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Cookie swap season is weeks away—let’s try something different this year, shall we?
First of all, put that bottle of Chardonnay down and don’t even think of bringing it to your best friend’s cookie swap unless you’re planning on drowning people in butter. Put that bottle of chocolate wine down, too. And don’t even think of that “novelty” blueberry wine you heard about.
1. Prosecco: An Italian staple often used as a substitute for champagne or other sparkling wines, this relatively low cost, the drier-the-better wineis designed to drink young, and it actually loses its fizzle over time while waiting its turn to be consumed. Pop open a bottle of spumante (bubbly) or frizzante (semi-bubbly), served chilled, for your straight-forward, no nonsense butter- and sugar cookies. If you’ve added chocolate chips or candy to your sugar cookie recipe, skip it.
Did you know? The Glera grape, which is used to produce Prosecco wine, is best suited to be fermented in a pressurized stainless steel tank, and is mixed with yeast and sugar to producealcohol and the characteristic carbon dioxide bubbles. Once alcohol and bubbles are present, the yeast is filtered and removed, and the sparkling wine bottled. This method is called the Charmat method, and is less expensive than the traditional method of fermentation and carbon dioxide production in bottles.
2. Madeira: A Portuguese wine produced on the Madeira islands, sold in four different styles and aged for a minimum of five years, pour this wine alongside nutty or oatmeal-based cookies.
Did you know? Madeira wines are made by heating the wine, which is placed in staleness steel vats and heated by 115 degree water for not less than three months, and then allowed to “rest” for at least 90 days. Because of the way this wine is made, it remains very palatable long after the bottle has first been opened.
3. Banyuls: A French wine from grapes grown on the French side of the Pyrenees mountains, you may be unfamiliar with Banyuls, but trust us when we say this red wine is the perfect pairing for just about every cookie you can think of. It’s delicious with chocolate as well as peanut butter cookies.
Did you know? Banyuls is produced using the mutage technique. In this technique, alcohol is added to the pressed grapes (“must”) so that fermentation is prematurely halted. The alcohol is added either before maceration of the grape skin into the must, or after maceration and pressing of the must.
4. Riesling: Made from a grape that originated in Germany’s Rhine region, the Riesling grape is grown not only in Europe, but also Asia, Australia/New Zealand and the United States. Think of spice cookies for the perfect pairing.
Did you know? Riesling grapes are very terroir-expressive, meaning the character of Riesling wine is very much tied to where the grapes have been grown. For example, Rieslings grown in cooler-climates tend to have an apple-ly quality, whereas those grown in warmer climates tend to take on a peachy or citrusy taste.
5. Moscato D’Asti: Another Italian-produced sparkling wine named for its earthy musk aroma, it is low in alcohol content and sweet. Time to whip out your favorite jammy cookies, such as a jam thumbprint or a Linzer cookie.
Did you know? This sparkling wine is made with Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains grapes, and is often used as a blending grape. This is the wine that Piedmont region Italian winemakers made for their own consumption, and when made in the frissante style, could be enjoyed with the noon meal and because of its low alcohol content, would not impair the winemaker or his workers.