Ahh December, Making the rounds of various holiday parties, events, friend get togethers and family gatherings. Also full of food and drink. And usually lots of it. It can be a challenge trying to figure out what wine pairs best with Christmas day dinner, what cocktail to have and when to serve what drink. My MO is usually to bring my favourite French wine and I don’t really think much beyond that. So When I saw that Le Boutique Del Vino’s wine course, Christmas Crushers which offered suggestions on what to drink and what to pair, I convinced some of my wine club to come with http://www.piazzadenardi.com/chefs-dinner-wine-tasting-events-calendar
The course was exactly what we all needed! 6 tastings ranging from champagne (yes actual champagne not a sparking) to white to lighter reds to stronger reds to a white port. And the advice was somewhat surprising albeit very practical. For instance, champagne is often used for celebration, no surprise there but recommending small boutique producers as an affordable option was so helpful!! As well they recommended not saving your big, amazing wine for Christmas (@benton8tor and I have definitely done this) because you will lose the wine. Instead they recommend saving the wine for a time when it can be the star and use the holiday dinner for a different wine. And I was caught off guard when they said no pinot noir. Again it made sense as they recommended paring with the other dinner items like stuffing, potatoes and vegetables. Again made perfect sense. He suggested wines from Spain, South Africa or South America. Panic started to set in for me. What about France? I thought. Luckily he told me a southern Rhone would be perfect and I calmed down. Our table was divided, one half of us loved the Italian red from Tuscany, the white port, champers, blue cheese and fig. The other half loved the red from Australia, the white and the cheese with cherries. We are perfectly matched. Boutique del Vino at Piazza Di Nardi offers wine courses every 2 weeks and the courses are always fabulous. It is a great opportunity to find out more about wine.Also i bought the white port and @benton8tor loved it so much so he was ready to throw away years of tradition of drinking Sherry on Christmas for his new best friend white port.
OK, I had wine covered but what about cocktails? Well I decided to head over to Capital K, a new Manitoba craft distiller and currently the only craft distiller in Manitoba. http://www.capitalkdistillery.com/ Turns out distilling is quite intense and expensive. Capital K offer tours and tastings in their brand new facility. Here I got the helpful tips of the difference between top shelf and bottom shelf liquor.
Turns out bottom shelf liquor usually contains more methane which is a rougher drink and contributes to hangovers easier. Also rough liquors are usually paired with high sugar and that can be a headache worthy combo. Capital K is a whole other blog post but suffice to say they use local Manitoba products as much as possible including wheat and other grains. They also infuse with fresh products like Manitoba strawberries and rhubarb and in the case of dill pickle vodka, cucumber, dill and horseradish (not pickle juice). We bough the vodkas infused with strawberry and rhubarb, dill pickle, and espresso. We immediately had the dill pickle vodka in a Caesar and it the freshest Caesar I have ever enjoyed.
The season can be a demand on time and energy and often I fell like I need vacation when it is over. In fact many of my friends have started doing just that. Instead of buying presents they simply go away, relax and recharge. That isn’t an option for everyone so whether is is claiming a night or 2 for your self with wine and popcorn, going away for a weekend with wine, cheese and cold meats or a full fledged vacation, just take the time t relax and enjoy your favourite flavours. As for me, well its time to crack open that champers.