Choosing the Perfect Wine with WS New York Wine Director Dave Lofstrom
In the midst of holiday shopping and at a loss for what to buy a dear friend or family member? One gift that rarely disappoints is a good bottle of wine. Red, white or bubbly, wine's appeal is nearly universal. Yet how to pick that perfect bottle? For astute answers to this question, The Related Life turned to WS New York Wine Director Dave Lofstrom.
WS New York, the exclusive wine and spirits club situated at 37 Hudson Yards, is a one-of-its-kind food and wine private membership club helmed by the beloved Wine Spectator lifestyle brand. Designed by David Rockwell using the most luxuriant woods, stone and leather finishes, the club evokes a deep sense of warmth. From its many fireplace-bedecked lounges and dining rooms, opulence exudes.
Recently, WS New York opened Tavern by WS, an American bistro on the ground level of 37 Hudson Yards that intends to introduce a larger audience to the dynamic characteristics and profiles of wine. To that aim, Tavern holds one of the largest wine-by-the-glass lists in the country. And it was designed to the same breathtaking aesthetic standards, under the stewardship of Rockwell Group. You won't be disappointed when dropping by during your next Hudson Yards visit.
Keep reading for helpful wine buying tips from one of the foremost experts in the the industry.
The Related Life: What are 2-3 wine buying tips that you can provide when shopping for wine as a gift for someone else? What about for buying a celebratory or special occasion wine?
Dave Lofstrom: Peruse your giftee’s social media accounts, if you’re on those things. Many people love posting about wine that they drink and buy. This can give you a good indication of what they are into or a specific bottle you can buy.
Finding a wine with a great story is often a more memorable gift than an excessively expensive wine. If you can give the giftee some texture on the wine or region or relate a cool story, it’ll make the wine feel much more special than simply spending a bunch of money.
If your giftee has a signature dish or a cuisine they enjoy cooking/eating, grab a bottle that is local to that cuisine’s region. In the wine world, typically, what grows together goes together. This requires a little extra thought and that will show.
What are 4-5 great options for wines that will pair well with holiday meals, which can often be a bit heavy or rich?
Dave Lofstrom: Pairing wine with rich foods can be tricky. You want to match the intensity of the food. A delicate wine will be overwhelmed by bold and rich flavors. With that in mind, here are some suggestions:
Champagne/Sparkling wine at large – Its striking minerality and freshness will act as a foil and balance the richness of heavy meals.
Syrah (especially from the Northern Rhône) – Syrah is awesome. Syrah is also an awesome food wine. Great examples of this grape show power and structure, which stand up to bold foods/dishes. These wines also have great freshness that helps balance rich flavors and keeps you coming back for another sip. The aromas and flavors of dark fruits, herbs, earth, and spice are a perfect match to the flavors of autumn/winter.
Nebbiolo – This is the grape of Barolo and Barbaresco (and the royal grape of the Piedmont in general). Nebbiolo is boldly flavored and structured, standing up to rich foods. It is also a grape with a myriad of aromas and flavors that match autumn and winter produce and cuisine.
White Bordeaux – For many people, Sancerre and New Zealand are the go-to regions for Sauvignon Blanc and white wines from Bordeaux are not considered hip or trendy. That said, White Bordeaux is delicious. These wines combine the zesty fresh flavors of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon with creamy texture and spiced flavors from French oak. White wines from Bordeaux have the power to stand up to big, bold dishes, but still have a crisp character that keeps rich flavors in balance.
Could you please give our readers 2-3 suggestions for wine and food pairings that are ideal entertaining or hors d'oeuvre style foods?
1.) Raw bar and Champagne. You will be a hero. Trust me.
2.) Charcuterie/salty pork products and off-dry Riesling. The wine's fruitiness will balance the saltiness of the charcuterie. Off-dry Riesling is also typically under 10% ABV, so you won’t wreck your palate or liver before dinner.
3.) Deviled eggs and Chardonnay. Eggs, mayo, mustard, and a creamy, unctuous texture with Chardonnay – it all works together. You also get the bonus of sticking it to anyone who makes the blanket statement that they don’t like Chardonnay.
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