Thursday, December 15, 2016

Wines for a Full Moon

By Liza B. Zimmerman

You have a chance to see the entire face of the man on the moon about once a month. As the cycle between full moons is about 29.5 days some months we even see two of them. According to they all also have unique names: such as the Full Worm Moon in March or the Full Pink Moon in April.

December’s full moon is called The Full Cold Moon and the Full Long Nights Moon. It is also sometimes called the Moon before Yule since it comes right before Christmas. Buddhists think that these evenings of the full moon are sacred while I think they give us all a great excuse to sample different wines.

Full Moon Pairings
Since, “The Farmers Almanac calls December’s full moon a ‘Cold Moon,’ so what could pair better with that than a chilled glass of pink Champagne?,” asks Terry Berch, owner of Philadelphia’s London Grill. She adds that “I especially like the way that rose Champagne matches the rosy tint of the moon’s surface as it rises.”

I couldn’t agree more and rose sparkling wine goes with practically anything besides big, fatty meats. Sipping ice cold bubbles from anywhere seems particularly right while admiring this moon that escorts us into the height of the holiday season.

“I celebrate the full moon every month,” says Berch. She claims not to be superstitious but it just “awed by the grandeur of our planet. Again, it feels like a cause for celebration to me, so a sparkling wine is always a good choice and feels a little like the stars twinkling around the moon.”

Cool-Climate Choices
Since December brings cold weather to most of the country you might want some bone-warming wines. A luscious red like a Spanish Garnacha or a spicy Rhone would do the trick. Elegant Bordeaux blends from both sides of the Gironde River and California would also hit the spot.

Berch shares that, “In the winter, I like the leisurely feel of a rich Port wine paired with a cigar – it’s a perfect little luxury to make the occasion of the full moon.” An aged 10- or 20-year-old Tawny is always a treat. A little dram of Sherry would also work well.

If you are superstitious about the occasion you could make a roast or stew with lots of garlic to ward away bad intentions. Italian Sangiovese and Tempranillo generally work well with garlic-inflected food. If you want to pump up the volume of the pairing Malbec and Syrah would also be good choices. Cheers and happy moon gazing.

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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