The holidays are here and thoughts turn to family, friends, good food and good cheer. But what about the wine? Like the Wizard of OZ, wine has been mystified and made intimidating when in fact, just as the wizard was an ordinary man, wine is just another beverage choice. But what a choice!
While we have been told that there are correct and incorrect matches of food and wine, in reality, there are no right or wrong answers. Wine is personal and subjective, just like the music that you like, the art you love, the books you read. You like Beethoven, Grandma likes Mozart, Aunt Millie loves Bach, and Uncle Bob loves AC/DC (I know, Uncle Bob always was a little weird). Who is right and who is wrong? No one, it is just what they like. The same is true of wine. But this holiday, make your wine choices an adventure that adds excitement and variety to your celebrations.
Your choices of wines are as varied as the colors of the rainbow. Explore those colors and try things you have never tried before. If you really like a particular varietal, say Cabernet Sauvignon, try examples from different producers, preferably ones you have never tried before. You never know when you are going to discover the next Picasso and remember, the only one who has to think it is Picasso is you.
Most people do not know or realize that the bay area has become wine country in a very big way. R&B Cellars is one of those “urban wineries” that bring wine country to your doorstep. Wine production is done locally in Alameda, including crush, blending & bottling, the only thing we don’t do is grow the grapes here. Our tasting room, Alameda Point Vintner’s is a vintner collective and is located at Rock Wall Wine Co. on the old Alameda Naval Air Station. R&B Cellars crafts a variety of wines from Sauvignon Blanc to the mighty Cabernet Sauvignon. We even have a delicious port-style dessert wine for those with a sweet tooth, pair with a bit of artisan cheese and relax.
So as you plan your holiday meals consider your options. If turkey is your thing, a white wine is the traditional choice but there is so much more than Chardonnay to temp your palate. A crisp and vibrant Sauvignon Blanc would be a great match. If you like your food rich, consider going towards a crisper and higher acid white wine to cut through the richness and keep your palate fresh and lively.
But white wine is hardly the only answer. One of the best matches with turkey that I have found is Zinfandel. America’s heritage grape compliments turkey and all the trimmings unlike any other wine. The fun thing about Zinfandel is that it comes in so many shapes and sizes. Soft hints of strawberry and cherries with no oak at all to the big, jammy monster that can almost be a meal in itself. Your taste preference should be the guide. I personally like a more medium bodied Zinfandel with turkey. The wineries in the bay area will offer at least 20 different choices of zinfandel alone.
If Prime rib or roast beef is your holiday staple you can of course go with a wonderful rich Cabernet Sauvignon (at least 15 great choices in the east bay alone) but why not consider a rich and unctuous Peitie Sirah with hints of blueberries and dark blackberries.
For the pure traditionalists who lean toward Christmas goose, Pinot Noir is always a reliable choice but how about Merlot with its vibrant cherries and smooth tannin, or maybe a Syrah with its bold dark fruit and hints of currants and blackberry. Makes you long for that giblet gravy, doesn’t it?
For the ultimate experience, make it a smorgasbord of choices. Pick several choices of wines to match with your meal and see which your guests prefer the most. It will make for fun dinner conversation and a meal and celebration that will be long remembered. R&B Cellars has you covered with all the varietals mentioned above, think of us as Santa’s helpers. Stop by Alameda Point Vintners for a fun afternoon of wine tasting; we have plenty of holiday discounts. Stock up and save on wine to keep your holiday guests jolly!