Getting through the holidays one glass at a time.
Each passing holiday season allows the opportunity to imbibe our favorite seasonal cocktails. Whether it be hot buttered rum at the annual party, eggnog by the wood-burning fireplace or hot spiced cider while opening presents, these drinks become a part of our collective memory. As wide-ranging in style, size and cultural backgrounds as holiday parties can be, there are equally as many wines to suit each occasion.
“One of my favorite things during the holidays is going home to visit family and sitting around the fireplace,” says Rachael Lowe, beverage director of the Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago. “We start with Champagne, move to a white, and then a red while sitting by the Christmas tree at the dinner table.”
Affordable wines for large scale wine parties
The holidays provide an opportunity to share holiday cheer with coworkers. Without the proper execution, these moments can quickly turn sour. In a Christmas episode of “The Office,” manager Michael Scott ruined the yuletide mood after sabotaging a secret Santa gift exchange. To say that it resulted in an uncomfortable situation would be an understatement. His attempt to recover by plying his employees with cheap vodka created an even worse situation. In his own defense: “Stupid corporate wet blankets. Like booze ever killed anybody."
To avoid an awkward holiday party moment like this, make sure the wine is flowing so the conversation will follow suit. The ideal work party wine is something that goes down smoothly and is easy on the corporate budget.
“Look for affordable areas that people don’t necessarily recognize,” Lowe says. “I like wine from small regions where you can get good value, like southwest France, southern Italy and Spain.” She recommends Domaine La Croix Belle Vin de Pays des Cotes de Thongue Les Calades from Languedoc, France.
The dining room manager and sommelier of Kendall College in Chicago, Wanda Cole, advocates sparkling wine. “It serves many purposes,” Cole says. “It is food-friendly and provides an ambience of celebration and prosperity. You don’t just have to be celebrating New Year’s Eve to drink bubbly.”
She recommends either a Prosecco or a Cava that is approachable and not too sweet, such as Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco from Valdobbiadene, Italy.