Grape to Table

holiday wine

Champagne 101: Up Your Bubbly Game

french wine, holiday wine, sparkling wine, wine schoolSarah O'KelleyComment

Okay it’s the one week of the year when I can talk Champagne for days on end – hallelujah! And I know the issue with Champagne beyond this week is that it’s pricey. And you need a primer to read the labels!

 Well, what if I told you that the price is mostly related to the complex process behind this flashy bubbly. And this complex process indeed adds complexity to the wine! So, yes, it’s worth the splurge!

Cheese Board Tips for Holiday Entertaining

food and wine, holiday wineSarah O'KelleyComment

If you follow my Instagram feed you have probably noticed my cheese addiction! I came by this quite naturally as my family always set out cheese plates before dinner (and this was in the 1980s when such things were definitely NOT common place!) Of course, back then it was exotic to serve Maytag blue cheese with guava jam and saltine crackers! Honestly, it’s only in the last 15 years that more truly artisanal cheeses have become commonly available in mid-size American towns (not everywhere has New York City caliber cheese shops!) And it is only in the past five years that there seems to be a significant rise in small creameries in the southeastern United States that are inspired by classic European cheese-makers.

So I consider myself lucky to know Eric Casella and Nora Granger, proprietors of Counter Cheese Caves, a Charleston, South Carolina based business focusing largely on these incredible Southern creameries. Eric and Nora worked in some of the top cheese shops in New York City before moving to Charleston a few years ago. Now they sell to many of the best restaurants in the city and just started their online shop that can ship around the country! (The deadline for ordering for Christmas shipping is Wednesday, December 19, at 9 a.m.)

Consequently, this seems a perfect time to ask their advice on cheese boards for the holidays! I cannot imagine a festive occasion without this decadent start so let’s dig into their pro tips!

Thanksgiving Wine Tips

wine pairing, holiday wineSarah O'KelleyComment

Happy Thanksgiving week!

This is definitely the best time of the year for my job – chatting about wine AND food all the time. Really, helping folks with pairings is the ultimate for me as it brings together my two passions – cooking and wine.

The most asked question is: “What will you be drinking on Thanksgiving?” Above is a lineup of what I am considering, but believe it or not, I still have not fully decided. However, I will definitely be following the handy tips below.