Wines for a Special Occasion — Outsmarting Wine

Related To:

With the holidays looming, the wine mind naturally turns to occasions where we can break out the special stuff. Here are four of my favorite options:

Older Champagne: While most sparklers are meant to be drunk soon after release — when bubbles are vigorous and the taste shades to the citric and snappy — a good wine merchant can steer you to a bottle of mature Champagne (i.e., 10 years or more of bottle age). Its delicate bubbles and haunting, hazelnut flavors will make your important occasions seem that much more memorable.

Mature Wine, Decanted: On the subject of aged wine, nothing beats the aromas and tastes that emerge when a fine, age-worthy red like Bordeaux from France, Barolo from Italy or certain California Cabernets gains 10 or more years of bottle age. A well-stocked store will have bottles of this ilk, ready to amaze your guests not with bright fruit flavors but with notes of mushrooms, forest floor, a beefy gaminess or other unique signs of vinous maturity. You’ll want to “decant” the wine, or separate it from its age-rendered sediment by pouring the wine from the bottle into a large glass container, or decanter. Doing this will make you feel like a wizard of wine, preparing the wine as if you were a wine-savvy Doc Brown from Back to the Future.

Attach a “How to Use” Note: Even on special occasions, many of us drink wine too hesitantly and reverentially. So, I like to attach an official “How to Use” note to the neck of a special-occasion bottle. It will remind you and your guests to “Consume Entire Contents by Night’s End."

Photo by: Amy Fletcher ©www.aefletchers.com

Amy Fletcher, www.aefletchers.com

Every week, Mark Oldman -- wine expert, acclaimed author and lead judge of the hit series The Winemakers -- shares with readers the basics of wine, while making it fun and practical. In the coming weeks, he'll tell you what to ask at a wine store, at what temperature to serve it and share his must-have wine tools.

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Taste Wine — Outsmarting Wine

Learn how to taste wine by using these three ways to build your wine-tasting vocabulary.

How to Send Wine Back — Outsmarting Wine

The easiest way to send back a bottle is to bring your server into the fold and ask his opinion.

Affordable Weeknight Wines — Outsmarting Wine

Here are three wine types that will enchant any night of the week and won't break the bank.

How to Order Wine in One Sentence — Outsmarting Wine

Here are three ways to order wine with just one sentence.

What to See and Say in a Wine Store — Outsmarting Wine

How do you choose a wine once you're in a wine store? Here’s a plan of attack that even a novice can conquer.

3 Sizzling Wine Types for BBQ — Outsmarting Wine

Fire up the grill and try these wines with hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled chicken and more.

Sips for Hot Summer Nights — Outsmarting Wine

When it comes to selecting wine for hot summer nights, prosecco Vinho Verde and Beaujolais will guarantee a good night. Read more

Budget Wines

Wines under $10, recommended by Michael Green

How to Buy Wine

With all of the anxiety and intimidation surrounding wine purchasing, it is a bloody shame that there is no user’s manual for visiting a wine shop. No matter: These strategies will help you get the most out of a wine merchant.

Wine for Sangria

Sangria, a mixture of wine, fruit, sweetener and sometimes liquor, is capable of bringing such happiness that science should consider classifying it as an antidepressant. Here are some guidelines to make sangria as uplifting as it can be.

On TV

The Pioneer Woman

9:30am | 8:30c

The Kitchen

10am | 9c

The Kitchen

11am | 10c

The Kitchen

12pm | 11c

The Pioneer Woman

1:30pm | 12:30c

Chopped

3pm | 2c

Chopped

4pm | 3c

Chopped

5pm | 4c

Chopped

6pm | 5c

Chopped

7pm | 6c

Chopped

8pm | 7c

Chopped

9pm | 8c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Chopped

10pm | 9c

Chopped

11pm | 10c

Chopped

12am | 11c

Chopped

1am | 12c

Chopped

2am | 1c

Chopped

3am | 2c