What better way to ensure a fabulous dinner party than with skillfully paired wines to compliment the flavors of the evening? Even the most sober of guests are sure to enjoy a glass or two at your soiree and may not choose to bring their own bottle. So, why not play sommelier for the night? These selections may even give you some gift giving inspiration for the host or hostess when you’re the party attendee. We’ve put together a few tips on wine presentation and West Coast pairings for all the holiday dinner favourites.

Setting the Table:

Firstly, ensure your table is outfitted with the appropriate glassware. A selection of champagne flutes as well as red and white wine glasses will give guests an impressive array of options. In case this is your first embarkment on wine table setting, let’s go over the basics:

Red wine glasses have a short-stem with a bowl like shape. This allows for heat retention in the hand of the guest.

White wine is usually served slightly chilled so glasses have a long stem and narrower shape preventing the glass from heating up. Rosé wine is also served in a white wine glass.

Consider centering the table with a stylish wine decanter. It adds a sophisticated touch and will fill the room with a pleasant aroma while bringing out the wine’s best flavours.

LWTL wine pairing tips 1

So, which wine pairs with which meat?

Turkey

Turkey is actually a rather versatile meat, and pairs with a variety of wine selections; you won’t go wrong if you choose to stick to your favourite wine for this classic holiday favourite. However, the roast tends to shine with medium bodied red wines, specifically Pinot Noir. Also, a fruitier wine with some acidity acts pairs well for the same reasons as the coveted cranberry sauce topper. Try to stay from very dry wines as the bird itself can be drying on the mouth.

Our recommendations: BC’s Quails Gate crafts a nice Old Vines Foch or try Sterling Vitner’s Collection Pinot Noir from California. If you prefer white wine, stick with a Reisling such as the Mission Hill 2011 Reserve Riesling.

Goose

The richer of the main course options, Goose is also the pricier of the bunch, therefore, selecting a sophisticated wine to match will allow you to make the most of pairing. The dish calls for a more full-bodied wine such as a Burgundy or Zinfandel.

Our recommendations: Zinfandel – Brazen Old Vine Lodi 2010. For white wine options, stick to a Chardonnay or a Sauvignon Blanc such as Kendall-Jackson 2009 Avant Chardonnay.

Pork

Reisling or Gewurztraminer are considered the resounding favourites for pairing with ham. The fruity taste and acidity cuts through the rich & salty flavor.

Our recommendation: Lake Breeze 2007 Gewurztraminer.

Dessert

Dessert wine is meant to compliment and bring out the best flavours from within the dessert. There are a few general rules of thumb when selecting dessert wines. It should be the equivalent sweetness or less as the dessert to ensure it does not overshadow the dish.

Muscat: if your dish has spices such cinnamon or nutmeg, a fruity wine will work best.

If you’re serving a sweet dessert such as pumpkin pie or bread pudding, pair with a moderately sweet Muscat. When to have a glass of vintage port? With chocolate based desserts, gingerbread or shortcake.

Our recommendation: Hillside Estate Muscat Ottonel

Sparkling wine or champagne: perfect with moderate to sweet dessert options, especially chocolate covered fruit.

Our recommendation: Summerhill – Cipes Brut Ice wine: great paired with fruit or cheeses. Our recommendation: Inniskillin Okanagan – Riesling Icewine

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