Whining can be a part of preparing for the holidays—long lines at the mall, certain family members coming to town, the feeling that you’re listening to “All I Want for Christmas is You” on loop. When all is said and done, it’s wine time. And on Long Island wineries, the half-full glasses runneth over. Four local winemakers shared their favorite Long Island wines to pair with traditional dishes.
Assorted Appetizers: Pigs in a Blanket, Sliders, Mini-Quiches and Charcuterie
Tradition tends to be the name of the holiday game, and this spread full of comfort food appetizers comes with a dash of nostalgia. But consider something a little different than the expected sparkling or red wine for the day’s first toast. “Rosé is a crowd-pleaser and a good place to start any meal,” said Anthony Nappa, the vintner at Raphael Vineyard & Winery. Any meal includes meals enjoyed after Labor Day. Nappa notes that Raphael’s 2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir is “a darker, rich rosé which could hold up to the richer apps and with nice acidity to cut the fat and compliment the flavors.”
Butternut Squash Soup
A piping hot bowl of soup can warm hearts—a good thing if guests are on opposite sides of the political aisle. Whether they are or aren’t, the first course is the perfect time to uncork something sparkling. Because butternut squash soup is rich in flavor, Patrick Caserta of Shinn Estate Vineyards suggested looking for a wine with high acidity, like Shinn’s 2013 Sparkling Brut. The Brut’s high natural acidity and the inherent sweetness and savory earthiness of the soup allow the two to “bring out the best of one another.”
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Turkeys often get a second life come Christmas dinner (in the least literal sense possible). Rich Olsen-Harbich of Bedell Cellars suggested finding a wine that has a “fruity profile without too much acidity and tannin which may clash with the delicate flavors of a roast bird.” Opt for Bedell Cellars’ 2016 Viognier. Its aromatic, full-bodied and fruit-forward profile doesn’t try to steal the big bird’s show.
Chocolate and wine are generally considered as perfect for one another as a Long Islander and a bagel. But there are best practices.”You generally want your wine to be sweeter than dessert,” said Gilles Martin, winemaker at Sparkling Pointe. The only vineyard to produce sparkling wine exclusively also offers a vino and chocolate pairing menu. He suggested pairing the Sparkling Pointe Cuvée Carnaval Blancs with white or milk chocolate. “With almost 30 g/l Residual Sugar this bubbly is produced in the Sec or off-dry style,” Martin said. “It will have a noticeable sweetness with a richer texture featuring floral aromas and flavors of tropical fruits.” Play off the profile by adding a little sea salt or orange zest to the chocolate for what Martin calls a “winning combination.”