Its that time again for celebrating the Holiday with family and friends.
Growing up in a home with a Mom who worked in a winery and was the best cook I knew....I realized this is what I wanted to explore.
I am often asked as a Chef what wines pair well with alternative courses (other than a big, thick cut steak/Cabernet combo) being served at events and parties. What is a great wine to start off with for appetizers, Lamb Chops or a dish with lots of dark, leafy greens? These are just some examples.
Here are my suggestions for wine pairing during the holiday season:
Starters : Something light and crisp, Sparkling Brut and/or Rose, Cava or Prosecco. Pairs with : Cashew Herb Cheese dips, Cooked & Chilled Shrimp with Horseradish cocktail sauce, Spinach Mushroom Brie Puffs, Crispy Prosciutto wrapped Brussels Sprouts. The Sparkling wine will not only cut through the richness of the cheeses, it will open up you palate for the next course
Having Pork, Lamb, Cedar Plank Salmon, Dark Leafy Greens?
Mild, Light in body, full flavored reds that go perfectly with these courses. Pinot Noir, Gamay (Beaujolais), Frappato. Three varietals filled with spice, dried fruits, fresh herbs and ash. Big, bold reds are too astringent for these dishes and will overpower them.
Enjoying foods with Truffles, Chantrelles, Miso? Pinot Noir also lends well to earthy dishes.
Hearty Italian, Rich in tomato :
Tomatoes are acidic, so they taste better with a acidic wine. Known as one of the more food-friendly wines, Chianti made from the Sangiovese grape,is herbal, very dry, with high acidity.This vino matches perfectly with your Mamas Lasagna, Braciole or Pizza Pie!
Winelab @ The Camp in Costa Mesa is my recommendation for your wine needs. Whether it be your everyday wine, gifts, hosting an event they have a wide variety (with over 400 wines in stock), competitive pricing (offer over 160 bottles under $20), have events with Winemakers and Distributors happy to teach you something new and have an incredibly knowledgeable staff (with 5 Somms and counting!) to guide you in your search. Maybe I'm a little partial to the place since I work there in addition to being a Chef, definitely worth the trip! Check it out at Winelab.net
Chef Sarah Guiles