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Time To Toast

Morgan Shepard

This holiday season consider something different from your usual cellar picks. Leave your comfort zone when choosing wine as a gift, for a family gathering or casual get together. Remember it does not need to be expensive to be delicious. Be thoughtful; understand your guest or recipient’s taste preferences or favorite cuisine. Here are three wines worth giving and serving. 

For the white (i.e. Chardonnay) wine drinker, try Viognier. Originally a French grape varietal, it is now grown from California to Virginia to Argentina. Voignier is well suited to festive foods; crab legs, shrimp cocktail, lobster tail also as a single sipper. 

For the lover of luxury but with a thin wallet, think sparkling Italian Prosecco. Bright, clean and crisp, made from Glera grapes with secondary fermentation. Unlike bubbly from the designated French Champagne region and in bottle secondary fermentation, Prosecco’s fermentation is in large steel tanks. Effervescent and lighter tasting than French Champagne, it pairs perfectly with smoked salmon appetizers or on its’ own for midnight toasting.   

For the unconventional, “Orange” wine.  Made in California, Italy and the former Yugoslavian Republic now Slovenia. Orange wines are the result of skin fermented white grapes for an extended period; 2 weeks to 9 months. Butterscotch colored to bright copper, usually full bodied with a unique aroma and cider like vibrancy, orange wines are good “go-between” wines, lighter than red, fuller bodied than white. Rich holiday dishes like rack of lamb, beef tenderloin and smoked pork loin marry well with the acidic & tannic structure of orange wines.

Need help choosing? Consult your local wine merchant for their recommendations.