October 29, 2015 | By RJS Craft Winemaking
Being ready for the Christmas holidays requires organizational super powers. With gifts to wrap, cookies to bake, decorations to put up and so much food to prepare, it’s a struggle to get everything done in time for Christmas. For craft winemakers, holiday preparations start as early as July. While others are still frolicking at the beach, you will find us making batches of Amarone and Cabernet Sauvignon for the holidays. We know our craft wines will taste so much better on Christmas day after a couple of months in the cellar.
If you didn’t get around to putting your Christmas wine on in the summer, not all is lost. There is still time to craft your own wine and serve it to your family and friends during the holidays; you just have to put aside visions of red and start dreaming of a white (wine) Christmas. White craft wines, similar to their commercial counterparts, require less time bottle aging in the cellar. Even the whites in the most premium kits, such as the RJS Craft Winemaking Cru Select brand, taste great a few weeks after bottling.
White wine pairs perfectly with holiday entertaining. The light, crisp and refreshing characteristics of most white wines will add balance to a heavy and rich holiday meal. Are you planning a traditional turkey dinner this year? If so, you are in luck; turkey pairs brilliantly with several white wines! My favourite is the Cru Select Australia Style Chardonnay because its vanilla, clove and butterscotch flavours compliment the savouriness of turkey. If Chardonnay is not your preferred varietal, try something a little different for a change, like Cru Select German Style Gewurztraminer. Boasting of tropical fruit flavours and spicy notes, it is Christmas cheer in a glass.
Even if turkey is not in the cards for you this holiday season, your favourite white craft wine will still have a place at the dining room table. For those serving maple baked ham, I recommend Cru Select German Style Riesling Traminer. The acidity in Riesling will cut through the richness, while providing a nice counterpoint to the saltiness of the ham and accentuating the sweet maple flavour.
Fish and seafood are finding their way into more and more holiday celebrations these days. If seafood is what your family enjoys, then Cru Select New Zealand Style Sauvignon Blanc is the wine for you. Sauvignon Blanc elevates a plate of sweet, briny oysters or simply sings when paired with a shrimp cocktail.
Craft winemakers love the Christmas season because we get to enjoy more of the craft wines we proudly make throughout the year. My final suggestion is if you are having people over, open two, three or more different bottles of craft wine and experiment. You might be surprised by how your craft wines pair well with so many different holiday foods. And if you weren’t organized enough to make your usual reds for the holidays, open a couple bottles of white and raise a toast to the versatility of white wine all year round.