Monday, December 21, 2009

Choosing wines for the holidays

by Amy Garma, owner of the South Loop Wine Cellar

Amongst the flurry of activity - parties, shopping , gift wrapping, food preparation - that accompanies the holidays, don’t let choosing the wines for your holiday feasts add to your stress.  Follow the simple guidelines below for easy delicious food and wine pairings.

Be the perfect party host
If you’re hosting this holiday season, start your party off on a festive note by pairing traditional appetizers like smoked salmon with a light champagne or sparkling wine.  Our customers love the Ruggeri & C. Prosecco Valdobbiadene Black Label ($23.50).  Alternatively, snack on your favorite artichoke dip, veggie tray or appetizer with our 2007 Casa Alle Vacche Vernaccia ($18.50); or try some shrimp cocktail or oysters with a refreshing sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio.  We like the 2007 Matthais Roblin sancerre from Fance’s Loire Valley ($27.99) and the Monte Volpe pinot grigio ($15.50).

There's a wine for every dish
With the wide assortment of dishes that might comprise your main course, finding the perfect wine to accompany everything might seem like too great a challenge – but don’t worry.  Food friendly wines like the 2007 Preludio tempranillo ($16.99) or the Row Eleven pinot noir ($22.00) will pair well with most dishes, including turkey, roasts or other wild game.  If you’re planning on serving up some prime rib or succulent steak at your holiday meal, you can’t go wrong with a hearty cabernet sauvignon.  We recommend the 2007 Duckhorn Decoy ($32.99) or the 2005 Cafaro Cab ($40.00).

Sweet endings
But let’s not forget dessert!  If you’re serving a fruity dessert, like a traditional or Dutch apple pie, open a Moscato d’Asti like our 2007 Tranchero from Piemonte, Italy ($19.00) or the Tabali late harvest muscat, from Chile ($15.50).  With a cheese plate, try a tawny port like the Quinta do Noval 10 Year ($35.00) (we hear this also goes well with peanut butter and chocolate Christmas cookies.) 

Need a last minute gift?  Give the sweet, spicy taste of Chicago’s Chriskindlesmarket Gluhwein ($11.99), a traditional favorite served warm, and the perfect antidote to the winter blues.

All of the above wines are available at South Loop Wine Cellar, 1442 S. Michigan Ave.

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