy. This wine is great for those holiday parties with tasty sweets, thick fudge or warm tarts or pies.
Port (or Porto) – Port is generally produced from grapes grown in the Duoro region of Portugal. The name actually comes from the city Porto; a seaport city at the mouth of the Duoro River. To produce Port, the first step is to take the grapes and to start to produce a “still wine” like your basic wine shop or grocery store wine. Then when this wine is halfway produced or fermented it is “fortified” with an addition of a neutral grape spirit called “Aguardente” or “Brandy”. This brandy is not the liquor variety we’re used to, but just an additive to stop the wine fermentation process thereby leaving residual sugar in the wine. By leaving more sugar it makes the wine have a higher-level alcohol content, usually 18% to 20% alcohol. The Port is then stored in wooden barrels or in bottles in cellars or “caves” for aging. Now comes the fun part. Port wine comes in four different categories: Vintage Ports, Ruby Ports, Tawny Ports and White Ports. Nothing says relaxing than sipping a port while talking with friends.
So, I do hope you try one or all of these wines this season. You will make even the warmest Florida night feel like a Winter Wonderland. Cheers!