Posts Filed Under holidays
I do this because… well, honestly because I feel obligated.
You know that feeling you get in undergrad where you have a term paper with about two days before it’s due and you haven’t started it yet but you have to do it? The same feeling that marked the advent of the first day of school after Sumer vacation, or harkens the impending ring of the Monday-morning alarm after a night of overdoing it while watching Sunday Night Football?
I have that feeling.
Because I need to do the annual Thanksgiving holiday wine pairing article.
It’s my belief that the standard holiday wine pairing article is hackneyed and has, for most intents and purposes, jumped the shark. Why? Because no wine critic or educator knows your personal taste preferences nor do they know the ingredients of your Aunt’s famous casserole, which, after all, is only famous within your family and her glee club. So you’re far, far, far better served by going to a wine shop that you trust, telling the folks there what you like (here’s some help on figuring that out) and what food your serving, and getting their recommendations.
Your personal preferences always trump all, but at holiday time we’re rarely buying just for ourselves – and there are indeed some food & wine matchups that do not, in fact, match up. So while I could never give you exact holiday wine recommendations (at least, not without an exact holiday food match to go with it!), I can provide two general pieces of advice that might serve you well in narrowing down your selections…
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Whatever you like to drink.
End of discussion.
Look, no wine really goes all that well with processed candy anyway.
So why not do what a lot of people in my ‘hood do: grab a bottle or two of decent white vino, several beers, and convert one of your kids’ pull carts into a mobile drinks cooler and turn the whole thing into a mobile party (this is assuming you aren’t driving that mobile party to/from anywhere, and are able to walk the entire distance – so it’s a tactic best used for chauffeuring toddlers through their local neighborhood Halloween adventures). Kids get their Halloween thrills, you get your block-party quota in, and everybody wins!
Also, and you’re probably not going to do this but just in case, don’t buy a crappy wine or a wine you probably won’t like just because it has a Werewolf on the label or something.
You’ve got a week to go in planning your Halloween party, people, don’t screw it up with bad juice dressed up in a seasonal costume by a bunch of marketing folks – because that would be a really scary way to toast the Hallow’s Eve festivities!
I have a now well-documented love-hate relationship with holiday wine pairing recommendations; I recognize the need, and the hey-just-help-a-bother-out-already usefulness, but I also recognize their familiarity-breeding-contempt ubiquity. For me, holiday wine recommendations are one of those things where I can’t decide if they’re terrible or actually totally brilliant – you know, like Summer Breeze by Seals & Croft.
BUT… I like to help people when it comes to wine, and I kept getting twitter DMs and Facebook messages asking me the equivalent of “any good wine recommendations for a picnic this weekend?” in a run-up to the Memorial Day weekend. And so now that it’s officially too late to do anything about Memorial Day because lots of wine shops might be closed anyway for the holiday, I’ll be a stinker and share what I’ve been Facebook-ing and DM-tweet-ing with a number of people already.
For those sick of hearing about these types of recommendations: sorry, you’ve been outvoted by Inbox (for those sick of Seals & Croft: sorry, I’ve no real advice to help out with that, except maybe drinking a glass of wine and smoking one of those… funny cigarettes….). But before you send me angry emails (most especially in relation to my slightly-irreverent take on the dulcet, laidback tones of Seals & Croft), please note that Memorial Day wine recommendations aren’t any different from any other Summer holiday recommendations – we’re basically talking hot-weather, picnic-&-BBQ wines here, and so what I’m gonna tell you will hold true for any Summertime holiday party wine action that you’ll be facing as the mercury is rising…
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Is the holiday wine pairing idea totally over-and-done? Did it, in fact, jump the shark full-on in Arthur Fonzarelli leather jacket and scarf? Is it deader than Aunt Martha’s Christmas fruitcake?
You’re probably thinking “Why dredge up this topic when we’re between holidays?” Great question, sir (or madam… or whatever…). I mean, I’m sure as hell not going into a St. Patrick’s Day wine pairing here (that’s my birthday anyway, so for me the pairing will be “the best and most exclusive vino I can get my grubby little hands on, and if at all possible in large quantities and preferably on someone else’s tab.”).
You see, it is precisely because we’re between holidays – removed from the craziness, glass in hand (hopefully), and welcoming (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway) the onset of Spring – that I want to breach this topic. We are chill right now. We are rational. We don’t have the specter of holiday stress and deadlines looming over our heads like a f*cking Sword of Damocles. We put on the relaxation tape, take a sip, and chill out. Feel ze tension leeeeving yer boudee…
That was nice. Ok – I’m an anal-retentive East Coaster so the 30 seconds of relaxation I’ve allowed everyone is officially over. Now that we’re chill… let’s get all riled up again, shall we?
Seems to me that one of the trendiest things for wine geeks to do over the last couple of years is to declare the death of many a stalwart wine practice, and the wine + holiday pairing is one of the items in the wine geek sniper cross-hairs.
Where do you stand on holiday wine pairing recommendations? Shout it out in the comments – and on March 22 I will randomly select a commenter to win a Wine Soiree aerator (about a $25 value)! To learn more about the Wine Soiree, check out my review from 2008. Please note that Wine Soiree has no affiliation with this post idea, I just happen to have an extra one and feel like having another giveaway!
But before you get commentin’, let’s look at both sides of the story…
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