The holiday season is the perfect time to bring together your favorite people for some good times, enjoying delicious dishes that pair with unforgettable wines. By now, you probably have an idea of your holiday menu, but what about the wine selection? For those of us who aren’t sommeliers, choosing the perfect holiday wines can be quite the feat. Fortunately, Brett Zimmerman of Boulder Wine Merchant is here to help. In this interview, he shares his advice for selecting the best holiday wines.
What are some of the top wines that you’re recommending for parties/gatherings this holiday season?
I love pairing white wines that have residual sugar with holiday functions and meals. Colder weather and holiday fare call for richer wines with more body and often a bit of weight that is provided by sugar ripeness. Don’t worry, the acidity of these wines more than balances out the sugar, so the perceived sweetness is often barely detectable. Wines from Alsace and the Loire Valley are ideal for matching the range of savory and sweet flavors that often end up on the holiday table. Look for producers like Zind Humbrecht, Domaine Weinbach, Boxler, and Trimbach from Alsace. From the Loire Valley I would suggest seeking out Domaine Huet Vouvray, Francois Chidaine Montlouis, and Domaine Foreau Vouvray. Try something from one of these amazing producers this holiday season.
Have you heard of any new, interesting recipes with wine as a featured ingredient? Do you have any new favorite wine-food pairing recommendations?
It is always fun to braise dishes in wine during this time of year. I like to slow roast beef, pork, and rabbit during the holidays. Rabbit is particularly fun with a combination of mirepoix, fennel, herbs, and some sort of a dry white wine. Braised rabbit offers a delicate combination of savory richness that makes for an ideal wine pairing with Grenache, Sangiovese, and Pinot Noir.
In terms of favorite food and wine pairings for this time of year, I love roasted squash paired with rich, full-flavored white wines like Grüner Veltliner Smaragd, Alsace Grand Cru, and German Grosses Gewächs Riesling (dry). There is a beautiful connection with the sweet and savory nature of the squash that really highlights the intensity and power of these great wines.
What are your favorite Colorado wineries this year?
It is not Boulder, but I love what Nathan Littlejohn from Monkshood Cellars is doing in Minturn, Colorado. As a former winemaker at Mayacamas in Napa Valley, Nate has skills that he is applying to the fruit that is available in Colorado. His Syrah and Chenin Blanc are among the best wines I have had from our state. The wines are not inexpensive, but they are very well made and worth the search.
Would any of those wines make good gifts? Do you have any other gift suggestions for wine lovers? Craft beer lovers?
During this time of year there are a plethora of great holiday inspired beers and ciders that are produced. We are bringing in magnums of cider from Haykin, produced in Denver, that will bring joy to larger groups this season. Look for the holiday seasonal offerings from our local breweries, as well as the traditional European offerings. The holiday inspired beers often showcase more spice and fuller malt richness – the perfect complement to the colder winter weather.
Any and all of our wines would make good gifts for people. We also have some great holiday baskets that we can customize to accommodate the desires of any beverage geek in your life. Additionally, we have an amazing selection of great food products, such as chocolate, olive oil, coffee, truffle chips, Spanish seafoods, pasta, sauces, and many other wonderful items!
Can those gifts be shipped to out-of-town friends and family?
Unfortunately, we are limited with the locations where we can ship around the country. Currently, we are able to send alcohol to 7 different states. We wish we could send product to more places around the country. Visit our website to see where we can legally ship.
Do you have any special holiday events planned for December and January?
We have some great in-store tastings to check out in December:
Saturday, December 1st, ~ 2018 Bona Coffee Tasting 11 am to 1 pm
Friday, December 14th ~ William Snowden with True Story from Willamette Valley
Wednesday, December 19th ~ Tasting with Mike Kirlan and Hoops Winery in Napa Valley
Friday, December 21st ~ Brunello and Barolo with Giuliana Imports
Boulder Wine Merchant Mission Statement
At the Boulder Wine Merchant we take great pride in our customer relationships, and we enjoy our involvement in the community. As a merchant of artisan crafted wine, beer, and spirits, it is important that we are passionate about the products we sell, and that we strive to translate this sentiment to our customers in a personal, friendly way. We endeavor to create an atmosphere where our customers can walk into the store, have someone recognize them by name and know their purchase history; you can’t get this by shopping online. The Boulder Wine Merchant has been servicing the community for over 34 years and is the only Master Sommelier owned and operated retail store in the state of Colorado. As such, education is paramount to our program and we are dedicated to sharing our knowledge in a passionate, yet approachable way to our guests. We strive to create a culture of hospitality at the Boulder Wine Merchant – similar to what you might find at a great restaurant. We want our customers to feel special with every purchase.
2690 Broadway Boulder, CO 80304