By Robert Paul –
Striving to be the good host, I like to greet guests with a flute of bubbly. It seems to create an upbeat mood and the gesture brings a smile to everyone’s face. Sometimes it’s champagne, other times it might be a sparkling rose that I recently discovered and want to share. Prosecco is generally a hit too, especially for those who find a Brut champagne too, shall we say, brutish. Whichever bubbly you choose, this simple expression of hospitality won’t go unnoticed. Champagne and champagne-style wines are synonymous with celebration. During the holiday season everyone appreciates an extravagant demonstration of welcome. One or two of your guests will stay with the bubbly straight through the evening. And that’s as it should be.
At table, I go with both red and white choices regardless of the primary meat or fish being served. Some wine snobs will only drink reds, others are committed to whites. Why should I judge? Remember, my aim is to be a good and amiable host. At a small dinner party this past week, my red and white choices were two tasty examples from the same winery, both from the 2011 vintage.
Bridlewood Estate Winery, from California’s Central Coast is now producing some of the most dependable and well-crafted wines from this appellation. The two that our group enjoyed are representatives of the most popular grapes from that state, chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon.
The 2011 Chardonnay proved an excellent accompaniment for the fowl, which some of our guests chose. They commented that it was smooth and had a hint of vanilla and some tropical fruit. All were adamant that it was mouth-watering. This wine gets high marks for drinkability.
The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, by contrast, seemed to pair very well with the beef roast. Its brilliant color and black fruit forward, especially black raspberry, allowed this wine to stand up for itself, but it was also a wonderful pairing with the rib roast. The prices for these two wines are about $11 – $16.
My suggestion for the holidays is that you stock what you love and what you know your guests will enjoy. And if you can find those choices on sale, so much the better. Cheers and Happy Holidays!