Perfect Pairings – Advice from the Wine Cellar

Holiday season is upon us, and no one likes to show up to a party or gathering empty handed. Instead of grabbing a bottle of your regular cabernet or merlot, get a little creative this year when picking out wines to give to your host.

Instead of the popular Sauvignon Blanc, why not pick up a Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley of France? Both wines are lighter bodied whites, but the Chenin Blanc tends to have a softer fruit and citrus finish, compared to Sav Blanc’s higher acidity and green fruit notes. It makes for an easy and smooth crowd pleaser perfect for any holiday gathering.

For an alternative to the popular rosé wine, try one of the currently trendy orange wines. While rosé is made using red grape varietals with limited skin contact during the wine making process, orange wine is made with white grape varietals leaving the skin intact during fermentation. In other words, rosé uses red grapes made in the white wine making style, while orange wines use white grapes made in the red wine making style. The result is that the orange wines take on more characteristics of red wines, such as more tannins, bigger and bolder flavor, and a slight sourness. Orange wines vary greatly, so you can explore these wines to no end.

While a U.S. grown cabernet or merlot is always a great addition to a party, why not try to Bordeaux blend this year instead. Bordeaux blends are made from a mix of cabernet and merlot grapes grown in the Bordeaux region of France. A “Right Bank” Bordeaux will contain more merlot than cab resulting in a smoother finish with a more subtle tannin. A “Left Bank” Bordeaux has more cabernet than merlot giving it the peppery finish with bolder tannins.

It’s possible to get some options of each of these wines without breaking the bank, and contrary to popular belief, a screw top wine does not automatically indicate a cheaper wine. In fact, screw tops have been shown to keep wines fresher longer! So don’t snub the screw top.

A great way to pick out a wine to pair with a party is to attend wine tastings at Wolf + Wildflower, right here in Wheat Ridge. That way you can taste multiple wines without committing to a full glass or bottle and can really develop your taste and the characteristics that you love in a glass of wine. When out, try a glass of wine that you have never tried before, and have fun with it!

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