Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wines for New Year’s

By Liza B. Zimmerman

I can drink bubbles all year long. They are great on their own and pair beautifully with almost anything but steak, although a little tartare would go well with some sparkling roses. You don’t really need a reason to drink bubbles, but New Year’s celebrations do certainly provide a good excuse.

One of my favorites is Billecart-Salmon rose; it is a stunningly lush and elegant wine. Another, more affordable, choice is the Canard-Duchene NV Brut Rose with its lovely cherry notes. Dry Lambruscos are also so delicious and pair wonderfully with all kinds of sausages and sliced meats that you might like to snack on before a meal. Cantina di Sorbara "Nicchia" is a lovely choice and being low in alcohol, at eight percent, it is a great way to start off an evening.

Going White for the Holidays
This winter has been unseasonably warm in New York so I have been drinking a lot of white wine. Those from cool climates, such as Riesling, remind me of places with snow. Cave Spring Estate Riesling is a gorgeous example of what can be made in Canada, in the Niagara Escarpment in Ontario. This stunner has just a hint of residual sugar and great mineral notes.

Gavi, with its steely elegance, from Piedmont has long been a favorite wine for me. The Broglia "il Doge" reminds me of cozy dinners of rich agnolotti, a local stuffed pasta, on my visits to the regions. The Loire Valley’s classic Pouilly Fumes and sea-salty Muscadets are also perfect for this season. Any of these lovely whites would be great with both hard and soft and stinky cheeses to open or conclude a meal.

Hearty Reds
A big Spanish or French Grenache blend is great for the holidays. These blends rich and intense and tend to open up in beautiful layers. Alvaro Palacio’s big, tannic and iconic “Les Terraces” from Priorat will take on the biggest cuts of meat and make your Cabernet Sauvignon-loving friends fall in love with Spain.

Some of my other favorite wines, with a hint of Grenache, are the unendingly rich gems from the Rhone Valley. Kermit Lynch’s Cotes du Rhone is an affordable treat with a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mouvedre. Yann Chave’s Crozes-Hermitage is even more complex and is 100 percent Syrah. These wines can stand up to the richest stew, think oxtail or beef bourguignon. Or they would be great with a rich pork shank or any meaty cut of beef.

To end an evening there’s nothing better than a rowdy and spice-filled Nebbiolo. I would take Barbaresco any day for its rougher edges over Barolo. A little Dolcetto, the daily wine of the Piedmontese, always hits the spot as well. Whatever you choose the most important part is to in enjoy in good company. Happy New Year!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Liza B. Zimmerman has been writing and consulting about wine and food for two decades. She is principal of the San Francisco-based Liza the Wine Chick wine writing, education and consulting firm. She has worked on staff and freelance at national magazines such as Wine Enthusiast, The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana, Wine Spectator, Where SF and the Examiner. She currently contributes to Cheers, Wine Business Monthly and the Examiner, among others.

Zimmerman focuses on demystifying wine and transforming it into a tool for business and networking for companies all over the country. Past clients include Genentech, Roche and IBM.

She has visited all the world’s major wine regions and is one of select few in the U.S. to hold the Diploma of Wine & Spirits (D.W.S.), the three-year precursor to the Master of Wine.

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