Dreaming of a “Wine” Christmas? Consider these selections from the Hilton College’s wine guy

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Like unwrapping a present on Christmas morning, with wine, many never know what to expect until the bottle is open. To make holiday wine giving a little less complicated, the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management recently held a free wine tasting for faculty, staff and students. Part of the College’s Fred Parks Lecture Series, “Wines for the Holidays” featured Guy Stout, one of only two Master Sommeliers in Texas, who led the evening’s tasting.

For those who missed the event and would like to learn more about what to serve with a holiday meal or what might be a great gift, don’t worry. Kevin Simon, director of the Fred Parks Wine Cellar, rings in with some of his favorite holiday wines and their approximate retail prices.

From the “Wine Guy” at the Hilton College

Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine released just six to eight weeks after harvest. The result is a freshness that is achieved through a lively, but, soft taste. It can be paired with a variety of dishes and has enough acidity to cut through and complement heavier courses.

Recommendations:

  • Georges Duboeuf, Beaujolais Nouveau ($9/bottle)
  • Mommessin, Beaujolais Nouveau ($12/bottle)

Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine that has certain styles that benefit from oak aging, resulting in a smoky, grassy flavor. Herbal notes allow it to pair well with fish and poultry, particularly a holiday turkey.

Recommendations:

  • Murphy Goode Fume Blanc ($10/bottle)
  • Ladoucette Pouilly-Fume ($25/bottle)

If needing intense fruit and spice to accompany holiday food, look no further than Zinfandels, offering the range and intensity to cooperate with an entire holiday spread.

Recommendations:

  • Rancho Zabaco Dry Creek ($17/bottle)
  • Rosenblum Zinfandel ($18/bottle)

Rich desserts are part of what sets holiday cuisine apart, and nothing is a sweeter pair with these decadent finales than a fine Port. Tawny Ports offer a nutty, caramel taste that begs to complement pecan pie, a Texas tradition. Ruby Ports often ring of cherries and berries and are a fine addition to chocolate desserts.

Recommendations:

  • Warres Otima 10-Year Tawny ($22/half bottle)
  • Dows Late Bottled Vintage ($20/bottle)

Late harvest wines are another option that work particularly well with desserts. Their very sweet, concentrated flavor is the product of partially raisined grapes, affectionately called the “noble rot” within the industry. Pumpkin pie and other creamy desserts deserve nothing less.

Recommendations:

  • Lilly Pilly – from Australia ( $14/half bottle)
  • Chateau de Malle – from France’s Sauternes region ($34/half bottle)

‘Tis the season to be festive, and nothing carries that signature better than a sparkling wine. With enough acidity to cut through a variety of dishes, sparkling wines make the perfect gift for dinner parties where the menu isn’t known. Great before, with and after a meal, they add an elegance that deserves a seat at any holiday table.

Recommendations:

  • Cordorniu Brut ($8/bottle)
  • Rosa Regale – especially good with chocolate ($20/bottle)
  • Veuve Clicquot Champagne ($45/bottle)

“When enjoyed responsibly, wine contributes to a lifetime of health and happiness,” Simon said. “The holiday season is about celebrating family, friends and the good fortune of the past year. What better way to uncork our thankfulness and generosity than by sharing a bottle with those we love most?”


David Raffetto

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