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…
On the one hand, if there ever was a zombie of a wine topic, it’s holiday pairings. The recent arguments against them look something like this: Randomly select any ten holiday wine pairing articles, and they’ll often seem as though they’re following a template more predictable than a California vintage report on a wine’s back-label (don’t even get us started on regional vintage reports, which probably deserve the same, if not more, focus of wine geek ire). Personal preference trumps any “pairing” idea any day of the week, so why bother?
On the other hand, holidays are stressful, and people want help with a complex subject (wine) so that they have one less thing to have to worry about during those hectic times. It was wine writer and generally-awesome-perpetually-clad-in-black-fellow Eric Asimov who once told me that many, many people want holiday wine pairing recommendations (emphasis is mine): “if the articles are boring or routine, then it’s our fault as wine writers; it’s our job to make wine and holiday pairings interesting for readers.” Tough to argue with Eric (though that hasn’t stopped me in the past, because I’m pig-headed).
My personal view is that while I find most holiday wine pairings to be rote, that’s no different than any other writing on annual topics. I’m a big fan of giving people what they want and as long as they want holiday wine pairing ideas and tips, the challenge is in trying to present the topic in fresh, entertaining and interesting ways. I leave it to everyone out there in wine blog-o-land to decide how successful I am at that. I figure the worst that can happen with those pairing articles is that a few peeps get turned on to a wine region, brand or style that they haven’t tried before, and that’s never, ever a bad thing in the wine world.
Where do YOU stand on wine & holiday pairings? Shout it out for a chance to win!