Appetizers and Antipasti from 15 Wines Fit for Holiday Feasting Slideshow
15 Wines Fit for Holiday Feasting Slideshow
Appetizers and Antipasti
Bubbly is always a good way to start the meal, and Sonoma's J Brut Rosé NV (about $28) has enough body, intense fruit flavors, and hints of savory herbs in the finish to go with everything from pepperoni to spring rolls.
Mussels and Other Shellfish
Unless you're adding spicy tomato sauce to the mix — a game changer — the Banfi Centine Toscano Bianco 2010 ($11) is perfect with mussels, crabs, and shrimp. A blend of chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and pinot grigio, this white has the crisp minerality, hints of chalkiness, and touch of floral aromas to crawl along with these succulent little crustaceans.
Cod and Other Mild Fish
Robaliño Rias Baixas Albariño 2010 ($17) has a touch of gaminess to go along with its soft, herbal flavors, which adds some complexity to the match without overpowering the flavors of the flaky fillets.
Salmon needs something red, but not overpowering, and the Ceretto Monsordo Langhe 2008 ($32) blend presents the gentler side of Piemonte reds, with tastes of mulberry fruit with a chocolate cakiness, yet relatively mild acidity and tannins.
Spicy Asian Dishes
Sweet wines with good acidity help offset the heat of spicy Asian fare, and regional sauternes such as the creamy Château Climens Barsac 2004 ($75), with its honeyed flavors and great length on the palate, are a much better pairing than rieslings.
Lasagna and Red-Sauce Pasta Dishes
Red pasta with cheeses demands a combination of plump fruitiness and moderate tannins. The Estancia Keyes Canyon Paso Robles Zinfandel 2009 ($13) has both, with a nice hint of smoke in the finish.
Sautéed and Baked Vegetables
Most vegetables have flavor elements that can go with either a white or red, but the Macari Rosé 2010 ($15) from the North Fork of Long Island, matches almost any veggie combo with its complex flavors — crisp cereal grains; touches of brioche; and spicy, dried cherries. (It also goes great with baked ham).
Roasted Chicken and Cornish Hens
The mix of varieties is familiar — chardonnay and sauvignon blanc — but this wine comes from Gascony, where all the grapes once went into armagnac. The Tariquet Côté 2010 ($10) blends the green herbal flavors and aromas of the sauvignon with the creaminess of chardonnay.
Duck is the national dish of Bordeaux, and this blend of malbec, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and syrah from Mendoza, Argentina, Clos de los Siete ($18), has the dark cherry flavors, light but raspy tannins, and hints of dark chocolate to make any rare-meat bird go quack.
Turkey and Game Fowl
Pennsylvania's Va La La Prima Donna ($35), a blend of tocai, malvasia, petit manseng, pinot grigio, and viognier, is so delicious you may be tempted to drink it before the turkey hits the table. Full-bodied with floral aromas, it is complex, perfectly dry, and full of ripe fruits and spices — somewhat like a super-gewrztraminer.
Turkey Leg Confit
Instead of pinot noir to match the dark meat of turkey legs (either standard roast or confit), try the Georges Duboeuf Moulin-à-Vent 2009 ($18), with its mature cherry and black raspberry tastes along with a touch of oakiness and some savory notes.
Fillet of Beef
I'm always reaching for a lean, old Bordeaux for rare beef, but a fresher alternative is the Sequoia Grove Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 ($38). The wine has a full body, yet lovely, velvety, mature blackberry fruit with nicely interwoven oak flavors.
Nals Margreid Alto Adige Lagrein 2009 ($14) has many characteristics of a lean cabernet sauvignon, but adds to cab's dark fruitiness with hints of gaminess and a tart, citrusy finish that works well with a venison steak or stew.
Cheeses and Roasted Nuts
Port is a great dessert wine by itself (and perhaps a cigar), but why wait? Instead, fix a cheese course with Stilton, creamy goat cheeses, and aged cows' milk yellows. Just add a glass of Quinta dos Murças 10 Anos, with its lean, lightly spicy, maple syrup and elderberry flavors.
Pies, Fruit Tarts, and Other Baked Desserts
OK, here's your riesling. A good pie wine should have fruitiness to match the intense flavors of apples or cherries, yet enough acidity to keep your palate happy. The Pacific Rim Vin de Glacière Columbia Valley Riesling 2007 ($17 for a half bottle) certainly fits the bill.