Which Wines to Choose for the Holidays?

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The Southwestern Wine Guy offers Holiday wine recommendations and a handy wine eGuide, with basic to advanced advice on how to select good wines and how to care for them.

If the tons of ads for holiday wines have not completely inundated everyone, the choices they represent certainly could. The unhelpful, “drink what you like” is no guide and the advertisers often promise more than they deliver. Jim Hammond, the Southwestern Wine Guy, cuts to the chase with a list of regional choices for all the popular holiday wines that represent quality at reasonable prices. He is also offering copies of his e-book, A Wine Guide for Lovers…of Wine, which retails at $4.99 for only $2.99 through December 25, 2015.

Sparklers for all occasions
According to Hammond, sparkling wines are a no brainer, but Champagne wines get pricey fast. Other regions of France make wonderful sparklers, often identified as “crémant” as in Crémant de Bourgogne for sparkling wines of Burgundy. Spanish cava is another good choice, such as Freixenet, which offers several choices besides the popular black bottle most stores carry.

For domestic versions, he notes that Washington State offers many good choices, including Domain Ste. Michele from Chateau Ste. Michele, the state’s largest and oldest winery. The best sparklers perform the second fermentation in the bottle (aka: methode Champenoise).

White wines for your white Christmas?
Hammond suggests that few types of wine offer as many pairing and styling choices as Riesling and again Washington State leads the way. These wines range from sweet to very dry and will suit anyone’s palate. Riesling wines pair with turkey, ham, Asian cuisine and many German dishes.

He observes that Sauvignon Blanc is another great white wine for pairing, with New Zealand and Chile leading the way. Chilean versions are not as acidic for those that want a standalone wine to sip as well as pair. Torronteś white wines from Argentina are another great choice with floral elements and citrus notes that bring out the best in seafood.
Rosés brighten winter gatherings

The best Rosé wines are still found in France, from Provence, to Tavel and Anjou and are relatively inexpensive for the quality they bring to the table. Unlike blush wines like White Zinfandel, these are done dry to off-dry and well suited to pairing with many holiday foods, according to Hammond.

Red is always in style
Pinot Noir is perhaps the most versatile of red wines with lower tannins and a savory red fruit palate that loves salmon and lamb equally. New Zealand and Chile are top producers for reasonably-priced versions, but many will be seduced by Willamette Valley, Oregon versions nonetheless.

For more information on Jim’s ongoing search for outstanding wines at affordable options, go to his website at http://www.southwesternwineguy.com or subscribe to his newsletter.

About The Southwestern Wine Guy
Jim Hammond covers New Mexico wines in a wine blog (SouthwesternWineGuy.com/blog), and he also offers news and insights as the “Albuquerque Wine Examiner” on Examiner.com. He is a wine columnist for ABQ Free Press and provides wine and beer pairing ideas to go along with featured recipes in New Mexico Magazine. Hammond is available to speak on New Mexico wines and also provide creative seminars or events to help people understand and appreciate New Mexico wines as well as wines of the world. Contact him at jim(at)southwesternwineguy(dot)com or visit his website, SouthwesternWineGuy.com. The Southwestern Wine Guy is active on Facebook, Twitter (#SWWineGuy) and LinkedIn.

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