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!
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!
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.
Lewis & Hoffman Join Katie Dahl at The Cookery plus August Late Night Wine Bar Hours & Happy Hour Specials!
The Cookery Restaurant & Wine Bar in Fish Creek has extended their wine bar hours for the month of August to accommodate Door County’s delightfully long summer nights! The kitchen will be open until 11:00 p.m. nightly, serving the full bar menu & dessert menu. Not a late night person? Stop in from 3 to 6 p.m. every evening for Happy Hour and enjoy $5.50 wine glass pours, $3.50 tap beers, and appetizers on special from $2.50 to $8.
Also a great Door County music scene, The Cookery offers live music in the wine bar three nights a week! Local folksinger Katie Dahl performs each Wednesday evening starting at 8 p.m. and on July 30th will be joined by special guest multi-instrumentalists Eric Lewis of Memphis and Rory Hoffman of Nashville (check out Rory’s story on GuitarPlayer.com HERE) – this is a duo you don’t want to miss!
Question: What kind of wine should I bring to a BBQ?
July has come to Door County, Wisconsin and the grills are out! Paul Santoriello, Winemaker and Production Director at Door Peninsula Winery, and Door County Chefs ‘Ask a Chef‘ contributor, has some fantastic advice on finding the perfect wine for your next backyard BBQ:
After suffering through what feels like the worst winter in 30 years, Wisconsinites are anxious to get back outside – and that means lighting the grill. Whether they burn charcoal or gas, people here have a longstanding love affair with outdoor cooking. Though brats and burgers remain the go-to grill meats, many backyard chefs are upping the ante with steaks, ribs, chops and fish. Here are a few tips for making the most of those pairings.
Pairing food and wine is really simple and about personal taste, but there are a few helpful practices to make your meal better, says Paul Santoriello, head winemaker at Door Peninsula Winery.
“Lighter meats (like chicken and fish) tend to call for white and lighter red wines, while traditional red wines are a natural pairing for red meats and smoke flavors off the grill.”
4th of July Weekend in Door County, WI: Live Music, Art on the Scenic Side, & DC Renaissance Faire: July 3-6, 2014
All the Independence Day Events, Fireworks, and Celebrations this week can make a body hungry! Catch Live Music while you eat in Door County, WI… Many restaurants will have live music to serenade you as you dine, or, pick up a to-go meal and enjoy live music at the Concerts in the Parks throughout the peninsula.
Every day this weekend offers a Farmer’s Market so you can enjoy fresh and local produce, meats and cheeses, canned goodies, handmade arts and crafts, and even fresh flowers! Baileys Harbor will have a special market on Friday, July 4th at the Baileys Harbor Town Hall, and their regular Sunday Farmer’s Market also at the Town Hall on Sunday July 6th from 9 a.m. – noon. On Saturday, July 5th you can visit the Sturgeon Bay Farm & Craft Market from 9 a.m. – noon at Market Square on Michigan & 4th Ave., or head north to Sister Bay’s Corner of the Past Farmer’s Market from 8 a.m. – noon at the Country Walk Shops, at Hwy 57 & Country Ln.
To find great dining in Door County, DOWNLOAD the Door County Chefs FREE, GREEN, MOBILE Dining App. Search by category and proximity to your current location; look at DC Chefs members’ menus, use the click-to-call feature to make reservations or check serving hours, and get GPS directions right to each restaurant! Find what you’re hungry for on the Door Peninsula today!
Still looking for a place to stay this weekend? Check out Door County Lodging’s Last Minute Lodging Blog: July 3-6, 2014.
Looking for Fireworks? Check out Door County Guide’s Independence Day Celebrations, Fireworks, and Festivities Schedules!
Live Music in Door County + Uncork Summer, Olde Ellison Bay Days & DC Renaissance Faire, June 25-29, 2014
The end of June in Door County offers a new food and wine festival, lots of live music, and tons of summer fun! Check out Door County Chefs Live Music Calendar on Facebook to see who’s playing and where each day in Door County, including the Concerts in the Park and live music at Door County restaurants. Check out Door County Guide‘s blog “Uncork Summer at Olde Ellison Bay Days & Live Music, June 25-29, 2014” to find out what’s happening this weekend during Olde Ellison Bay Days which kicks off with the Liberty Grove Historical Society FISH BOIL, Thursday, June 26th from 4pm-8pm at the Viking Grill and includes a Saturday morning parade, the NEW Uncork Summer Food, Wine & Music Festival, and the Door County Renaissance Faire in Carlsville complete with jousts, face painting and henna, period music, and shopping for handcrafted items!
FESTIVALS, EVENTS & LIVE MUSIC IN DOOR COUNTY, WI June 25-29, 2014
Wednesday, June 25, 2014:
- June 25, 3 p.m. Sister Bay Concerts in the Park: Birch Creek Percussion
- June 25, 7 p.m. Sturgeon Bay Concerts in the Park: Big Mouth & The Power Tool Horns
- June 25, 8 p.m. The Cookery Wine Bar, Fish Creek: local folk icon Katie Dahl performs
- June 25, 9:30 p.m. Arroyo Bay Grill, Fish Creek: Open Mic hosted by Terry Murphy!
The Taste and Tunes of Door County, WI June 12-15, 2014: Steel Bridge Songfest, DC Beer Fest, and Sip & Savor w/ Paddlefest
Get a taste and a tune in Door County this weekend! June 12-15, 2014 is Steel Bridge Songfest in Sturgeon Bay. This Saturday, June 14th is Sip & Savor with Paddlefest in Sister Bay, as well as Door County Beer Fest and the Ride For Nature in Baileys Harbor, and July 15th is Father’s Day – so bring Dad for all the festivities and toast to his health! Sample local beers, wines, and hard ciders, and treat the taste buds to dishes from a variety of local food vendors while you treat the ear buds to lots of live music. Skip the paisley tie this year and give Dad a six pack or two of a new brew or a few bottles of his favorite wine, and don’t forget that most of the musicians performing throughout the county this weekend sell CDs of their original music – which make great Father’s Day gifts too!
STEEL BRIDGE SONGFEST, STURGEON BAY, WI
Steel Bridge Songfest in Sturgeon Bay runs Thursday, June 12 through Sunday, June 15, 2014. This is an astonishing festival in that all the musicians who perform volunteer their time, and those who participate in the “Construction Zone” (there are some 70 this year) spend the entire week prior to the festival spinning a whiskey bottle to form groups in which they co-write dozens upon dozens of original songs which they record at the Holiday Music Motel, then perform for audiences at a variety of indoor and outdoor venues.
CLICK HERE for the Steel Bridge Songfest Venue Line-Up of Performers!
Treat your Mom this Mother’s Day with something delicious in Door County! From gifts to desserts to sumptuous breakfasts, buffets, brunches, lunches and dinners, you’re sure to find flavors for any Mom’s taste. Make sure to download Door County Chefs FREE Mobile Dining App so you can check out menus, call for reservations, and get directions from wherever you are – to where you want to eat this weekend!
Check out our list below to find out where to bring Mom for an amazing and memorable Mother’s Day Meal, and where Mom will get complimentary Wine, Mimosas, Champagne, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, and even Breakfast! Scroll to the end for Door County Lodging’s Featured Mother’s Day Special and a link to lots more lodging specials this weekend and throughout May!
Join The Cookery for Door County Half Marathon Weekend: Saturday, May 3. We’ll be welcoming over 2,000 runners and spectators to the peninsula for the Door County Half Marathon on Saturday, May 3, and we’re doing our part as a DCHM sponsor to make sure that our runners are well-fed AND entertained!