FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Ready or not, Christmas is here and with it, the mad rush to get everything ready for entertaining family and friends. Jon Haight, owner of Wine Unwrapped, which holds educational classes and private tastings across the Fairfield County area, offered advice on wines to please even the fussiest of guests.
- "Sparkling wines are the perfect way to greet guests at Christmas," he said. "Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley ($24) is one of my favorite American bubblies. I'ts perfect by on its own but it also a great match for appetizers."
- "Ravines Dry Riesling Finger Lakes, 2013 ($17) is a wine that pairs well with ham. It has great flavors and it has with a nice touch of acidity that makes it refreshing. This wine is wonderful with shellfish as well," he said.
- Beef tenderloin, beef fillet and prime rib are often on the menu this time of year and that calls for Pinot Noir, a crowd-pleasing red that complements those meats. Ponzi Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Tavola 2012 ($25) is a graceful wine with a nice, long finish and is highly recommended, according to Haight.
- For those looking for a red from an up-and-coming region try the Mencia grape from Bierzo in northwest Spain. "Descendientes de J. Palacios Bierzo Pétalos from 2009, 2010, and 2012 were all very good vintages," he said and cost about $23. "Flavors of black cherry, espresso and smoke with a plush texture make it a pleasure to drink with most any type of meat."
- Last but not least, as the meal comes to a close, try something lighter with a bit of sweetness. The Vietti Moscato d'Asti Cascinetta 2013 is an estate grown and bottled wine "low in alcohol, a touch sweet, and has enough acidity to keep it from being cloying." It has flavors of apricot and ginger and a bit of carbonation to wake up your taste buds.
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