One of my favorite gifts to give (and to receive - hint hint) is liquor. A bottle of wine, champagne or spirits is always a gift well received and fun to share with others. John Dal Canton, Sommelier at Hibiscus, recently gave me some tips regarding gifting & serving wine over the holiday season and I thought I would share them with you:
OSC: What is your favorite sparkling wine under $15?
JDC: Cremant de Bourgogne Rose from Val de Mer. This is wine is from the acclaimed viticulture area of Burgundy France, and is made from the Pinot Noir Grape. The producer is Patrick Piuze who is arguably the up and coming rock star of Chablis, and he makes this wine under his second label Val de Mer. It really rocks and is a great bubbly for the holidays.
|John Dal Canton, Sommelier at Hibiscus|
JDC: Either a really brioche-y Champagne, because it has the carbonation and maltiness a beer drinker would associate with beer, or, if the person is a true beer aficionado, someone who likes sour beers and beers impregnated with brettanomyces than perhaps a Mouvedre from Bandol or even some Cabernet Sauvignon from Saint-Julien Bordeaux.
OSC: If attending a holiday housewarming party, what wine would you recommend bringing as a gift?
JDC: Since so many people bring different bottles of wine and spirits to a holiday party, I like to give them something they can hold onto for a while. You can almost never go wrong with Brunello di Montalcino as a gift. This bottle can be something that they can add to their new bottle collection or can save for an upcoming dinner party. It is made from a clone of the Chianti grape called Sangiovese Rosso. Some producers I would recommend that will not devastate your bank would be Tenuta Silvio Nardi, Ciacci Piccolomini and Casanova di Neri. These are great producers and will appease palates from the novice drinker to the most discerning.
OSC: If you were going to serve one white wine and one red wine at your holiday meal, which varietal of each would you recommend?
JDC: Chenin blanc for the white. It is versatile and pairs very well with food. If you are a fan of brighter wines such as sauvignon blanc I would recommend domestic Chenin, especially from Habit or Lieu-Dit or Vouvray. If you enjoy bigger white wines than look to a region called Savennieres. For a red wine, I am a huge fan of Gamay for Holidays. Especially Cru Beaujolais. There are many areas that make great Beaujolais. It is not all the Nouveau stuff that only lasts until Valentine’s day. I would look for such cru's as Moulin-a-vent and Morgon.
OSC: If you could receive a bottle of wine this year as a gift… sky is the limit… what would it be?
JDC: 1985 Giuseppe Mascarello Monprivato Barolo. Either that or 1985 Cheval Blanc. I opened both about 3 years ago at a restaurant I was the Somm for and they were ethereal. I want to re-create that wine moment and selfishly drink them all to myself.
My favorite bottle of wine is one shared with friends. I hope that this holiday season, you take some time to slow down, open a bottle (or two) and enjoy some quality time with friends and family. And in case you are wondering, champagne is my favorite. And I hope to find lots of it under my tree!! Happy holidays!!