This morning I joined KXAS/NBC DFW once again for a toast to the holidays with a few great suggestions to please anyone joining you in celebration. As friends and family gather, this holiday season, tables will be filled with everything from beef to game to pig to bird, and every traditional family accompanying dish on the side. I love the month of December, as it is a time for so many to come together, in big groups or small, to toast the year that was and get ready for the year ahead.
If you feast on seven fishes, or indulge in perfectly seared lamb chops or roasted tenderloin, turkey or ham, one of these wines will please any around your table. Below are notes on the wines we discussed today, as well as a few more favorites fit for your celebration. A link to the segment is here.
I love to start any occasion, even a random Tuesday night, with bubbles and the new sparkler from Winemaker Rollin Soles of ROCO Wines is a good reason why. The former Winemaker for Argyle Winery in Willamette, and Fort Worth, TX native, knows a thing or two about making premium traditional method sparklers. His many years at Argyle helped with that, but this is his first release under ROCO, the winery he began a handful of years ago in 2001 with his wife, Corby Stonebraker-Soles. The new wine, ROCO RMS 2013 Spring Disgorgement Sparkling Wine is produced from three different Willamette Valley vineyards, blending two-thirds Pinot Noir and a third Chardonnay. Very fresh, with floral aromas and yeasty bread notes, with layers of tart citrus, crisp apple and pear. $65, available at Pogo’s and Veritas.
A white wine option is always great, even with hearty red wine dishes. I do like a richer, rounder, more medium to full bodied white wine in the winter time, often enhanced by a bit of oak aging. I am not a huge fan of oak if it is not managed well, but when it is used smartly, beautiful wines emerge.
Rhone variety white wines, including wines made from Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne offer floral aromatics and stone fruit notes, with layers of honeysuckle, white peach, apricot and just a hint of citrus.
Treana Blanc from Hope Family Wines in Paso Robles. Made from vineyards throughout Central Coast the wine has an additional layer of acidity from the cooling winds off the Pacific, with the fruit, floral notes and the spice inherent to the varieties, to create a very food friendly wine. $30, available at Spec’s.
From Napa Valley’s Inglenook Winery, Blancaneaux blends estate-grown Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier from 6.5 acres of white grapes grown on the historic property, best known for one of my favorites, Rubicon. Perfumed with floral and citrus blossom aromatics, the rich, textured wine layers stone fruit and ripe tropical fruit with spice and crisp minerality. A special wine. $65, via their website.
Red wine is usually king at the Christmas table, especially if beef is on your menu. But, high acid wines, like a stellar Barbera or a juicy Sangiovese, or ripe Grenache, Xinomavro and my old favorite, Pinot Noir, will always pair with any fish or seafood dish you may enjoy as well. Not eating a lot of beef myself, I will drink a Barolo with white fish and call it a day. It may not be the best pairing, but if the wine is good and you like it, that is all that matters.
But, for your lamb, Merlot, Tannat and Malbec are all exceptional options. Merlot being the softest of the three, with the Tannat and Malbec, even Xinomavro, adding the earthiness to match with the gaminess of the dish.
Tannat can be rather bold, intense and tannic. However, over the past few days sipping the Tannat wines of Bodega Garzon proves why Uruguay is making this the national red wine vareity of the country. Though the structure and power are there, the wines are finessed with a delicate and refined touch to make them approachable, while maintaining their power. $18, at Spec’s.
For Cabernet lovers, I am such a huge fan of Howell Mountain Cabernet from Napa Valley. The historic La Jota Winery, dating back to pre-prohibition days, produces some of the best from winemaker Chris Carpenter. Though bold and masculine, there is an earthy elegance in its rustic nature with anise, tobacco and dark chocolate notes. $95, available via their website.
For the wine to impress this year, KATA Cabernet Sauvignon, the new project from vintner David Beckstoffer will please anyone (especially yourself if you are still looking for your own holiday gift.) From the heritage Beckstoffer Bourn Vineyard in St. Helena, the wine is concentrated, structured, very powerful and focused. These are wines to age or enjoy after a bit of decanting with one of your favorite cuts of beef. And, they were also our fantastic wine partner for our recent Dallas Uncorked Harvest Dinner.
A wine that deserves a celebration!
This year marks the 300th anniversary for the Chianti Classico region of Italy, and to celebrate the region it only seems fitting to toast with a winer from one of the oldest wineries in the region, Antinori, still owned and led by the 26th generation of the family, starting their wine business in 1385. Villa Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva layers floral violet and herb notes with blackberry, tobaaco and spice. $40 at Spec’s.
From the Toro region in northern Spain, Termes from Numanthia Winery, a Grandes Pagos de Espana winery. Bold, full-bodied and dense, with structure, concentration and complexity from well draining, rock filled vineyards. But, in this powerful wine there is also a freshness and delicate touch, both from the age of the vines, as the Termes is produced from the younger vineyards on the property, and the skillful hands of the winemakers. Beautiful, rich and delicious. $40 at Spec’s.