Prepping for a holiday party means making a wine-shopping list and checking it twice—but there’s no need to add to the stress of the sea- son. Wine Enthusiast tapped Master Sommelier Devon Broglie, program coordinator for Whole Foods Market’s southwest regional wine and cheese departments, for his top three wine- shopping tips.
1. Buy what you like. So many people think that they need a wine to go specifically with turkey or ham. The reality is that the holiday meal is so diverse that there is no single wine that will go with all of it. And depending on the holiday meal, you can have anything from chorizo in your stuffing to marshmallows in your sweet potatoes. Granny loves sweet (like our Römerhof Riesling), Uncle Steve only drinks California Cab (we’ve got a perfect wine on our Holiday Top Ten—H&G Chalk Hill), and cousin Johnny is trying to impress his girlfriend who’s meeting the family for the first time (bubbles!). There are no rules for a holiday meal, and it shouldn’t be about the wine. It’s about the bringing together of family and friends.
2. Find and trust your local wine specialist. Get to know a specialist at your local wine shop and build that relationship. They can suggest specific wines for you to try.
3. Always include a sparkling wine for your parties. These are words to live by. I’m a sucker for sparkling wines, from a Pascual Toso from Argentina ($10.99 at Whole Foods Market) to a $50-plus grower Champagne from a boutique producer (like André Clouet). At your holiday open house where you’ve set out a luscious cheese plate that might include Herve Mons Camembert or a triple cream like Mt. Tam or Brillat-Savarin, sparkling wine has the effervescence to lift the cream off of your tongue. If you’re serving passed appetizers at cocktail hour, like crostini topped with Humboldt Fog and fresh pear, or Parmigiano Reggiano-stuffed mushrooms, bubbles add a dash of elegance and fun.