Wine Education: December 2010 Archives

2010 Wine Harvest: Schizophrenic & Still Uncertain

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By Courtney Cochran

Depending on who you talk to, the 2010 harvest in wine country was anything from incredible to downright awful. Why such a disparity?  The year was, in the truest sense of the word, a rollercoaster of a vintage, one in which an unseasonably cool summer prefaced unruly late season rains, with a smattering of unexpected events further complicating matters in between (think sporadic triple-digit heat spikes).  The result was a harvest that fell two to four weeks behind schedule - leaving many a winemaker biting his nails in anticipation of when things might kick into gear - and culminated in a mad dash to harvest when things warmed up and rains loomed.  Amidst all this mayhem, some winegrowers came out on top, while others were just unlucky.    

Here's a closer look at the factors that drove this year's wacky harvest and the circumstances that led some to come out on top while others were left wishing that 2010 had never happened.

Holiday Entertaining

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mwdHolidayTable.jpgHoliday wine and food pairing can be tough. Figuring out which wines to pair with such a wide assortment of foods is a challenge for even the most experienced chef and the thought of entertaining on top of everything makes is stressful! Here are a few guidelines to follow to ensure your food and wine pairings are easy and fun:

Main Dish
For the white wine lover, a soft Chardonnay is a great accompaniment to poultry and an assortment of sides. Even a Riesling or Pinot Grigio could work. The minerality and apple-citrus notes common to Pinot Grigio match well with rich holiday foods. Also, while many assume white wine is the ideal poultry pairing, Pinot Noir's fruity character and lack of tannins are ideal for serving with turkey. It's vibrant and fruity character is sure to please red wine drinkers too.

If you end up serving an elegant roast meat at your holiday dinner, select a bolder red wine, like a Meritage, to match the stronger flavors of the meat.

Side DismwdRedWineGlasses.jpghes
Any of these earlier wine pairing suggestions will also work well with the myriad of rich side dishes that often accompany the main course. To complement the spices and flavors try a delightful Syrah-Malbec. This lighter red, with its own notes of spices and earthiness, will stand up well to any dish, from sweet potato mash to creamed pearl onions.

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