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Have fun with wines: How to create a unique and entertaining Christmas wine list?

The holiday season in Croatia starts with codfish. Just a smell of codfish spread or baked with potatoes, reminds us on Christmas. Also, on the table, often you’ll find poultry, like duck or turkey, suckling pig and lamb.

It could get pretty tricky when deciding which wines to put on the table, to enhance the flavors of the food and make the holiday meals even more enjoyable. In order to make your wine selection unique and surprising, there are some rules to be followed and some to be broken.

We selected wines from our webshop that are perfect for the occasion, whether you are visiting your friends and family and need to bring a present or you’re the organizer of the lunch or dinner. You’ll see how easily people get intrigued by wines from the Balkan region and how they could easily become the center of your party.

The most common aperitif is a dry sparkling, but we dare you to challenge the course

It is the first wine to greet your guests and it should pair nicely with all sorts of appetizers before you bring out the main dish. Sparkling wine is a great option, as it also serves as a digestive to make your guests even more hungry than they were.

To bring a bit more excitement to the holiday gatherings, try opening a refreshing white that can do the same.

Pušipel from the Međimurje County can easily become a great conversation starter. It is actually Furmint in the bottle. You may have heard about the grape very popular in Hungary. Here, in the cooler and continental part of Croatia, it also gives amazing results and this is the only region in Croatia where it gives this kind of results. Crisp and refreshing, with lower alcohol levels, it is a bullseye pick for a start. You don’t want to overwhelm your palate at the beginning.

Structured whites following the sea fish meals

The more structure in a dish, the more structure you are looking for in a wine. If you will serve baked white fish like blacksmith, buckwheat, dagger, broom, arbun or even squid from an oven, try a Burgundian style of Chardonnay but from Istria - Domaine Koquelicot Belaigra 2017. A blend of grapes grown on two types of soil in Istria: red, giving the firmness and structure form the iron-rich type of soil, and white, for more elegance and purity in wine.

If you want to make your choice more interesting and maybe lift a brow or two at the table, consider rose. 

Of course, you are familiar with the fact that a serious rose can last more than one summer, so you can introduce your friends to that fact. In some roses, you can find more structure than in some white wines and they shouldn’t be disqualified just by their color.

A rose is a match made in heaven if you are grilling the fish. But, even if you are not, the delicate flavors of fish look for a company like this. Erdevik Rosa Nostra, this years’ Decanter Silver Award winner, is made from very serious grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

The winery is located in Serbia’s Fruška Gora, one of the most recognizable wine growing area, and its wine will help remove doubt even in the toughest skeptics when it comes to the rose.

Bringing out the big guns – main dish

We dare you to stay with whites here, as they are an amazing companion to food. Since the festive occasions usually mean a several course lunch or dinner that lasts for hours, it seems that with the right white wine, both you and your guests will feel more light, focused and easier to proceed with further tasting and enjoying the food.

For this occasion, Benvenutti Anno Domini is a marvelous, absolutely stunning wine to open with family and friends. We take you back to Istria, the most famous wine region in Croatia and their signature grape variety – Malvasia Istriana. Anno Domini is a full-bodied deliciousness full of minerality, aromas, and flavors to pair with the main dish.

It is a special type of wine, not made in large quantities and very hard to get (like most of the wines from Balkan region, right?) so it can make a pretty special Christmas gift. The winery has received numerous international awards from some of the most recognized competitions, like Decanter and the International Wine Awards and has been awarded as the best winery in Croatia for the year 2017. 

Gift as good as it gets, maybe even if you want to treat yourself these holidays. 😊

Anno Domini can easily accompany suckling pig or any other type of meat dishes like roasted turkey and duck.

Calling for a red wine – veal, game, beef best companion

We know there are some of you that prefer red wines, and you probably couldn’t wait for this part of the meal to come. Reds can follow seafood like tuna spreads, tuna steaks, oven-baked octopus or stuffed squids too.

If you want to challenge your friends who know something about wines from the region, probably, the first one that comes to mind is Plavac Mali, the most sought-after wine when it comes to the red.

However, try Ante Sladić Plavina, especially with the seafood mentioned above.

Plavina is capable to hold the freshness, making it the more medium-bodied to a lighter style of red wine.

Growing in Plastovo, one of the most amazing micro-climate positions where the continental influence meets the Adriatic, this is a wine that delivers uniqueness to the table.

The label of the Ante Sladić winery tells a story on its own, so watch your guests how they analyze it.

Edi Simčić Duet Lex 2012 is a Bordeaux blend from Gorizia Hills in Slovenia. This wine represents careful grape selection in the vineyards, 14 days of maceration and then further ageing in new oak barrels.

Potent red with muscles everywhere; it can be a part of a wine collection with at least 15 years ahead. Nothing says Christmas like a Bordeaux blend, right?

For big events and surprises, like Christmas gifts for the ones you really love - we also have a magnum bottle here.

Yes, sweet wines are great with the dessert, but now you need something different

At this point, the gathering has already lasted a while, you had plenty of amazing food and are probably feeling a surfeit. Most of us are and when the dessert part of the dinner comes, we can’t even look at it.

First and foremost, rest a while. Desserts shouldn’t be served right after several courses of homemade meals that are always double the portion that we would normally have in a restaurant. Instead of a sweet wine, choose a sparkling! It will lift you and your guests, help you digest all that you already consumed and can be a great palate cleanser for the dessert. They can complement not too sweet desserts even better than a sweet wine, and, what is more important, help keep your guests awake.

We would suggest a more complex sparkling wine, made by method traditionale - Movia Puro is as delicious as it gets. It can be a dessert on its own. Luscious, creamy; this is a bottle that isn’t disgorged so you can amuse your guests with doing it on their own.

Whatever you choose in the following days, remember that it’s all about friends and family getting together. There are no wrong picks if you choose to buy wines from www.thewineandmore.com We carefully select the wineries, many of them small and family-owned that will surely please your guests.

Are you still unsure what type of wine to give? No problem, maybe the most personalized gift this Christmas is to let your loved ones decide what wines would they like to try. It very easy if you choose a Wine Gift Voucher!

Happy holidays!

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