This wine’s for you

The thought came to me during the Thanksgiving meal.

We were discussing what kinds of wines would pair nicely with the holiday meal, and we offered many different wines for pairing. As we spoke, I began to think about a wine for each part of the meal and that began a torrent of thoughts.

Let’s say and for simplicity’s sake, we divide the meal into three parts: appetizer, main course, dessert and, then we follow those parts of the meal with a nightcap. What wine/wines would be compatible with each part of the meal? And after such an overpowering meal as the Thanksgiving feast, what would be a fitting nightcap? Then I my thoughts began to wander.

It just so happens we have four children and they will be designated “I,” “J,” “C” and “A.” What if each of those children personified one part of the meal and how would the wine for each section of the meal reflect each of our kids’ personalities?

Over the next four weeks, I’ll attempt to pair one of our kids with one part of a meal. I realize this could end in a less than positive way but let the fun begin!

We begin with an appetizer and there’s no better way to start a celebration than with a bottle of sparkling wine. But what does sparkling wine mean? Does it shine brighter than other wines or…?

The term sparkling wine simply means a wine with lots of bubbles. A sparkling wine is made a bit differently than a regular wine and that difference brings forth the bubbles. The grapes are fermented one time and, after a rest, they are fermented a second time. During the second fermentation, a lot of carbon dioxide is released and there are your bubbles!

The beverage is bottled quickly to preserve the sparkling capsules and when you pop the cork, there are all those nice bubbles waiting to tickle your nose. Besides looking enticing, the wine is usually very good, full of energy and has a crisp finish.

Those last few words bring “I” to mind — full of energy, very good with a crisp (at times, biting) finish!

The first sparkling wine that most people think of is champagne. I would heartily recommend a Moet & Chandon Champagne (wonderfully crisp and dry) but that costs over $50 a bottle so let’s try for something more reasonably priced.

I like California’s Korbel Champagne. It’s the perfect wine with which to greet your guests because it’s beautiful to see, welcomes you with a kiss on your nose and just makes you smile. Just like “I.”

The two varieties of Korbel I enjoy the most are Sweet Rosé and Brut.

The Sweet Rosé is delicately crisp with gentle strawberry and melon tastes. It’s slightly sweet and therefore is a versatile appetizer wine that pairs nicely with multiple foods including smoked meats and sharp cheeses. It’s a wine that will surprise you — just like “I” does at times.

Korbel’s Brut is my favorite wine from this winemaker. It’s a sparkler that all of your guests will immediately enjoy because of its lively citrus tastes and aromas while finishing with a mouth drying crispness. If you’re having salty (just like “I” can be at times) snacks or fried foods, this is a very good match and it’s the backbone of a terrific Mimosa (mix Brut, orange juice and a splash of your favorite whiskey).

Another sparkling wine that is very good and reasonable priced is the Italian Ecco Domani Prosecco. This very effervescent wine with its mild fruit flavor of green apples will be a hit with your guests. The bottle has a handy screw top and with its relatively low alcohol content (10-11 percent), it’ll last a long time into the evening — just like “I” — and has amazing strength and stamina.

Andre’s Spumante is another nice sparkling wine from Italy. If you’re a sweet wine lover, this is the sparkler for you but, as sweet as it is, the wine finishes with a welcome crisp taste and is a good conversation starter.

The first part of any meal is important because it sets the mood for the rest of the meal and the correct wine is critical to the overall success of the moment. Don’t be afraid of offending anyone at this time of the meal — everyone is still in good spirits and enjoying themselves.

“I” would enjoy the words I’ve used to describe her and she just surprised us again by announcing that a second grandchild is on the way!

Next week, the main course calls for steadfastness.

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!