We can easily say this Christmas, and holiday season as a whole is unlike anything we have ever experienced. But hopefully, you are still toasting with your closest loved ones, enjoying a nice holiday dinner, and opening a great bottle. But, what to choose?
While Thanksgiving is all about pairing with the turkey, Christmas and the holidays are the time for slow-roasted prime rib or roasted lamb or grilled ribeye, it’s a meaty holiday. And, nothing is better than the Bordeaux varieties to pair with meat. This morning I will join KXAS-TV/NBC DFW with a few ideas to put the cherry on top of your holiday meal. Details on the wines I shared, and many more, are below. I will have a link posted shortly. #Cheers
The nice thing is, you can find a variety of options available at every price point, particularly if you go to the home of Cabernet, Bordeaux, France.
There are 5600 winegrowers across the 65 appellations of Bordeaux, with many Chateaux being family-owned and passed down over multiple generations. From highly affordable Cotes de Castillon and Cadillac, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon dominant wines, like those from Chateau Robin and Chateau Ampelia, wines deliver Old World character, with an approachable, everyday go-to style.
Or, consider something a little more mid-range, filled with violets and juicy plum, Cabernet Franc dominant St. Emilion Grand Cru Chateau Lassegue. If you are celebrating and looking for that ultra-special wine, go high end, first growth Chateaux Margaux or Chateau Lafite. The nice thing is that the extensive selection of wines of Bordeaux offers enough options for any occasion, and are perfect holiday pairings, especially with braised short ribs, grilled venison, and game, or roasted lamb.
Bordeaux generally tends to be a little earthier, lower alcohol, and less fruit-forward than some American options, so for pairing with your grilled ribeye or porterhouse, and a juicy prime rib, head straight to California for bold, rich, textured Cabernet Sauvignon.
Napa’s Stags Leap District is known for their unique mix of soils that add a mineral core to their bold, well-rounded, concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon, like those from Lindstrom, Shafer, and Pine Ridge, each ideal for pairing with grilled rib-eye or porterhouse steaks.
From 14 select vineyard blocks on their rocky and volcanic soil-filled estate, Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon ($300) melds red fruits with star anise, toasted cedar, and wildflower with a lush texture, and velvety tannins. Pine Ridge Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon ($140) is concentrated and powerful, with black fruits layered with roasted espresso, dark chocolate, and black licorice. Silverado Vineyards “SOLO” Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon ($125) dates back to 1968, the fourth vineyard planted in the region, and planted with its own Disney-Heritage clone Cabernet Sauvignon. Its district character reveals black fruit, black tea, leather, and roasted espresso, showing both power and restraint, and beautiful Stags Leap character.
For pairing with slow-roasted prime rib or crown roast, the benchlands of Rutherford and the valley floor of St. Helena provide well-rounded, voluptuous selections, that meld richness, with structure and concentration, delivering wines with character. Sullivan Vineyards in Napa’s Rutherford has a distinct dusty earthiness in their powerful Cabernet Sauvignon ($110) revealing a bold, intense wine layered with ripe black cherry, berry, and plum, with dried herb and spice, ideal with the marbled beef. St. Helena’s Spottswoode Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($225) reveals a brighter note in their 100% organically grown fruit producing a wine with incredible energy, filled with a freshness that melds with ripe fruit flavors of cherry, wild berries, cedar, soft herbs, and cocoa nib.
Blending fruit from the volcanic soils of the mountains of Napa, Cardinale ($325) showcases an iron-rich earthiness, melding with toasted spice, dark fruits, and espresso, delivering a bold yet beautifully balanced wine, perfect for pairing with elevated Beef Wellington, or roasted beef tenderloin. Sister winery, La Jota Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon ($150) on Howell Mountain, showcase the mountain with a mineral-rich core to the blackberry, black pepper, ripe cherry, and woody herb-filled wine, with bold tannins, pairing with hearty stews.
Highly approachable and enjoyable on its own, or with dinner, i.e. this is the wine to enjoy while prepping or the big meal, from Alexander Valley, Sebastiani Vineyards has been producing Cabernet Sauvignon dominant wines since 1904, with extensive efforts recently to take the winery into a modern era with sustainability at its heart. Their Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is juicy and fresh, with red fruits, baking spice, toasted vanilla, and black tea. The Sebastiani Old Vine Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon toasts their heritage, with a concentrated, complex offering layering black tea, black cherry, and toasted spice.
Paul Hobbs Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon ($45) is juicy and fresh, with red fruits like cherry, pomegranate, and plum, melded with a note of earthiness and crushed stone, rounding out the youthful wine.