Holiday gatherings and dinner parties call for celebratory beverages and fine wines to complement everything from old family recipes to local cuisine. Whatever the occasion, hosts want to serve wines that enhance guests' appreciation of what's on the plate. Following are some suggestions for wines in various styles, flavor profiles and price ranges.
For a white wine that should pair well with a Thanksgiving spread of turkey and all the trimmings, try J. Vidal-Fleurey Côtes du Rhône Blanc ($14). Made with 100 percent Viognier, the French wine opens with floral notes followed by crisp peach and fig flavors, an appealing spiciness and minerality on the finish. It's available at The Wine Seller.
Another French option is Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Rosé ($22), a delicate, well-structured wine made from Pinot Noir grapes that will stand up to intense flavors. A bouquet of ripe cherries and red berries is accented with spice and earth notes. Serve it as an aperitif or with baked ham or roast turkey. Find it at The Wine Seller.
Perhaps the best all-around wine to pair with anything and everything Louisianians can put on their holiday tables is Beaujolais nouveau. Georges Duboeuf produces Beaujolais Nouveau and Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ($9-$11 each). Both are fresh and zesty with bright fruit flavors. Pick them up at Rouses, Dorignac's, Whole Foods Markets, Corkscrewed and Acquistapace's Covington Supermarket.
Pinot Noir is one of the most food friendly of all red wines. Wild Rock Central Otago Pinot Noir ($18-$20) from New Zealand is a wine layered with seductive aromas of fruit flavors, dried herbs and spice notes. Swirl Wines, Rouses in Uptown and Cork & Bottle have it. Also from Central Otago is Blind Trail Pinot Noir ($20-$22), a complex wine featuring tart red fruit and an appealing earthiness. Find it at The Wine Seller and Acquistapace's. From Monterey, Calif., there is Praxis Pinot Noir ($17). The Central Coast bottling is distinguished by gorgeous cherry flavors. It's also available at The Wine Seller.
If you want to splurge on a big red wine to go with wild game or meat, there is Clos de L'Oratoire des Papes Chateauneuf des Papes ($40). The renowned French vintner has crafted a big, leathery, garrigue-flavored red. Decant before serving. The Wine Seller and Acquistapace's both stock it.
Champagnes and sparkling wines always add to festive occasions, but they also go well with food from hors d'oeuvres to multicourse dinners. Here are a few recommendations from around the globe.
There is a wide range of California sparklers. Citrus and melon mingle in Mumm Napa Brut Prestige ($19-$22), an enchanting medium-bodied sparkler. It's available at BreauxMart, Cost Plus World Markets, Dorignac's, Langenstein's, Prytania Liquor, most Rouses and Martin Wine Cellar in Metairie. Schramsberg's Mirabelle Brut ($14-$20) wafts aromas of green apple, citrus and toasty notes and registers honey and tropical fruit on the palate. Find it at Cost Plus, Dorignac's and Acquistapace's. Elegant J Cuvee 20 Brut ($17-$28) has a blend of Russian River Valley fruit. Expect floral aromas and flavors of apple, citrus, sweet dough and almond notes. Rouses, Dorignac's, Martin's Wine Cellar in Metairie, Prytania Liquor and Acquistapace's offer it. Finally, Taittinger's California Chateau Domaine Carneros ($23-$27) echoes its fine French pedigree with this superb sparkler. It is everywhere from The Wine Seller, Cost Plus, Rouses, BreauxMart, Matassa's Market and Prytania Liquor to both Langenstein's and Martin's Wine Cellar in Metairie.
From Italy, Ca'Vittoria ($19-$21) is a lively and refreshing prosecco with tangerine aromas and lemon, lime and white peach on the palate. Pick it up at Cork & Bottle, W.I.N.O. and Martin Wine Cellar in Metairie. Meant to be consumed young, Zardetto Prosecco Brut ($14-$18) is a frothy, fizzy wine featuring tart apple flavors and a clean, crisp finish marked by lemony acidity. It's available at Hopper's Wines and Spirits, The Wine Seller and Acquistapace's Covington Supermarket.
For those interested in true Champagne, prices are good and supplies may not last long. All the following bottlings are non-vintage. Champagne J. de Telmont Grande Reserve ($28) is a premier cuvee, well balanced with excellent freshness, pear and quince aromas and a wonderful finish. All Cost Plus locations carry it. Champagne Heidsieck Monopole ($30-$36) is a classic Champagne with great character and flavors of apples, yeast, toasted nuts and citrus. Find the French import at Cost Plus and Dorignac's. Montaudon Brut Champagne ($29-$35) exudes intense aromas and concentrated flavors, especially a spike of Pinot Noir mid-palate. Grab a bottle at Prytania Liquor, The Wine Seller, Elio's Wine Warehouse or Acquistapace's. Drappier Brut Champagne ($30) is an old-style Champagne with biscuity notes, dried apricot, peach, lemon peel and grapefruit flavors. Head to Corkscrewed for a bottle. And last but not least, Moet et Chandon Imperial ($33-$36) has replaced both Moet et Chandon White Star and the Brut Imperial. The new version is off-dry, well balanced and offers ginger and citrus aromas and doughy, apple flavors. It is available at Prytania Liquor, Dorignac's, Martin's locations and Acquistapace's.