How to Select the Perfect Wine and Champagne This Holiday Season

The Holiday season is filled to the brim with special occasions, fancy events and friendly get togethers, all of which call for special attention to be paid not just to the right combination of hors d’oeuvres and entrées, but to the selection of wine and champagne (and how you serve them).

Here, two industry experts give advice for everything from properly opening a bottle of champagne on New Year’s Eve.

Wine

To kickoff the season in a tasteful fashion, Michael Mondavi, co-owner of Michael Mondavi Family Estate, suggests beginning a Holiday dinner with a sparkling wine or wine cocktail to get guests in a festive mood — an extra dry Prosecco with a touch of cranberry juice is a great party starter.

When it’s time for the meal, pair your Christmas ham with a lighter red wine, so as not to “overwhelm the food.” Roses are great with turkey and cranberry, but whites can still add flavour to a heavy meal. For charcuterie, cheeses and heavier cream-based dishes, try crisp whites.

Champagne

Sure, popping champagne may look fun in music videos, but mopping up the bubbly drink from your kitchen floor instead of enjoying it is no cause for celebration. Moet & Chandon winemaker Elise Losfelt suggests leaving the cage on when removing the cork. “Untwist the wire six times, then hold the cage and cork together in one hand while using the other to twist the bottle’s base in a circular direction away from the cork to slowly work the cork out,” Losfelt says. “Twisting the bottle instead of the cork allows you to more gently remove the cork and have more control.”

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Read more on how to select the perfect wine and champagne for the holidays at Forbes.com