Approaching the holiday meals heavy in calories and family drama? Wondering what to drink to keep your mouth happy, your equilibrium balanced, and your relationships intact?

I’d suggest waking up your palate before tucking into your food. A glass of Prosecco or Champagne might replace the eggnog (mix that with bourbon, vanilla ice cream and a dash of nutmeg if you’re tied to eggnog). Alternatively, a pour of nice white Burgundy or Sauvignon Blanc will help your mouth get ready for the onslaught. If you’re starting the meal with some of our local shellfish — some friends start with a family raw bar — that bottle of Prosecco or Champagne will work nicely; otherwise try a Chablis.

While staring at your relatives across the festive table, I’d suggest filling your glass with mid-weight wines that can take you through the meal. If you are inclined to white wine, you might open a California Chardonnay or an Australian Semillon or Riesling. A nice Spanish Rioja, an Italian Sangiovese or a Pinot Noir from our west coast will keep red drinkers happy.

After dinner, staring at dessert, you might want something to cleanse your mouth. I’d advise staying away from sweet wines (gonna be enough sugar in your fruit tart) and letting a glass of Italian grappa jolt your taste buds awake. Then get into the kitchen and deal with that pile of dishes.
 


Jim Malkin lives in Chilmark and drinks wine with dinner, feast or not.