It happens to the best of us. When it comes to the holiday season, regardless of noble intentions - we end up avoiding our regular gym or yoga sessions, we promise ourselves we’ll resume the running regimen in the New Year, and any sense of monitoring our calories and nutrition go out the window. Yup, ‘tis the season of joyful feasting, and rather than castigating ourselves for slacking on our regular routine, I prefer to ensure we have perfect pairings to match our indulgences.
Here are three example of seasonal party fare we’re likely to find ourselves tucking into over the next few weeks, along with a perfect accompaniment to wash down each of ‘em…
Yup, it’s Christmas tradition for more than a few to enjoy fresh oysters or various baked or stewed versions this time of year; check out this Chicago Tribune article for a Washington State oysterman’s holiday history with them. For a good go-to across the map that’ll suit the aromatic, salty and briny character oysters harbour - a crisp and lively, minerally Chardonnay goes down a treat! If you look fairly close at something like Little Farm Winery’s 2014 Chardonnay from British Columbia’s Similkameen Valley, you can see why it’d be an automatic refresher. Not only would the zippy citrus and nectarine notes act as a perfect mignonette-ish accompaniment, but the limestone-rich minerality of the wine would hit the mineral notes an oyster carries with ease.
Chips, Nuts & Pretzels
Whenever I attend any holiday get-together, if there are any potato chips, nuts or pretzels offered for grazing, I’m totally in my happy place and will likely ruin my dinner. With most of these, no matter which individual flavour enhancements elevate them, they’re gonna be a little salty and you’ll likely need a palate refresher after a few handfuls that’ll leave you eager to reach back into the bowl. Sparkling wine is an easy solution to many a pairing conundrum, and with salty (and possibly greasy) snacks that can also be a tad starchy, there’s nothing that’ll refresh you more. With Ontario’s 20 Bees 2013 Buzz & Bubbles only setting you back a mere $13.95, you can replenish those bowls as often as you’d like!
Charcuterie, Sausage & Meat Pies
Ah, yes! Before we actually get to carving the turkey, we’re quite likely to become familiar with a little more four-legged, carnivorous fare. Since most of these kinds of things can carry a good dose of richness, I actually like to stray away from wines that are too rich or heavy. A lighter red composed of Pinot Noir or Gamay should provide good balance, yet enough oomph to stand up to the bolder flavours of cured meats, spices and other elements we’d find in this department. In fact, I’m gonna employ both recommended varieties and champion Naramata, B.C.’s JoieFarm 2013 PTG, which blends the two, resulting in a plum and cherry-laden elegant red that enjoys hints of seasonal cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.
Also, while we’re on the subject of holiday cheer – do keep in mind that My Wine Canada Gift Certificates are available in any denomination, and recipients have over 70 of Canada’s best wineries to choose from!
Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based wine consultant, writer, competition judge and enthusiast. Track him down at KurtisKolt.com, or on Twitter and Instagram @KurtisKolt.