Many people stress about selecting wines during the holidays. Our advice: relax and enjoy yourself. Bordeaux has a special place this time of year and serves as a perfect fit to bring to a party, drink with a meal, or to gift to someone special. Simply identify the occasion and refer to the following tips.
For parties, you’ll want something easy and versatile. Bordeaux fills this niche with no problems. White or red? It really doesn’t matter. Choose what you like to drink, and rest assured other guests will be fine with it. It’s a party after all!
At around $15, Chateau Bonnet Blanc makes a great party White with dry, fruity and crisp flavors that always stay light.
Chateau Ballan Larquette 2012, also around $15, makes a great party Red with soft, fresh tones and a nice red fruit that appeals to all red drinkers.
Choosing the right Bordeaux for a meal is also a snap. What foods are being served?
For seafood, salads, light appetizers, ham or turkey; go with White Bordeaux. Chateau Les Clauzots 2011 from the Graves Appellation is a fine choice: under $20 with citrus tones, dry and solid acidity to pair with food.
Prime Rib, Lamb, Pork and stews call for Red. Chateau Tour Pibran 2009 from Pauillac is a perfect pairing here. Around $30, almost equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with a rich supple body, firm elegant tannins and lovely notes of cherry, cocoa and berry.
When it comes to desserts you choose Sweet. Chateau Piada 2006 Sauternes, full bodied, bright with viscous notes of honey, orange blossom and nutmeg.
See? That’s not hard at all.
When gifting wine, gift Bordeaux. Why? Wines typical to the region tend to please most palates and are among the most popular wines in the world. If the lucky person on the receiving end is someone you know well, simply think about their wine preferences. If it’s a business associate or work colleague you don’t know as well, don’t sweat it, there’s a balanced Bordeaux out there that any wine lover will love.
Some things to remember: Cabernet and Merlot vines in California came from Bordeaux and most Bordeaux reds are Cabernet and Merlot blends, which means if they like California reds, chances are they will love Bordeaux.
Men tend to prefer red, younger crowds tends to prefer sweet, but there are really no hard rules.
For someone special, you can choose one great bottle, or pick a small selection of say 4 to 6 bottles of less expensive wines which they can enjoy all year long.
Those who are regular wine drinkers might appreciate one great bottle such as Chateau Tour Pibran 2009, Pauillac from a spectacular vintage which will please any seasoned oenophile and still fall under the $50 price point.
Friends just learning about wine will enjoy a selection they can have some fun with, so choose four or five wines from the many different regions of Bordeaux both Right Bank and Left Bank, called “Appellations”. For $50 you can send them on a virtual tour of Bordeaux.
You can also dress up one bottle of wine by adding a pair of nice wine glasses and a nice corkscrew. Take one bottle of Mouton Cadet Red 2012 at around $10-12, add 2 good red wine glasses at $6 each, put them into a box tied up with a ribbon and voila, a great gift for only $25.
Make your gift personal for the cooks in your life by choosing a food pairing suggestion handwritten on a nice card. Look for Chateau les Hauts-Consellants 2010 Lalande-de-Pomerol at $25 and design a nice card suggesting pairing this Merlot based wine with Steak au Poivre and include the recipe with a small bottle of gourmet peppercorns. Wasn’t that easy?
Bordeaux wines are so special and beloved because of their versatility, reliability and affordability. Relax and enjoy the Season with family and friends. Bordeaux wines will help make your Holidays Merry and Bright. Cheers!
This post was brought to you by Austin-based Bordeaux Wine Buff, Rob Moshein aka Austin Wine Guy and professional of 34 vintages.
Rob Moshein has been a Bordeaux Le Wine Buff from the beginning. He “cut his teeth” on some of the great 1st Growth Bordeaux of the 1960s and 70s. More on Rob at austinwineguy.com.