Monday, November 12, 2007

Pair wine with holiday fare

The date of your holiday party has arrived, and you need to find a seating arrangment for 25 of your friends and relatives in a dining room that a realtor would call "intimate." You feel stressed, and yes, you could use a drink with dinner.

There are plenty of alcoholic offerings this holiday season that will compliment a variety of traditional holiday fare.

From the vine
Martignetti Liquor in Boston's North End offers an excellent array of wines to accompany your turkey dinner, including Chalone Vineyard's Pinot Noir. This dark red, priced reasonably at $15.99, offers a "beautiful fruit flavor," says Bob Goodwin, Martignetti's resident wine expert, with a "soft, very nice finish."

If you're serving ham, Goodwin recommends McLaren Vale's Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne. This Australian blend enjoyed a 90-out-of-100 rating from Spectator Magazine, and costing under $20, Goodwin called it "an elegant wine at a reasonable price."

Treats on tap
For those of us more partial to drinks of the grain-and-hops variety, turn to Boston's local beers. Harpoon's Winter Warmer is an excellent holiday brew. It pairs well with pies as well as poultry, and somehow manages to taste just like Christmas.

Harpoon's Munich Dark is also delicious. This Munchen Dunkel style beer has a chocolaty flavor with a slightly bitter, hoppy finish that is reminiscent of a porter, but a bit more crisp.

Don't forget the Boston Beer Company's Samuel Adams Winter Lager. This modern day classic offers a strong but manageable cinnamon and ginger taste, with an underlying citrus flavor uncommon to winter beers.

Originally published in Boston NOW on November 12, 2007.

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