December 2, 2021

Pioneer Spirit Market

Ignite that pioneering spirit within!

Wining and Dining

Wining and dining at the dinner table does not have to be so much a complicated experience!  Whatever the occasion, there are some wines that will work with almost any kind of cuisine of choice you want to go with.

So, you’re having a dinner party and you’re looking for the best wine to suit the occasion.  Whether the party is simply for one or two people, or as grand as a big family feast, there’s always something for someone.

My Wine Discoveries

A long time ago, in what feels like a lifetime away, I used to work at a liquor store.  Little did I know at the time I would end up becoming a recommended advisor of alcoholic beverages that would best suit any occasion.  This also included learning more about wines!

Now, I don’t fancy myself as an expert!  However, after working with wedding parties and learning from those who knew way more than I did, I made the point to try some for myself.  While I know everything is subject to personal preference, one thing I did learn is sometimes it is better to trust the opinion of those who really know their stuff!  And, during my time at the liquor store, I found the best opinions came from bartenders and caterers.

My Catering Days

Working at the liquor store was a stepping stone that lead to a career as a cook, caterer, and occasional bartender for a few establishments.  My time at the liquor store was to my advantage as I learned that experience over.  At one point, I worked for nearly ten summers at a local golf course that was struggling at first to please members and guests with a good wine selection.  I offered a few suggestions, which they took to heart and applied.

It didn’t take long before the complaints the golf course received about a low-quality wine menu changed to something that was more accommodating.  The clubhouse where the golfers would meet went from just having one or two wine choices available to more than ten!  From year to year, a few wines would be replaced with something new as we’d remove from the roster poor sellers with potential best sellers.

Outside the work environment of the golf course, I continued to cook, cater, and bartending to a variety of events.  From smaller gatherings to large-scale events, I brought forth what I learned to best accommodate the needs of those who hired me.  Before each event started, especially when wine was involved and I had the freedom of choice to pick and choose my recommendations, I made a point to learn if anybody had specific health issues I need to know about.

I had (and still have) my reasons!

Discerning Tastes

Not everybody has the same taste buds!  I think it’s safe to say that is common knowledge!  So to pick something that will please everyone is not easy!  That was a lesson the inexperienced golf course owners learned quickly as they learned the hard way their favorite wines did not match what the golfers wanted!

The lists I’ve done for them are not a far stretch from the lists I’m providing here.  I’m well aware not everybody has the same tastes and may disagree with some on the list.  That’s normal!  It’s what makes each of us human!

There are three lists, each with five wine recommendations attached, here.  They are;

  • 5 Recommended Red Wines
  • 5 Recommended White Wines
  • 5 Recommended Wines for Cocktails (includes the recipe)

Dietary Issues

Before moving forward, I want to mention I take dietary issues very seriously.  What you’re going to find on this list is a number of Moscato wines.  While the muscat grapes used in these wines are generally known for making dessert wines, they’re also known for their low acidic content.  For people who suffer from heartburn, acid-reflux issues, or just don’t care for something so acidic, the Moscato lineup is the route to go!

Want to know more about muscat grapes?  Visit THIS LINK to learn more!  (A pop up window will appear so you don’t lose your place here!)

5 Recommended Red Wines

  1. Quintessa Proprietary Red (2018 is best!) – the fruity balance of this easy-to-drink pinot noir is also something you can savor.  Its medium-bodied red hue gives a healthy dose of floral aromas, then accented with the taste of cherry, plum, and hints of vanilla and spice.
  2. Louis Latour Chateau Cotton Glancey at Vivino (2015 is best!) – if you couldn’t care less about a budget, this pinot noir is the route to go!  The texture is heavenly with the mouthwatering acidic blend of black and red currants, blackberry fruit, blood orange citrus, and dried raspberries underscored by baking spices and dried red florals.  Louis Latour is known for bringing forth the most unique wines on the market.
  3. Louis Jadot Bourgogne Pinot Noir (2017 is best!) – aged in French oak for nine months, the palette gets a real treat with a well-rounded mix of cherries, raspberries, and earthly figs with a gentle tannic structure that has a dry, refreshing finish.  It’s a light and fruity wine, which makes a great addition to any meal.
  4. Lavau Rasteau (2017 is best!) – is a rich, velvety, and aromatic masterpiece from France’s Rhone Valley.  The taste of the Mediterranean is nothing short of spectacular of garrigue scrubland, spice, and ripe fruit in a generous, yet well-balanced wine.  This is a blended wine that is half Grenache and half Syrah, and oh what a blend it is!
  5.  Jean Foillard Beaujolais Villages (2017 is best!) – the Beaujolais is a worldwide favorite in the red wine category for a reason!  This fruit and floral combo is nothing short of dynamic and it becomes even better when chilled!  For those who prefer organic red wine, this is the one to pick!

5 Recommended White Wines

  1. Stella Rosa Platinum – made by the Conte Winery of the Piedmont region of Italy, this wine is a somewhat sweet and sparkling muscat-grape wine. It is a full-body with a crisp elderflower, green apple, and vanilla flavor.  The blend of muscat grapes involved make this a fantastic choice as an appetizing wine, for the dinner table, and even as part of the dessert menu!
  2. Twomey Cellars Sauvignon Blanc (2019 is best!) – is elegant and easy to drink, which is really important if you want to enjoy your wine and your meal at the same level.  The more versatility you can get the better!  This wine delivers on that with a beautiful mix of aroma, color, and taste.  The blend of passion fruit, lemongrass, and herbs is perfectly balanced with the citrus flavors and creamy texture.  It can accommodate any given meal because it is so light and dry.
  3. La Crema Monterey Pinot Gris (2018 is best!) – is a crowd pleaser!  It’s well-balanced and easy-going, so it can accommodate just about anything.  The mineral undertones accompanying the citrus make this wine so food-friendly.  It also makes a fantastic cooking wine!
  4. Grüner Veltliner Handwerk Reinhard Waldschutz – from Austria, this is a really good wine for dinner parties!  It can go with just about everything because it’s so versatile.  Many staff from clubs, bars, and restaurants who have this particular wine on the roster picks it as their personal favorite!  The flavor is fresh with its mix of herbs, lemongrass, and white pepper blend.
  5. Paul Blanck Pinot Blanc d’Alsace (2010 is best!) – on its own or paired up with a good meal, will be a favorite among fans of wines that strictly stick with organics.

5 Recommended Wines for Cocktails

When just the wine isn’t enough, why not mix it up with something else?  C’mon, jazz it up!

You’re going to find with this list it’s 100% Moscato-based wines.  The Moscato lineup is best known as dessert wines, but also makes ideal wine bases for cocktails due to its lower acidic content compared to other wine brands.  In fact, if you or someone you know is vulnerable to heartburn, I’d recommend going with the Moscato wines for this very reason!

  1. Risata Moscato d’Asti – an excellent wine base for any type of cocktail you wish to conjure up.  For White Wine Spritzers, it’s awesome!  There’s a seductively sweet, aromatic, and tasty blend of stone fruit, tart citrus, and floral honey that seems so heavenly!  This is a fantastic wine choice on its own without the need of adding it to a cocktail!  As a dinner pairing, I’d recommend going with poultry.  This would actually make a pretty decent wine to celebrate Christmas and Thanksgiving.
  2. Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d’Asti DOCG – there’s a good reason why it’s consistently on the wine menu list among the best restaurants around the world!  The creamy blend of peach and white flowers offers a fresh aroma and flavor that is well balanced.  The taste is never too sweet, which makes it a great choice for any occasion!
  3. Elio Perrone Moscato d’Asti Sourgal – for the adventurous!  The way it shifts from its original yellow to a brilliant green is almost as entertaining as the aroma and flavor that goes with it!  If Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster ever chose to drink wine with his favorite snack, this would be the one!  Another great feature about this wine is the intensity of the orange flower, yellow peach, and sage that’s mixed with the freshly pickled muscat grapes.  It’s so well balanced!  To prove my point, not only is this wine really good as a dessert wine, but also with appetizers and a wine base for some really neat cocktails!
  4. Marques De Caceres Crianza Rioja – when it comes to making the infamous Sangria, nothing beats a good, rioja from Spain!  The soft spice and refined oak to the nose, mixed with the depth of jammy red berry fruits, already makes this wine on its own heavenly!
  5. Las Rocas Garnacha – the luscious aroma and flavors of blackberry and dark cherry meld together with notes of oak and round tannins, making this Spanish wine a well-balanced treat.  The full body and lasting finish make this one of the most popular red wines, especially when using it as a base to make cocktails.