Is the fork on the left or the right? Which knife goes first? What wine glasses should I use? When it comes to the holidays we all like to dress it up a little. But if those darn etiquette rules escape you, we are here to help
Ponzi’s Director of Hospitality and Events, Kati Focareto, takes us through a proper place setting as she prepares for a formal Ponzi dinner party. Click on video below.
Many Ponzi magnums and specialty cuvées are finished with wax. Learn how to open these bottles like a pro. Our Director of Hospitality & Events, Kati Focareto demonstrates how to safely handle a wax sealed bottle. All you need is a cork puller, a strong hand and a bit of confidence.
Ponzi Single Vineyard and Reserve Pinot Noirs are a treat to revisit year after year. Winemaker Luisa Ponzi crafts these cuvées to age and selects fruit from Ponzi’s oldest and finest vineyards, which ripen later and hold their acidity better than younger sites. Over a decade’s time, she finds flavors and aromas of cherry, plum and blueberry turn to currant, cedar and anise; then later to forest floor, savory notes and offer a silky texture.
Did you know Ponzi Chardonnays can also age quite elegantly? The structure and acidity allow these cuvées to evolve into richer more complex wines over time. Notes of pear, apple and jasmine transition to flavors and aromas of apricot, hazelnut, pie spice and brûlée.
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You’ve selected the perfect wine for your holiday meal. What you pour your wine into may come as an afterthought, but selecting the right stemware will truly enhance the wine and the occasion. Here are some tips for ensuring maximum enjoyment:
Selecting appropriate glassware will not only impress your guests and add some flair to your table, but will allow the wines to show their best.
The Oregon Pinot Noir glass was made by Austrian manufacturer Riedel especially for our region’s flagship varietal. Winemaker Luisa Ponzi was actually on the panel of experts who worked with Georges Riedel to develop the glass. The benefits of this special stemware are numerous. Our favorite features are the large bowl― ideal for easy swirling, conjuring all of the wonderful nuances Pinot noir has to offer; and the narrow chimney, which focuses the tantalizing aromas and subtle flavors and gently leads the wine to your palate.
While this glass was made for Pinot noir, you will find just about any wine will enjoy the glass’ benefits. At the Ponzi Vineyards Tasting Room, we serve nearly all of our wines in Riedel’s impressive Oregon Pinot Noir glass. Stop by the tasting room to pick up your own set of these impressive stems. If an Oregon Pinot Noir glass is not available, any large bowled glass, like a traditional Burgundy stem, will do just fine.
We love serving Ponzi Chardonnay in the Oregon Pinot Noir glass, but white wines, especially the crisp, stainless-steel fermented cuvées will show quite well in a smaller bowled glass. Riedel makes several beautiful and easy to find options: Veritas and Vinum XL. This type of glass is perhaps the most common found on the market, so chances are you already have this type of stemware in your kitchen cabinet.
Whether you’re popping the cork on a bottle of bubbles or pouring a seductive dessert wine, there are a handful of wines that necessitate their own special glass- and for good reason. A champagne flute is not only mean to look elegant and festive, but the tall, elongated glass actually helps keep the tiny bubbles in the wine. A larger bowled glass will expose more surface area and thus the CO2 will quickly dissipate.
Dessert wine, on the other hand, is a little more forgiving. Often times you find the after dinner variety is served in tiny stemware. Wine with higher residual sugar is best enjoyed in smaller quantities because it is so rich. It is not necessary to have special glassware on hand however. Use your white wine stemware. Just keep your pours to about 3-4oz, or half of what you would normally pour your guests.
At the end of the day, the occasion is yours. Use these suggestions as guidelines. If you want to serve your bubbles in an Oregon Pinot Noir glass, go for it… and enjoy fewer dishes to wash! Truth be told, your wine will benefit from quality stemware, no matter the shape.
Holidays often tempt overconsumption. Winery Founder and author of The Ponzi Vineyards Cookbook, Nancy Ponzi offers a bit of wisdom: “Provide an attractive dump bucket or two. It’s not rude to dispose of wine, particularly if a number of wines are being served; it’s possible to love the wine but want to limit consumption― too much alcohol ruins tasting pleasure.”
To best experience the true essence of Ponzi wines, Winemaker Luisa Ponzi recommends serving them at the following temperatures:
Refrigerators are typically kept at 32 ̊ - 40 ̊, while wine fridges are kept at cellar temperature: 55 ̊ - 57 ̊. Plan accordingly to chill your wines and pull them out in time to warm to the perfect serving temperature.
Since our founding, Ponzi Vineyards has crafted balanced, terroir-driven wines with pairing in mind. These are food wines, designed to enhance meals shared around the family table. During the holidays, good food, great wine and your favorite company come together, creating memorable celebrations. From our table to yours, here are some perfect pairings to try this holiday season:
Generally, it's best to keep food simple when pairing with wine. "Avoid all together - or judiciously use - strongly flavored herbs, spices and vegetables," advises Nancy Ponzi, Winery Founder and author of The Ponzi Vineyards Cookbook. Holiday dishes tend to follow these rules, so pair away!
Creating a memorable salad pairing relies on taking care not to overwhelm the fresher elements or the wines. Try an assortment of mild greens, and pair with younger, lighter bodied wines like the crisp, high acidity 2016 Ponzi Pinot Gris and fruit forward 2015 Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir. Stick to clean flavors in the food and the wine, and keep it simple. Save older vintage and bolder wines for later, featured courses. Nancy's philosophy, "I avoid asparagus, artichokes, chilies or sauerkraut and am wary of Brussel sprouts."
A complex, structured and well-balanced Chardonnay will enhance all the flavors in roasted turkey and sides, match the acidity of a squeeze of lemon juice and bond with subtle rosemary, garlic and butter flavors. We recommend the limited production single vineyard cuvée, 2014 Ponzi Aurora Chardonnay with your main course. "Lemon balm, straw and white pepper frame this elegant nose, the palate holds true with dried quince, baked apple interlaced with balanced acidity and a touch of minerality," describes Winemaker Luisa Ponzi.
It's always a good idea to offer a red option with holiday meals, in addition to the supple Chardonnay pairing suggested above. For a truly special pairing, uncork a bottle (or even a magnum) of the gorgeous 2014 Ponzi Abetina Pinot Noir and add a few mushrooms to your gravy. The structure and tannin of this spectacular Pinot noir will stand up to rich sides, without overpowering delicate turkey sweetness. Winemaker Luisa Ponzi describes, "Spicy notes of nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla on the nose. The mouth follows with bay rum, dark chocolate and cedar notes leading to firm and persistent tannins to finish. Jam packed with everything needed to carry this wine for years."
CHEESE AND WINE
Whether served as a pre-seating appetizer, palate cleanser or in lieu of a final dessert course, a cheese plate presents an excellent opportunity for wine pairing, giving guests a chance to sip your best wines and find their perfect complements. Preparation is simple, giving you time to focus on main dishes. "Generally look for rich, not overly strong or aromatic wine-complementary cheese," suggests Nancy. "Cheese presents a place to showcase your finest wine." Great wines to pair with cheeses include the bright and balanced 2015 Ponzi Riesling (also available in an elegant magnum) and lush 2014 Ponzi Classico Pinot Noir. "If you're lucky enough to enjoy a fine Pinot noir (like the 2014 Ponzi Pinot Noir Reserve), go for a mellow, rind-washed triple cream."
This pairing is easy! Traditional holiday desserts tend to feature fruits and pie spice. Pumpkin and apple pies keep some of the original sweet-tart flavors even after baking. Pair them with lightly sweet dessert wine, like the 2016 Ponzi Vino Gelato. Just in case there's no room for dessert, this wine stands on its own, a sweet finish to a rich meal.
Have fun with your pairings and enjoy the conversations they may start. Happy Holidays!