Varsity Liquors' Wines of the Month
The holidays are fast approaching; with them comes the unavoidable and not altogether onerous responsibility of choosing the wine to be paired with the holiday repast. We have included this month a couple of wines that compliment a broad range of holiday meals ranging from the traditional to the most extreme of nouvelle cuisine.
Lange Pinot Gris 1999, Oregon
The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the most exciting wineries in the United States. Lange is one such winery. Early on they decided to take advantage of their more northerly location and only plant varieties that would express themselves more completely at higher latitudes. Pinot Gris is grown in the region of Alsace, in France, to great success, and that is the model that Lange is following. Its flexibility with food is one of its great advantages; with good acidity and hints of melon and pear, this wine stands stand favorably with appetizers, poultry, fish including smoked salmon.
Waterbrook Melange Columbia Valley Red 1999, Washington
This wine is the epitome of a crowd-pleasing, full, and fruity wine. A round and luscious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and a little Sangiovese, it just bursts with flavor and character. The Cabernets add depth and structure, the Merlot a little plush softness, and the Sangiovese brightens things up by adding a fresh cherry characteristic that keeps the wine in perfect balance. This is the sort of wine I would pair with a holiday ham and a dollop of homemade cranberry sauce.
Paraiso Springs Pinot Noir 1997, Santa Lucia Highlands California
Monterey county in general and the Santa Lucia Highlands in particular have been making a name for themselves when it comes to cool weather varieties like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir may sometimes be difficult to find in an "approachable" price range, which makes this wine all the more enjoyable. It has a distinctive round and full mouth-feel that favors its pairing with the darker meat of the turkey and even game birds like duck.