CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Is this fun or what? The holiday season, I mean.
It's not often you get a pass to cast prudence and caution to the wind and plunk down some serious green for a little red or white.
I've already been perusing the shelves of my favorite wine shops (and online too) in search of that special bottle. The good news is that there is an incredible selection of wine from all over the world available in any number of price ranges.
And giving the gift of wine, particularly to someone close to you, can have its own reward since there is a good likelihood you'll be invited to sip along with the giftee once that special bottle is uncorked.
And, of course, whenever I consider a wine, I always ruminate over what type of food will present the best opportunity for gastronomic synergy. In my particular situation, I'm thinking about Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meals and the wines that will make the feasts memorable.
In my household, my wife and I divide responsibility for the two meals. I take Christmas Eve and she is chef de cuisine for Christmas Day. As one who was raised in a Catholic Italian family, I will spend all day Christmas Eve preparing and cooking seafood (à la the Feast of the Seven Fishes).
After five or six hours of frying, boiling, steaming, smoking and poaching fish, I will be worn out, cranky, smelly and in serious need of a sip or two of wine. My choice to soothe my weary body and reinvigorate my spirit is champagne or sparkling wine, which is also an excellent accompaniment to all manner of seafood.