• Merry Christmas.
We reviewed wines for holiday feasts the past seven weeks. You read, you purchased. Now tips on how to evoke best from your choices.
It is 45 minutes before pouring starts. White wines are in your refrigerator, reds on the counter.
The trick: Take whites out of the fridge. Put reds in the fridge. Leave sparklings in the frig.
Many drink whites too cool and reds too warm. Big reds are best in the mid-60s, lighter reds in high 50s, whites in mid-40s to mid 50s, sparkling in mid-40s. Your fridge probably chills to 40 or less.
Warmth of your home, temperature of your fridge, how often fridge door gets opened and closed affect timing, so 45 minutes is ballpark (but you get the idea). Let the Christmas feast begin.
• Happy New Year
We toast a new year in one week. Champagne and other sparkling wines dominate this jollification, so quick sparkling refresher.
Champagne is sparkling wine made in Champagne region of France under strict rules; anything else calling itself champagne is an impostor. Cava is sparkling wine from Spain, typically a great value (Freixenet). Italy produces several spumantes (Italian for sparkling). Moscato grapes from Asti are used in some and prosecco grapes in others.
Quality American sparklings come from West Coast, New York state, and New Mexico (Gruet).
Sparklings come in varying levels of sweetness. Brut nature/extra brut is bone dry with no added sugar. Brut is dry, with wisp of sweetness. Extra dry is sweeter than brut, but still dry. Dry is slightly sweet. Demi-sec is medium sweet. Doux is flamboyantly sweet.
Brut is the biggest seller (probably because of a popular men’s cologne). You may find extra dry and dry more appealing.
Cheap sparklings are wimpy white wines injected with carbon dioxide. OK for punches and bargain parties (maybe…), but not classiest way to bid adieu to one year and greet the next.
Last round: When Christmas presents are being opened and people say I was hard to shop for, that clearly shows they don’t know where to buy wine.