Winemaking is rooted in age-old tradition, but the wines we most enjoy—and the way we enjoy them—are constantly changing and evolving. To get ahead of what’s trending this season, I connected with two San Diego oenophiles about what to expect on shelves, how to pair foods appropriately, and what bottles to gift—and get before they’re gone!
It’s never too early to stock up on the bubbly
Sparkling wine is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season (holiday sales typically start in mid-October). It’s commonly thought that Champagne (properly: sparkling wine produced in Champagne, France) is the only type of bubbles worth purchasing. Brendan Quigley, president and owner of Quigley Fine Wines in downtown San Diego, disagrees and suggests stocking up on prosecco and cava, sparkling wines from Italy and Spain. They’ve been gaining popularity in the last few years because they’re less expensive and taste delicious.
Rosé is not just for summer
Great news, pink-wine lovers: summer’s favorite sip is sticking around. Quigley suggests looking for dry rosés produced in Oregon, California, Italy, or Spain—they’re a better value than French rosés, and the increased popularity of rosé in recent years means winemakers are now producing it using higher-quality grapes. Rosé’s fresh acidity makes it a great partner to classic fall cuisine, cutting through creamy dishes like macaroni and cheese and butternut squash soup. And for dessert, it complements rich sweets like pumpkin pie.
What grows together, goes together
A simple tip for choosing wines that pair well with food is the age-old "what grows together, goes together," says Kate Edgecombe, wine director at Paon Restaurant and Wine Bar in Carlsbad. So pair Italian wine with Italian food, wine grown in coastal regions with seafood, and so on. If you’re a guest at a holiday party and don’t know what dishes will be served, opt for a versatile, food-friendly wine that will please the crowd. Quigley suggests a white Burgundy—it’ll wow both red and white wine drinkers, and goes well with most appetizers, soups, and salads. Edgecombe recommends a pinot noir or an Italian red over heavy wines such as syrah and cabernet sauvignon (both of which are typical go-tos around the holidays).