Xmas and New Year’s Eve

Woody’s Whine on Xmas and New Year’s Eve

I am by nature a rather honest and forthright person and I believe people respect me for that and I appreciate it.

Why is it when someone asks me what I want for Xmas and I say Boudreaux or Napa Cabernet instead of a sweater or neckties I’m told, “…that’s not a present, what do you really want?” even though I just told them.

This is the month for splurging, on others and yourself. Xmas day features gifts, dinner with wine and food and New Years Eve – ditto but adding bubbly to the party, so your chances of going over the top with wine and spirits is really just a pour in.

Like Thanksgiving, the Xmas meal, is a great time to bring out the best from the cellar or the store. Many people reprieve turkey for this day and if so review “Woody’s Whine for Thanksgiving Wine”, but if you’re among the many who turn to beef such as prime rib, sirloin roast or tenderloin (don’t be afraid to use your Weber if it’s not too frigid) – then it’s red for the holidays. You’ll find my Prime Rib with Horseradish and Garlic menu and my Woody the Wine Guy’s Picks for What Goes With What – Xmas elsewhere on the site. A few thoughts though, prime rib is a beef roast and not grilled so the meat (and fat) is succulent rather than caramelized (as when it’s grilled) so while Cabernet is fine here it should be on the less tannic side, Merlot (less tannic) is also a strong contender here for it often needs the salt and flavor kick that this recipe has to bring out its’ flavors. I even go so far as to suggest Napa cab (bit more elegant) over Sonoma and east bank Bordeaux (Pomeral and St.Emilion, more merlot in the blend) over west bank wines.

New Years Eve is the best reason to drink Champagne/sparkling wine throughout a meal, the day, the evening or whatever and in spite of the strong Euro prices for true Champagne really aren’t bad see my picks in my Woody the Wine Guys special edition Champagnes and Sparkling Wine for the Holidays.

The trick is to look for the many fine French Champagnes beside the Moets and Veuve Clicquots. Many lesser known labels are imported to the U.S. but don’t have the marketing reach of the big boys. All of the big Champagne houses have been make sparkling wine in California for years and doing a fine job of it and the Spanish Cava’s are no slouches either as well as the fine California and other domestic sparkling producers.

If you have the opportunity and the means also look for larger format bottles, most common are the 1.5L magnums. Something very nice takes place when a larger volume of bubbly has a chance to get together, I don’t know anyone who has ever found me wrong on this concept.

A note regards non-vintage and vintage, Champagne/sparklers are ready to drink when you buy them and not every year is a vintage year but, vintage wines are usually released on a ten year aging basis so shouldn’t be surprised to find the highly rated ’95, ’96 and ’97 vintages out there along with some ’00 and maybe even an ‘02.

Say maybe the way to respond to the color and size gift question is, purple and 750 ml. That’s my Whine and I could be wrong.

– Merry Happy