By Paula Moulton

With the holidays right around the corner, some of us are asking the question: How the heck do I pick up a great wine?

Christmas Bow

Image courtesy of Teodora Vlaicu via sxc.hu

Tips for Gifting Wine:

Be Adventurous: Dare to be different and pick your wine based on the beauty of its label as long as it fits in with your price range. You may be surprised to learn that wine labels oftentimes reflect the personality of the wine in the bottle so perhaps your eye will be your trainer for the evening.

Don’t Forget to Share: Wine is about sharing, so bring the gift of wine based on what you would pick to drink yourself.

What About The Rules: Break the Rules! Your host/hostess is making pizza, but you only drink white wine and you’ve heard that red wine is traditionally paired with pizza. You might be surprised to learn that a full-bodied white and even a sparkling white or Champagne pair well with pizza.

Don’t Forget to Learn: You want to branch out and try wine from other countries so research your host/hostess and bring a wine from the country of their origin.

Remember the Seasons:  Pick your wine based on the season. Is it winter and time for something hearty or is it summer and sizzling hot, pick your wine based on the weather?

Wine Tips - Paula Moulton

Wine Tips – Paula Moulton

Tips for Pairing Wine For The Holidays:

In general, I pair wine using a simple technique that I learned from a famous sommelier in France. “Wine pairing should be looked at like we look at couples. There are two types of couples in this world: There are the couples who are similar to one another and make each other whole almost like being one person and then there are the couples who are completely opposite and one would never put them together.”

Yet both couples work together and form a powerful bond…

Is this wine similar to the menu? Here is an example: A heavy beef stew with lots of pepper and bay leaves would have flavors similar to a peppery, earthy red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a spicy Pinot Noir. The bold aromas and flavors of the wine are similar to the strong and spicy ingredients in the stew.

Is this wine opposite from the menu? Here is an example: A creamy white sauce over pasta would pair well with a nice Sauvignon Blanc. Why? The acidity in the wine is opposite from the creamy, smooth sauce and actually subdues and balances both flavors.

About Paula Moulton

Paula Moulton is a wine expert who started off growing grapes for some of the most renowned labels in the nation (as a woman let alone!) and is using everything that she has learned (life lessons included-wait till she tells you about spitting or swallowing!) to educate the average person on wine.

Paula is an author, contributor for Wine Enthusiast, and is currently one of only 20 people in the world who has passed the wine course earning the prestigious Cordon Bleu Wine Management degree in France.

To read the Luxe Beat Magazine version of this article click on the title Holiday Tips for Gifting and Pairing Wines