Cheers to the Holidays

Discover which wines to serve at the holiday festivities.

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The holidays are upon us, and entertaining is in full swing. Chances are you’re planning to serve wine at your event but might be wondering which wines to serve and how much to buy. A general rule of thumb is to offer a dry red, a dry white, an off-dry wine (can be red, white or rosé) and a sweet wine (red, white or rosé), according to the Missouri Wine and Grape Board. A sample selection could include a Norton, a Vidal Blanc, a Vignoles and a Concord or pink Catawba. That assortment offers options for a variety of palates and pairs well with most dishes. (Note: Vignoles can be dry, off-dry or sweet, depending on the vintage and the vintner. Check the label for descriptive terms to help you determine what style of Vignoles it is.)

The 2018 Missouri Wine Competition results highlight specific wines that fit this suggested assortment. These wines won “Best of Class” in their categories this year

DRY RED: Stone Hill Winery, 2015 Chambourcin (This wine also won the Governor’s Cup.)

DRY WHITE: Adam Puchta Winery, Dry Vignoles

OFF-DRY OR SEMI-DRY (RED): Augusta Winery, Alluvium Estate Bottled

SWEET WINE (RED): Montelle Winery, Stone House Red

Sparkle

Sparkling wines add a festive note to a holiday celebration. Missouri vintners make a variety of sparkling wines, from dry to sweet, white to rosé. Sparkling wine, not Champagne. The difference? An international trade agreement in 2006 specified that only wines made in a particular style with grapes grown in the Champagne region of France could be called Champagne. A few other sparkling wines were grandfathered in, but for the most part, Champagne comes from France, and sparkling wines come from elsewhere.

In this year’s Missouri Wine Competition, the Best of Class sparkling wine was Stone Hill Winery’s 2013 Blanc de Blanc.

Spend

Once you decide what to buy, you’ll need to figure out how much to buy. A little simple math will give you the answer.

A serving of wine is about 5 ounces, and a standard-size bottle of wine (750 ml) yields about five servings. Figure the number of guests and how long the event will be to come up with the number of bottles needed. If you are serving other beverages, you will need less wine.

Offering a wine punch or sangria is a way to simplify serving and reduce the amount of wine needed.

Chill

Temperature is important when it comes to serving wine. Traditionally, white wines are served chilled and red wines are served at room temperature. But that rule of thumb was based on chilly room temperatures in drafty European manor houses. Today, many people prefer to slightly chill red wine.

The 3-2-1 rule is a handy way to remember how long wines need to be refrigerated: Three hours for sparkling wine, two hours for white wine and one hour for red wine.

If serving sparkling wine, remember the bubbles are key. Instead of pouring sparkling wine straight down into the flute (tall, slender wine glass), try pouring it down the side of the glass, similar to the way beer is poured. You’ll preserve more bubbles that way.

Barbara Gibbs Ostmann serves on the Missouri Wine and Grape Board.

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