BY SANDRA TAYLOR
Still deciding which wines to serve for holiday entertaining? Want to select a special bottle as a gift for party hosts or for the oenophile in your life? This season drink and shop sustainably!!
So many foods make up a holiday feast – whether it’s fish and seafood for an Italian–style Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes – or traditional holiday meals of baked turkey, honey-glazed ham, cranberry relish, sweet potatoes and black eye peas. Of course, no single wine – white or red—will pair well with all of these. With that in mind, here are my wine suggestions and food pairings for the end of year holidays.
These wines – all sustainably produced, biodynamic or organic – also make great gifts for hostesses and wine enthusiasts.
Louis Latour – Montagny 1er Cru La Grande Roche (chardonnay) 2015
J. Lohr Arroyo Vista Chardonnay 201 3which has pineapple, pear and stone fruit aromas and flavors with roasted coffee and vanilla notes.
Food matches for Chardonnay include:
- Japanese-style pork belly
- Roast chicken with honey-sesame carrots
- Sweet potatoes topped with ample butter
- Mashed potatoes with butter and cream
An oaked Chardonnay like Robert Mondavi Private Selection Central Coast Chardonnay 2015 pairs well with richer fish dishes, herbed pork rib roast and anything in a cream sauce. This is also highly recommended for a blue cheese, and can also harmonize with the blue vein (particularly in Stilton), while the oak brings out the creamy, nutty background.
Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc from South Africa can be served with
- Full flavored fish
- Ideal with crayfish, prawns
- Foie gras
- Pecans and cranberries
Chateau Ste Michelle Eroica Riesling 2011 from Washington State, a “New World” Riesling, gifted in minerality and stone fruit flavors, can handle everything from salty appetizers to a maple-y glaze on the turkey and varied spicy dishes. Its high acidity will balance all the richness, plus a touch of sweetness to go with the sweet potatoes and cranberry relish.
Grace Estate Winery Viognier 2015; Cooper Vineyards Viognier 2016, both from Virginia where Viognier is the official grape variety of the state. These have classic aromas of honeysuckle and peach with a citrusy finish and pairs well with creamy polenta, but complements mashed or sweet potatoes as well.
And for the Italian Seafood Feast I recommend one of these extraordinary white wines from Sicily, both organic, that pair wonderfully with seafood: COS Zibibbo 2016; or SP68 Bianco 2016 by Arianna Occhipinti, composed of two native Sicilian varietals, Albanello and Zibibbo.
Pinot Noir is a traditional favorite for the holidays. Its subtle earthy undertones and fruit features go well with the traditional flavors of turkey and stuffing. The wine’s intense cherry fruit layers nicely with the plummy sweetness of holiday flavors like cranberry, while the wine’s racy acidity and pillowy tannins enrich the intense spices of your dishes, such as a flavorful Smoky Glazed Ham with Red Pepper Jelly.
Try these Pinots:
- Erath Willamette Valley Estate Selection Pinot Noir 2014
- Adelsheim Vineyard Willamette Valley 2015
- Knudsen Vineyards Pinot Noir 2015
- Flowers Sonoma Coast 2015
- Seasmoke Southing 2015, Santa Barbara, California (biodynamic)
Rhone wines made from Syrah and GSM blends– Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre — will complement many meat recipes for the holidays like Spiced Coriander and Mustard-Crusted Rib Roast of Beef, or Maple Sugar-Ginger Roast Pork
- Hahn GSM Central Coast 2015, California
- Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas 2015, Paso Robles, California (Biodynamic)
- Domaine du Gour de Chaule Gigondas Cuvee Tradition 2013, France (organic)
- Delas Frères Haute Pierre Châteauneuf du Pape 2009, France
- Te Mata Bullnose, Syrah 2016, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
- Yalumba Galway Vintage Shiraz 2013 (Syrah grape), Barossa Valley, Australia
Other reds to serve for your holiday entertaining:
Bodega Colomé Estate Malbec Argentina (biodynamic)
Tenuta di Valgiano 30% Sangiovese, 30% Merlot, 30% Syrah and 10% local varieties, Tuscany, Italy (biodynamic) is a fine pairing for Spiced Leg of Lamb with Olives, Apricots and Lemons
Te Mata Coleraine 2015, New Zealand, 54% cabernet sauvignon, 36% merlot and 10% cabernet franc pair with Rosemary-Pepper Beef Rib Roast with Porcini Jus
Frogs Leap Zinfandel 2013 (organic) Napa Valley, California, or Southern Right Pinotage, South Africa will complement a meat dish with a bit of heat or spice rub.
Chateau Guiraud, Sauterne, France (organic), 65% Sémillon and 35% Sauvignon Blanc, this is a dessert wine, but also pairs well with Blue Cheese.
Taittinger Nocturne Sec, Champagne, France (organic), a change from dry champagne, half Chardonnay and the rest Pinot Noir and Meunier grapes, is fortified with 17 grams of cane sugar, making it smooth and creamy with raisin-y fruit syrup flavors.
SPARKLING WINES FOR NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATIONS
Simonnet-Febvre Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé, Burgundy, France
Champagne Fleury, Biodynamic, Champagne, France
Jacques Lassaigne Les Vignes De Montgueux Brut Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, France, 100% Chardonnay (Organic)
Berlucchi Franciacorta Cuvee Brut, Lombardy, Italy (Organic)
Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace, Blanc de Blancs 100% Pinot Blanc, Alsace, France (Organic).
N0 1 Family Estate Cuveé Virginie, 80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, New Zealand
Alma Negra Misterio Rosé sparkling wine, 100% Malbec, Argentina
Roderer Estate Brut Rosé, California
Domaine Carneros Brut or Blanc de Blancs, California (Organic)
Jansz Sparkling Wine, predominantly Pinot Noir with some Chardonnay, Tasmania, Australia