Tips on how to Pair Wine with Christmas Dinner

With all of the things to consider for the holiday season, let this guide take care of your Christmas dinner wine pairings. It can be difficult trying to figure out which type of wines to choose for the evening with all of the different side dishes you have and their unique flavours. Traditionally, people will pick one red, one white, and perhaps one rose. You do not have to adhere to this rule if your guests lean more to one type over another, but having all three might make it easier to ensure everything has a pairing. Here are some recommendations for common Christmas dinner recipes.

To start off

You should keep your Christmas appetizers and starting drinks light. Make sure your guests have plenty of room for the main event and that they are still able to hold their utensils properly by the time it is served. Save the 15% alcohol by volume (AVB) red for later in the evening.

Smoked salmon canapes – A bubbly or Chenin Blanc

Pick something relatively dry and lower in AVB for this appetizer. A Chenin Blanc or Gewurztraminer works best, though Champagne or Cremant compliments smoked salmon as well.

Pigs in a blanket – Sparkling Rose

This wine will cut through the richness of the buttery dough and also play up the smoky-sweet pork in the middle.

Mains

The star of the show is usually different types of meat, but vegetarian and vegan mains are becoming more popular as well. This includes a little bit of everything.

Prime rib – Bordeaux

Something as bold as prime rib should be paired with an equally bold wine. A Cabernet Sauvignon from California will do but, if you really want to step it up for the holidays, a Bordeaux is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Spiral ham – Zinfandel

This dish can be tricky to pair since it can be both salty and sweet. Cut through the fatty sweetness of ham by pairing it with a Zinfandel or Lambrusco. These wines will also have an adequate fruit flavour to them as well.

Roast goose – Red Burgundy

This decadent dish deserves an indulgent wine like a nice red Burgundy. Goose is not as common of a Christmas dish in North America as it is in Britain and Germany, but those that make consider the effort that goes into making it worth it. Goose is notorious for having a lot of fat, but if it is prepared carefully, it can be juicy and delicious. In Germany, they even use it like butter and spread the fat on bread.

Turkey – Pinot Noir

This classic main is light tasting and should be paired with a light wine. A Pinot Noir’s fruity notes and earthy undertones go well with most side dishes as well.

Spinach and gruyere souffle – Gamay

Vegetarians no longer need to be left with just a few side dishes. This main is light and rich at the same time, making a Gamay its perfect pairing. Both omnivores and herbivores will enjoy it alike.

Twice baked butternut squash with cashew cheese and cranberries – Riesling

There are a lot of flavours and textures at play in this vegan main. Butternut squash is both a bit fruity and a bit sweet, making a dry Riesling an excellent choice to balance it out.

Sides

Secretly, or not so secretly, most people look forward to holiday dinner sides. There is something so satisfying about creamy mashed potatoes and bacon garnished greens. If your main dish is paired better with a red, then it could be worthwhile to pair your sides with a complimentary white. Sweet sides pair better with dry wines like a Chardonnay, while savoury sides go best with a medium-bodied red like a Merlot. Having different types of wine makes it easy to find a match for all of your dishes.

For a customized wine menu for your holiday dinner, talk to one of our connaisseurs at Seven Degrees. We can help you pair any food with our wide selection of wines.

 

 

Health Benefits of Beer

It might seem crazy to think that beer can actually make you healthier, but there’s growing evidence to confirm just as much. The key to obtaining the health benefits of beer is through moderation, meaning drinking around one or two glasses a day. However, don’t go thinking that binge drinking will lead to healthy kidneys and a higher IQ. It doesn’t work like that, which is why we’re here to tell you substantiated health benefits that come with drinking, or cooking with, beer.

Nutritional Value

While beer is 90% water, that remaining 10% is packed with a number of nutrients our body needs to keep functioning, including fibre and trace amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and more. Beer contains more protein and vitamin B than wine and its unique antioxidants come from the malts and hops used in brewing. The amount of antioxidants present is the same as those found in wine but they’re of a different composition due to varying ingredients. Beer also contains probiotics that aid in increasing the good bacteria in your gut for a healthier digestive system.

Boosts Bone Health

One of the few dietary sources for silicon is found in beer and is important regarding the growth and development of bone and its connective tissue. One study showed that moderate drinkers were 38% less likely to have osteoporosis compared to non-drinkers, while another revealed that moderate drinkers were 20% less likely to fracture their hip.

Reduces the Risk of Diabetes

It’s the belief through the amount of research done, that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is reduced by 30% with a healthy intake of beer. A Dutch study looked at 38,000 male health professionals and determined that, over the course of moderate drinking for four years, they were less likely to develop diabetes. Similarly, a Danish study concluded that the moderate consumption of alcohol over three to four days is associated with a lower risk of diabetes.

Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Studies have found that men who’d already suffered heart attacks before becoming moderate beer drinkers had a 42% lower chance of developing further heart disease or dying than non-drinkers. One 500ml glass that’s about 5% alcohol is what researchers recommend drinking per day to gain these benefits. Another study done by the American Heart Association in 2016 followed 80,000 people over six years. They determined that moderate drinking slowly declined cholesterol levels which, in turn, lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Aids with Mental Health Issues

One reason many people drink beer, or alcohol in general, is to reduce stress and tension in the body. But beer also affects the brain, boosting creativity and, according to researchers at Loyola University, moderate drinkers were 23% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s and dementia than non-drinkers. Light to moderate drinking from 50 years of age and on was associated with a slower decline in cognitive abilities than heavy and non-drinkers, according to multiple Parkinson’s disease studies. These results are connected with the improvement of blood flow to the brain from the rise of good cholesterol.

At Seven Degrees in Edmonton, Alberta, shop our extensive collection of wine and craft beer to your heart’s content. Our liquor store’s number one goal has always been to bring you high-quality wines, craft beers and spirits at a great price. Our experts have the knowledge and experience to help you find the perfect beverage for any occasion. So stop by today and try a sample or two of select products.

Strong Beers – The Key to Defeating Winter!

As I sit here looking out of the window I see snow. Full blown snow pelting the ground and it’s only September 15th! I could grumble about the unpredictable (and increasingly so) weather patterns that don’t work in my favour or I can turn to towards big, bold, strong beers to not only challenge my palate, but distract me from windows. Here are 3 categories of strong beers to help one get through premature winter blues.

Imperial Stouts – also called Russian Imperial stouts, because the English use to brew these super strong (10-12%) beers to be shipped to Russia. High alcohol and hopping rates (though you won’t taste them due to malt character) preserved the barreled beer during shipment. Expect baker’s chocolate, roasted coffee beans, smooth espresso, and dark plum notes for aroma and flavor. These are rich, complex, and intense beers meant to be drank by a fireplace if possible. Also can go well with an equally rich desert like chocolate cheesecake. Old Rasputin is a fantastic version of an Imperial stout that you’ll find in most independent liquor stores.

Wee Heavy – The strongest of the Scottish beer styles, a wee heavy can range from 6.5-10% ABV. Aroma and flavors range from caramel, toffee candy, light smoke, toasted bread, nuts, and dried fruit. Orkney Skull Splitter is classic version of this beer that we carry in store and at $5.25 a 330 ml bottle, this 8.5% ABV is a steal of a deal on a cold day!

Belgian Dark Strong – The strongest of the trappist/abbey series (trappist beers are ones brewed in a monastery with a legit monk overseeing brewery production whereas abbey ales are simply beers produced in a normal brewery using the monastic approach for marketing only). The dark strong can have fruit flavors and aromas ranging from raisins, prunes, plums, dried cherry, and figs. Also present in the aroma and flavor will be spices ranging from cloves, vanilla, nutmeg, and floral notes. Though the beer is dark, do not expect any roasted coffee notes you might get from an imperial stout! St Bernardus Abt 12 is a fantastic abbey version and Chimay Blue cap is a good trappist version of the Belgian dark strong style carried in our store.

 

What I Learned from Drinking 100 Gin and Tonics

This past June, my wife and I did extensive “research” in preparation for two gin and tonic nights. We offered 10 different gins and 10 different tonics, for a total of 100 different combinations. Shortly into our research, we decided to reduce the volume, but not the ration of our gin and tonics in order to complete–or at least remember– our task.

The 10 gins we sample represented premium gins, made distinctive by their botanicals. We also used premium tonic waters, and discovered how a good tonic water can bring out the best in a great gin.

Surprisingly, we discovered that the stronger the tonic water, the more the flavours were enhanced in the gin. We also found that the larger the ice cubes, the more the delicate flavours of the gin and tonic were preserved, by their not being watered down.

The range of gin available today, with the range of tonic waters available, makes for nearly endless possibilities. We’ll continue to stock the best, and we’ll also be busy doing research all winter for a new gin and tonic night in 2019.

 

Wines Edmonton

What Makes a Great Wine Event?

I started 7degrees Wine School three years ago after attending countless wine tastings, from trade tastings where we would swish and spit 60 wines, to full meals with each course paired with a different wine. I wanted to do something different, so I thought about the three most important components of the evening.

Socializing: Wine is social. It’s also fun, and I sat through a few too many events where the person at the front talked so much that the guests were not able to talk about the wine amongst themselves. A glass of wine is one of the best places to meet old friends and new people, so Wines Schools are built around the evening being social.

Food: Food and wine go together, but some evenings the wine needs to be the star of the show, and you need the time to enjoy it. We serve an appetizer with each wine to compliment it, and we want to give you a full evening out. Enjoy the wines we’ve chosen; enjoy the appetizers: we have the place to ourselves.

Wine: Learning about wine is enjoyable, especially when it’s hands-on learning. We serve wines which will give you options for new favourites, but also challenge you to try new styles. New styles, a wide range of price points, and all the interesting stories that come with wine.

So I brought it all together in 7degrees Wine School