From sparkling wines and fresh whites to lighter reds, we share some of the wines we enjoy with a celebratory meal. Even if your family meal this week doesn't include a holiday tradition, these wines complement the dishes—spring vegetables, sweet hams, bitter greens, and roasts—we often eat this time of year.
Sparkling wines have often been relegated to special occasions, but their ability to bring out the natural flavors of food is typically underappreciated. Quiches, deviled eggs, and sweet hams can overwhelm some wines, but the bubbles in a sparkling wine can refresh the palate. While so many sparkling wines will be a great addition to your meal, we are excited about the return of the NV Pierre Paillard "Les Parcelles" Extra Brut. Located in Bouzy, a village in Champagne noted for Pinot Noir, Paillard is a fanatic about the slow process of building flavors over the course of years. It's just returned, and it's one of our favorite Champagnes under $60.
Bitter greens, spring vegetables, and salads love fresh, unoaked whites with underlying herbal hints. Sauvignon Blanc, Gruner Veltliner, and Verdejo have an affinity for greens. The 2019 Ducasse Bordeaux Blanc blends a bit of Semillon with Sauvignon Blanc, adding some more weight and body to the bright floral, minerally aromas. Where sweeter root vegetables, or even a classic baked ham, becomes part of the meal, a richer Chenin Blanc or a slightly off-dry Riesling can feel more refreshing than sweet. The 2018 Stein Weihwasser Riesling Feinherb comes from a man devoted to preserving the vines of the Lower Mosel. He works on some of the world's steepest slopes while making wines that strike that seemingly perfect balance between just perceptible sweetness and lively acid.
The focus on the main dish can often drive our choices about wine, but sometimes, a generous red that pairs well with a range of dishes is more enjoyable. Lighter, fruit-forward wines, such as Beaujolais, young Pinot Noir, or rosé, can bring fresh berry flavors that support the entire meal. For a classic choice, the 2018 Paul Hobbs Crossbarn Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast shows off the pretty, red-fruited end of this fruit. More intense flavors, maybe where a roast or lamb be the focus, Malbec, Merlot-based Bordeaux, and the Rhône Valley are all versatile. Aged Rioja can be a surprising addition to these meals. The tradition is Rioja is to release wines when they are ready to drink. Producers such as Lopez de Herediaage their wines in large foudres for years before releasing. His 2011 Rioja Crianza Vino Cubillo offers an intriguing play of freshness with depth and age. Floral and woodsy aromas feel delicate while the fruit is persistent and long.
Need suggestions for your special meal this week? Give us a call or e-mail us.