Sommeliers tote personal choices to holiday parties
on 09/12/10 at 10:53 amBooze News
If you’re lucky enough to have a sommelier as a friend, son, sister, nephew or niece, I think it’s a safe bet that your holiday libations are a step up from the rest of us. Any well-selected bottle will add a glow to holiday parties and gatherings, uplifting spirits and stimulating conversation. But with sommeliers involved, occasions can be all the more memorable. The reason? It’s the simple fact that sommeliers love to share wine even more than they love wine itself, and what better occasion than the holidays? So we asked a handful of area wine experts what their plans were, and what they planned to serve.
Hatfield’s general manager Peter Birmingham typically throws at least one small dinner party with friends this time of year. Often his guests include other restaurant orphans who can’t break away from the service floor for a prolonged home visit.
Traditionally he starts such parties with bubbles, although this year will be a variation on the theme: a classic Spritz, a Venetian cocktail made with Prosecco, blood orange juice, and a splash of Aperol, the orange-scented Italian aperitif. Times being what they are, his wine selections will be a bit modest this year, but no less satisfying for it. He’ll pour two crowd-pleasing French wines: a traditional Beaujolais by Domaine du Vissoux (about $17) from the superb 2009 vintage; and a Pinot Auxerrois from Alsatian producer Albert Mann (about $18). Auxerrois is a fairly obscure white varietal grown almost exclusively in Alsace, with fresh, mineral Pinot Gris-like flavors.
Both wines, Birmingham points out, are biodynamic, which to his mind brings out an added liveliness. “The fruit is so vibrant in both of these wines,” he says. “They really have the power to lift the conversation — it’s like dosing everybody with low levels of giddiness.”