Thanksgiving has come and gone. Our sights are now set on Hanukkah and
Christmas, with New Year’s lurking in the background.

It’s holiday season boys and girls…one of the busiest, most enjoyable
and sometimes stressful times of the year. We all have a lot on our
minds and your favorite wine columnist is no different. So, with that
in mind, here are some miscellaneous sips (and thoughts) for the season.

Drink sparkling wine for Christmas and/or Hanukkah.
Everyone drinks
bubbly for New Year’s, but the fizzy stuff is a great way to celebrate
any occasion. Plus, with racy acidity and freshness, it’s great with a
wide range of foods. Drink Lieb Family Cellars’ Blanc de Blanc with
appetizers and then move on to bottles of Wolffer Estate or The Old
bubbly with dinner.

Drink it again on New Year’s Eve. Drink it just because there’s no
better way to ring in the New Year. My choice: Lenz Winery 1991 Cuvee
RD, the boldest and most interesting local sparkler.

Don’t depend on “expert” lists for wine pairing. Every year wine and
food magazines bombard us with lists of “perfect” matches for
Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner – both of which usually involve a
vast array of menu items. Use these lists only as a guide. It’s nearly
impossible to find a wine that goes with everything on your holiday
table. Try a variety of wines with your celebratory meals and see what
you like best. That’s the best way to go.

Take wine every where you go.
No matter what holiday party you’re
attending, wine is always a welcome gift, especially a local wine.
Sadly, most people have little experience with Long Island wine, so
take the opportunity to introduce them. Plus, if you take a bottle you
know you like (always a good idea) you can tell your host, “Hey, let’s
open this bottle and see if you like it.” This will also rescue you
from drinking the plonk served at many parties.

Let’s welcome Leucadia National Corporation to our backyard.
probably heard that Napa’s Pine Ridge Winery bought Broadfields Cellars
and Charles John Vineyard, but Pine Ridge is just another of Leucadia’s
holdings. Regardless, their presence here just proves the promise our
region holds. They could have bought a vineyard anywhere in the world,
but chose the North Fork.

Diliberto Winery 2003 Chardonnay is worth seeking out.
You probably
won’t find it in your local wine shop, but Sal Diliberto’s elegant,
Burgundian-style Chardonnay offers deliciously balanced acidity layered
with citrus, butterscotch and toasted almond flavors. It is a real
charmer. Call 722-3416 or email Sal directly to

Instead of a lump coal, give California chardonnay. We all have people in our lives who have been bad boys and girls, but you can’t hand out lumps of coal to adults (can you?). Instead, buy some excessively manipulated Chardonnay from our friends on the West Coast. Tasting like butter smeared on a two by four, having to drink it is punishment enough. At least I think so. (NOTE: This item was pulled from the printed version, but I’m putting it back in for publication here)

(This column appeared in the 12/2 issue of Dan’s Papers )