I need to be reminded not everyone thinks about wine all of the time, and I’m also the person who will ask what is for dinner while eating breakfast. So, let’s talk about the Thanksgiving and Christmas wines you need to explore and specific varieties to pair with holiday foods…
First thoughts on wine selection, avoid overly big and powerful wines that might overwhelm the food. Food-friendly wines enhance rather than overwhelm food. Food-friendly wines have good acidity, are light, fruity and, they can be sweet. Fruit wines are trending right now, they are food-friendly wines, and they strike a nice balance in the sense they do not show extremes; extremes of power, alcohol, ripeness, oak or extraction. Food-friendly wines are refreshing, and tend to clean your palate between bites, complimenting richness in the food.
“Thanksgiving & Christmas are big meal main events, having a variety of different foods, and that is why people have a problem sorting out what wine will work.”
Roast Turkey at Thanksgiving is the food exception where many wines pair with it, depending on your choice of dark meat or light meat. Heavy red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon (or blends of red), lighter body Pinot Noir to a full bodied barrel aged Chardonnay work perfectly. We are also seeing tannin-filled fruit wines such as Door Peninsula Winery oak barrel-aged cherry wine or cranberry wine (or blend of cranberry). A classic matching is Riesling or Gewürztraminer, fantastic light and fruity wines.
Roast Beef is dense protein, so a heavier red wine is always a nice match, Syrah can stand up to beef and match the mouth feel. If prime rib is the main course, the cut tends to be rich and have mild flavors, I often recommend a Merlot or Zinfandel as a lighter fruitier red.
Spiral-cut Ham is a very lean and light meat, often has a gamey flavor, so light bodied wines work, especially red wine like Pinot Noir. However, ham is tricky, because of the salty brine and smoked flavor, we have recommended a range of wines: sweet Riesling, fruit wines such as cranberry apple and Door Peninsula Winery ‘Cranbernet’ wine, Chardonnay, Peninsula Red, and Pinot Noir.
Briefly thinking about wine chemistry and food pairing from our earlier conversations to match flavors… “The weight of the wine should match the weight of the food” … there are at least 4 significant chemistry components that affect the body of a wine (aka-mouth feel), and they are:
- Ethyl Alcohol – Beverage alcohol increases wine viscosity as the alcohol by volume content increases, it adds the sensation of heat or burn to your palate, a wine high in alcohol is ‘hot.’
- Organic acids – Adds ‘brightness’ at higher levels, and ‘flabbiness’ at lower levels.
- Flavor compounds – Gives the wine a sensation like fruitiness, or a tactile mouth feel with tannin.
- Residual sugars – The sugar left after fermentation will add balance to the above components and increase the thickness of the wine.
If you have ever heard someone correctly use the term “big wine” they are referring to high alcohol, high tannins, and elevated acids in the big wine; perhaps some sweetness.
“Here is the solution to your holiday wine and food matching conundrum: keep it simple.”
The fact remains, Thanksgiving and Christmas main event meals tend to fill your plate with complex flavors. There is not one wine that will take you from appetizers to main course to desert, and your guests all have different wine palates. I would suggest having available 3-4 different wines to offer choice, but not so many that every bottle needs to be open at once. How much wine will you need? With any dinner party lasting over 3 hours, plan on ½ bottle per person, and maybe have a few back-up bottles!
That can be a lot of wine depending on your family size… To save you money in December, Door Peninsula Winery has an internet wine sale called ‘The 12 days of Christmas.’ Go to our web site DCWINE.COM to sign up and receive our newsletters, you will be notified by e-mail of the daily deal starting on December 1st and ending the 12th. We also offer free shipping on a case of wine from November 28th through December 31st. As always, we have Gift Baskets available for the holidays and other great ideas on or web site. Happy Holidays!
~Paul Santoriello, DPW
Find what you’re hungry for: Download the Door County Chefs FREE Mobile Dining App to find Door Peninsula Winery, Door County Distillery, and many more great dining options on the Door Peninsula!
In celebration of Non-GMO Month, Greens N Grains in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin will kick off their season of film screenings with “GMO OMG.” This first Dinner & a Movie will be held on Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014 at 6pm, with the screening beginning at 7pm by the Green Door Film Society. Greens N Grains will be serving a special soup, salad, fresh baked roll with a cup of tea for $7.50 starting at 6pm. The movie screening is free, but loft area seating is limited to 30 people so reservations are advisable! Dinner & a Movie will be a bi-weekly event, so visit Greens N Grains online and join their mailing list to stay in the loop! For reservations, call 920.868.9999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the link for a preview of the film: “GMO OMG.
Most festivals tend to have two things in common – Music & Food – and these are two things to be found in abundance at the 69th Annual Sister Bay Fall Fest, Oct. 27-19, 2014. Throughout the weekend you’ll find Food & Drink vendors at various locations throughout the village (10-5 Fri./Sat. and 10-4 Sun.), and lots more to tempt the taste buds and please the palate at local restaurants, pubs, and coffee shops!
There are two special meals this weekend that you won’t want to miss: Friday from 5-8 pm, experience a Door County tradition – a real Fish Boil at the Fire Station on Mill Road, sponsored by Sister Bay Lions Club. On Saturday, from 7-11am, enjoy a fabulous Pancake Breakfast at the Village Hall Saturday, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Northern Door.
Sturgeon Bay, WI (Oct. 11, 2014) The United Way of Door County 19th Annual Chefs for a Day event will be held on Saturday, October 18th at the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club. Doors will open at 6:00 pm and volunteer servers will be distributing hors d’oeuvres from 6:30 until 7:15 p.m. At 7:15 guests will be able to sample the entrees, served by each chef at numerous buffet stations.
During the hors d’oeuvres, guests will have the opportunity to sample wines and cheese pairings.
According to Travel Wisconsin Door County is at 70% Color and will peak the second week of October – so get up here and enjoy the beautiful outdoors! Pumpkin Patch Festival in Egg Harbor runs Saturday, Oct. 11 from 10am-5:30pm and Sunday, Oct. 12 from 10am-4:30pm. The festival is free to attend and great for families and groups of all age, featuring live music with Modern Day Drifters, Big Mouth, and even a children’s musician, food and drinks, and inflatables and carnival rides all day Saturday and Sunday.
Celebrate the fall season in Door County at Oktoberfest, Saturday, October 4th from 1-9pm at Gibraltar Grill, Fish Creek! Purchase a $15 wrist band to get “in and out” admission privileges, access to 6 hours of live music, and $10 in food and drink tickets. Gibraltar Grill will be featuring German food including Sauerbraten, sausage with sauerkraut, and Spaetzle, as well as a dessert table, and German beer and wine all day while you dance to the sounds of Big Mouth & The Power Tool Horns from 2-5pm followed by Jerry Voelker and the Jolly Gents from 6:-9pm. Join the party!
Head to Carlsville, Wisconsin on the Door Peninsula this weekend for Door County Coffee & Tea’s “Biggest Coffee Sales of the Year” celebrating 21 Years! This sale is in-store only, Friday, Saturday, & Sunday from 7:30am-5pm. Call 920-743-8930 with any questions. Sale includes:
- BUY 2 POUNDS OF BULK COFFEE & THE 3RD POUND IS FREE!
- FREE COFFEE SAMPLING & DOOR PRIZES
- NEW! PUMPKIN SPICE SINGLE SERVE CUP SALE
Baileys Harbor Autumnfest Includes Fish Boil & Shop Up an Appetite at Fish Creek’s Inside Outside Sale: Door County Sept. 26-28, 2014
The Autumn Equinox is upon us and so we welcome the changing of the season with festivals and events, fall flavors, and fun for the whole family! Bring your favorite people with you to experience the Fall Colors in Door County. Whether you’re walking, biking, or driving (keep those windows rolled down!), you can smell the changing season – the crispness of the cooling air, the earthy aroma of fallen leaves, the crash of waves on Lake Michigan – which seems to have a scent all its own – and the woodsy smoke from kilns, campfires, and fish boil fires…
Autumn is a great time of year. We can have warm days with full sun. It almost feels like summer if you close your eyes. It’s equally possible to have a chance of rain and the familiar cold breeze that signals a change. You can enjoy a glass of wine out on your patio and light a fire. I almost never dismiss a good Gin and tonic or Brandy. Changes in the weather also bring changes in palate. We eat and drink differently; heavier. You will see a change in seasonal vegetables especially with the root crops finishing up where squash, turnips, garlic, potato or beets are fully used. Thanksgiving is a great example when wine and Fall flavors come to the table.
EVENT Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014:
We host a major Winemaker Dinner at Bistro 42 adjacent to Door Peninsula Winery in Carlsville, in September (Saturday, Sept. 13th, 2014), where a 5 course dinner is paired with wine and concludes with a handmade desert. Many of the ideas we discuss to make this dinner special revolve around current food trends and medium to light bodied wines. If you are interested in our dinner you can find more information and tickets online at dcwine.com in the Events Ticketing section, or by calling 1-800-551-5049.
Celebrate Labor Day Weekend in Door County with Great Food, Lots of Live Music & Theater, and Marina Fest 2014
Kick off your work shoes and slip away to Door County, Wisconsin this Labor Day Weekend! With autumn approaching, the county is blooming with delicious flavors and aromas, and local restaurants are creating dishes with lots of local ingredients. Stroll through a farmer’s market in Sturgeon Bay and Sister Bay on Saturday, and in Baileys Harbor on Sunday, and bring the bounty home. Bring the family to Sister Bay to experience the excitement of the Sister Bay Marina Fest, going on all day Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014 and ending with a fireworks display!
Take in dinner and a show! AFT’s original musical “The Bachelors” opens at the Door Community Auditorium in Fish Creek this weekend. The English Inn and Gibraltar Grill are both close to the DCA and Arroyo Bay Grill is across the street – just let them know you have tickets when you are seated. “Butler,” a sharp-witted Civil War drama wraps up this weekend at Peninsula Players Theater – 8pm nightly through Saturday, and Sunday, August 31st at 4pm. Grab a bite at the Bayside Tavern to hold you through the performance, then stop at Not Licked Yet Frozen Custard for a post-show treat.