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Wines for the season: Best holiday pairings

Wines for the season: Best holiday pairings

December 23, 2019 at 11:45am

Great wine, delicious food and gathering with good friends. These are a few of our favorite things.

That’s why we’re counting the days until The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Capital One (SOBEWFF®) returns Feb. 19-23. Set against the palm trees and turquoise waves of Miami Beach, this national five-day event showcases the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities.

The Festival features a wide array of events for wine enthusiasts and aspiring sommeliers. These include:

  • Wine & Cheese Happy Hour presented by Carr’s Crackers, sponsored by Wade Cellars and hosted by Dwyane Wade
  • A Pinot for Every Palate presented by Jackson Family Wines, Wine Spectator Wine Seminar
  • Olivier Leflaive: The Grapes of Burgundy and Champagne, Wine Spectator Wine Seminar
All proceeds from the Festival, started by FIU's Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Biscayne Bay Campus, benefit the Chaplin School. More than 1,200 students help run the Festival’s 3,200 plus shifts.

Inspired by our love of wine and to plan the perfect pairings for the holidays, FIU News sat down with Eric Hemer, senior vice president and corporate director of wine education at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of America, which co-hosts the Festival with FIU. 

FIU News: With the holidays coming up, many people might be wondering what the best wines are when hosting parties. What are your recommendations on best holiday wines?

Hemer: Bubbles. Anything from Prosecco, Trentodoc, or Cava, Crémant, California ($12 - $30) to Champagne ($40 and up). Crisp, dry or off-dry whites: Rueda from Verdejo, Soave Classico Superiore, Verdicchio, Chablis, Sancerre and Muscadet.

Light, versatile red wines: Cru Beaujolais, Chinon, Barbera, Dolcetto and Pinot Noir.

Dessert wines: Port, Sauternes and Moscato.

What kinds of foods do each of your wine recommendations pair with the best?

Hemer: Bubbles with hor d’ourves and appetizers. Crisp whites with appetizers, first courses and seafood entrees.

Light reds with everything from appetizers to casual fare like burgers and pizza to grilled fish and prawns to steaks or roasts. Nothing wrong with full bodied reds, but lighter reds go with just about everything.

Dessert wines with dessert! Port with chocolate based desserts. Sauternes and other sweet late harvest white wines with fruit pies, tarts and vanilla ice cream.

People often give wine as gifts. What are your top wine gift recommendations?

Hemer: This depends on the recipient and spending ability of the gift giver, but you can’t go wrong with a nice sparkling wine. Anything from Prosecco, Trentodoc, or Cava, Cremant, California ($12 - $30) to Champagne ($40 and up).

When in doubt, [though] find a wine retailer you trust and let them make recommendations in your price range. That’s what they are there for.

What is your advice on how to enjoy good wine?

Hemer: Enjoy it in proper stemware with good food and friends.

 Give the gift of SOBEWFF® this holiday season, and get your loved ones tickets to the 2020 event today.