Toasting the season

Experts share wine and beer picks for the holiday season

by Jennifer Ruple

The entertaining season is upon us, and soon many of us will be busy planning menus for holiday gatherings with family and friends. While it may be easy to decide which foods to serve, it may not be so easy to choose complementary wines or beers.

To help decode the mystery of what goes with what, we checked in with two local experts from Walt Churchill’s Market in Maumee, Ohio, Wine Manager Richard Fortney and Beer Manager Doug Patterson. Here are their top wine and beer suggestions for the season and the foods that pair well with them.

 Doug Patterson, beer manager, and Richard Fortney, wine manager, at Walt Churchill’s Market in Maumee, Ohio.

Doug Patterson, beer manager, and Richard Fortney, wine manager, at Walt Churchill’s Market in Maumee, Ohio.

Richard Fortney’s Wine Picks

2014 Dr. Loosen Riesling is a crisp, fruity and refreshing Riesling that comes from the mineral-rich slate soil of the Mosel Valley. “It is an ideal companion to any holiday menu and a perfect pairing to either turkey or ham,” said Fortney.

2015 Sable d’Azur, Côtes de Provence, Rosé “The best Rosé wines come from Provence, France,” said Fortney. “This wine is dry and fresh with crisp acidity and is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah. It’s the perfect wine for any occasion and pairs particularly well with hors d’oeuvres and lighter foods.”

2014 Jean-Marc Brocard, Sainte Claire, Chablis is for the more discriminating palate. This 100% French Chardonnay is one of the finest examples of Chablis,” said Fortney. “A textbook flinty aroma gives way to green apple, lemon and minerality. It’s great as an aperitif and with shellfish, seafood and foul.”

2015 Chateau de Jarnioux, Beaujolais is a classic. “This 100% Gamay varietal has an attractive ruby red color and delectable fresh notes of strawberry and cherry. The refreshing, round and silky wine pairs well with turkey, pâté or lighter foods.”

Pair 2014 Walnut City Wineworks, Pinot Noir with lamb, duck and wild game. “Some of the best Pinot Noir wines come from the Willamette Valley, and this wine is no exception,” said Fortney.

2010 Chateau Grand Francais, Bordeaux is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. “As the wine opens up, it begins to take on complex flavors of dried fruits and spices.” Pair it with red meat and heavy cheeses.

White and red wines that pair well with holiday entertaining.
White and red wines that pair well with holiday entertaining.

Doug Patterson’s Beer Picks

Weyerbacher Merry Monks Belgian-Style Tripel Ale and Dark Horse Brewing Co. Sapient Trip Ale both have notes of fruit and spice flavors that pair well with ham. “They really grab onto the honey glaze and provide a nice contrast to the saltiness of the ham,” said Patterson.

To complement turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and cranberries, Patterson suggests the rich, fruity and aromatic Ommegang Abbey Dubbel Ale. “This food-friendly beer is high in carbonation for lifting the richness of gravy and mashed potatoes from the palate.”

Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter from Sweet Baby Jesus! “This dessert porter pairs well with rich, dark chocolate; candied fruit; fruit-filled cookies and chocolate pecan pie,” said Patterson.

Patterson suggests the deep roasted and

full-bodied flavor of B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout to pair with chocolate ice cream and coffee, cinnamon, and custard pies.

Beer options that pair well with ham and turkey and all the sides.