Wine makes a great party guest. For holiday parties, I like to start off serving a crisp, fruity white (Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, dry Riesling) or an oaky Chardonnay. (so untrendy you'll be the next trend!)
Red? Personally I like 'em deep, dark and dirty. This means Zinfandel or Syrah and to the lesser degree Mourvèdre or Grenache. You say jammy, I say yummy.
For holiday dinner though? A good Pinot you can't beat paired with turkey, beef or vegetarian entrees. Remember the Three P's - Pinots Pair Perfectly. Guys, this is a wine that hooks up easy.
And green? Ahhh, now this is where the story really starts. There's a lot more going on under that cork or screw top than you may have stopped to ponder. Like how the whole thing happens. Are the grapes grown organically, using lots of water or dry-farmed? How is the land tended? (beneficial insects, biodynamic, plowed by goat?) Solar powered buildings? Reclaimed water? Recycled glass? Soy inks? Corks or screw tops?
There's a lot to consider when talking green wine, and the producers that take extra steps to be environmental stewards deserve to be acknowledged. Some wineries excel in one area, others in all. Don't let perfect be the enemy of the good. Decide what is important to you, and be open to how different wineries define "green."
For fun - go on your own green wine hunt. Visit these wineries over the holidays, and ask about green practices. It's always interesting to learn the story behind the food you eat, and adds a new treat to your travels and tastings.
Note: There are many more green wineries than listed below, but I have a direct relationship with these wines. I either visited the winery, know the wine maker, or simply verified their story with lots of research and testing! I like them, but you may not. Everyone's palette is unique and there is no science supporting an exact connection between food and wine. So never rely on "experts," find out what wines YOU like.
Since drinking wine has a lot to do with talking, the more you know about the wine, the more interesting a person you are at the party! Wishing you and yours terrific holiday meals filled with great conversation.
Got any more green wine suggestions? Please share below.
Laura's Red, White or Green List (condensed)
MENDOCINO COUNTY: Paul Dolan Cellars, Parducci, Breggo Cellars, Fetzer, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards
SONOMA COUNTY: Rodney Strong, Benziger Family Winery, Quivera, Cline Cellars, Deloach Vineyards
SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS: Silver Mountain Vineyard
NAPA VALLEY: Frog's Leap Winery, Cuvaison's Estate Winery
VEGAN WINES: Edna Valley, McManis Family Vineyards
For the complete list click here