Adrian Carvello is the coordinator and professor of the new post-graduate program at George Brown College, Advanced Wine and Beverage Business Management. As a former sommelier and general manager at Oliver and Bonacini’s Auberge du Pommier, he is a great resource to answer questions regarding holiday season wine purchases.
1. What type of wine would you recommend for a holiday gift? What’s a good gift for a novice and for the wine enthusiast/expert?
For the casual wine drinker, I would suggest an expressive white wine like New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or an Aussie Shiraz for the red lover. These wines are fruit forward, good value (around $20) and easy for them to find again on their own.
For the wine lover, the goal is to find out what areas of the world they prefer and try to tailor your choice to theirs. Red wines from northern and central Italy or from the Rhone Valley are usually good choices. Those who like white will like the classics such as Sancerre, featuring the Sauvignon Blanc grape.
2. What wine would you pair with holiday dinner staples like turkey, stuffing, cranberries, and root vegetables? What would you pair with dessert (i.e. chocolate cakes, gingerbread)?
Wines that stand up to the bold favours found in stuffing and root veggies are ideals so they do not overpower the flavour of the turkey. A dry Ontario Riesling has rich bodies, citrus and earthy characteristics that will pair best with turkey. I would suggest Cave Springs Riesling or on the higher end, Charles Baker Riesling. A fantastic option for a red wine is Ontario Gamay. The red, plummy fruit features hints of pepper. A Syrah from the St. Joseph region in the Rhone Valley is approachable in flavour power and price.
Dessert wine makes your holiday dinner that more special. Chocolate can be paired with Port (Tawny or Late Bottle Vintage are the styles you should be looking for). If you want a conversation piece then bring a Recioto della Valpolicella to the table. It’s a rare red sweet wine from Valpolicella, Italy, which is more famous for its dry wines.
3.What are the best bottles for a New Year’s Eve party?
Bubbles are a must. Prosecco is a crowd pleaser for its fruity styled bubbles and at $15 is an affordable option. For those who like citrus notes, a Spanish Cava or a Cremant from France will get you closer to real Champagne. Wines from Champagne, France start at $50 and are an extravagant splurge.
Thank you Adrian!
For more information on our advanced wine and beverage program, please visit: georgebrown.ca/h414 Novice wine enthusiasts can take our Continuing Education Wine for Beginners course (HOST 9156)