We’re back here again, Christmas is almost here. It is that time of year where we make merry, enjoy ourselves in the spirit of togetherness and spend time with our loved ones.
And while buying your loved a new phone might be a good idea, you may want to consider showing up with a wine hamper for that Christmas dinner.
What’s a hamper?
Traditionally, hampers were hinged baskets (alternatively baskets with carrying handles) that were used for carrying food for a special occasion.
Lately hampers have evolved into gift baskets as well, where a hamper could be used to carry perfumes, other small gifts or pleasantries.
Now that we have a bearing of what hampers are, there are specific food-wine pairings that one should keep in mind when picking a wine this Christmas.
As you would expect, red wine is made from red grapes. Surprisingly though, this colour does not come from the fleshy part of the fruit itself but rather from the grapes’ skin. Wine making is basically a controlled fermentation process; during the fermentation process for red wine the skin of the grape is not removed which leaves the red colouring in the final wine.
The most common types of red wines are Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot noir. Syrah goes well with roasted game as well sausages; Merlot goes well with steak and grilled meats; Cabernet Sauvignon goes well with rib eye, beef stew and venison; Pinot Noir will do with sausage, lamb, chicken and fillet mignon.
White wine is made from white grapes. However, white wine can also be made from some variants of red grapes. As described before, the skin of the grapes is the main determinant of the colour of wine. For this wine, the skin of the grapes is removed to remove with the semi – translucent fleshy inside.
The most common types of white wines are Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc. Riesling goes well with smoked sausage, sea bass, duck and trout; Chardonnay goes well with chicken, shrimp, lobster, veal, halibut, pork and crab; Sauvignon Blanc goes well with chicken, oysters, pork, scallops, shrimp, sushi, turkey and lobster.
Rose/ Blush wine
Rose wine is made from red grapes. Unlike red wine in which the skin is left on for the entire fermentation process, the skins are only left on for a relatively short period of timer. This results in a pink colour rather than the deep red associated with the red wines.
The most common types of rose wine are white merlot and white zinfandel. The same pairings as those for white wine generally work here.
Champagne is a sparkling bubbly form of wine which originated from France. The name champagne is actually derived from its region of origin: – Champagne in France. Champagnes is formed through a process of carbonation in which the process of fermentation is halted then restarted to begin secondary fermentation. This traps carbon dioxide within the champagne giving it the bubbly look.
Champagne goes well with oysters, venison, sushi and fish.
Now that you know which pairings are best then it’s much easier for you to pick a type of wine with regard to your loved one’s meal of choice.
Perhaps the question on your mind is how to possibly find the best products to put in the hampers. The good news is that it is quite possible to find hampers that have already been pre-filled with a good selection of wine, good wrapping and possibly some accompanying chocolate. This means that they already come as a full set of products ready to be bought and all you have to figure is which one would be best for your loved ones.
Presentation matters! Half of the gift is seen in the packaging of the product, so you may want to be careful in picking hampers online. Wine is taken to be a classy drink and should be treated as such. Purchase hampers that have that premium look but meet your needs. Saving that few extra bucks may leave you with a cheap – looking gift so it may be worth your money to invest in that little extra just to impress. Perhaps, a classy touch to add would be to purchase a hamper that has the wine come with a wooden casing. Finally, make sure that the hamper includes a card with a handwritten note to your loved ones. A little personal note will go a long way in adding that personal touch to the hamper.
Merry Christmas and make merry!