Cork Dorks Anonymous – Holiday Wines and Fine Dining
By Kris Margerum
For me the winter holidays are a chance to reconnect with family and friends. It is also a chance to share good wines. This time of year is a great time to open those special occasion bottles you have been saving. Here are a few of my favorite holiday pairings.
Champagne and a Party. It’s a party! Bubbles really help set a festive tone. You can find Sparkling Wine at a wide range of price points. If you are on a tight budget, pick up a Prosecco from Italy (Villa Sandi) or a Cava from Spain (Avinyo). For a quality local wine, how about Schramsberg Brut Rosé? A couple of my favorite Champagne producers are Pommery and Veuve Clicquot. Both have a more elegant style and are very consistent. I also recommend some of the smaller “Grower Champagne” houses such as Pierre Moncuit or Egly Ouriet.
Crab and Riesling. Here in Northern California we get to enjoy fresh, local Dungeness crab this time of year. I enjoy German Riesling with fresh crab. I recommend something either in a dry style such as the Kellertrocken from the Rheingau or an off dry style such as J.J., Prüm-kabilett from the Mosel.
Turkey and Pinot Noir. For turkey I prefer a little bit lighter style Pinot Noir. The Russian River Valley is a good place to start. Wesmar is a producer known for a lighter style Pinot. Other ideas are Pinot Noirs from Marlborough-New Zealand (Cloudy Bay) or Yarra Valley Australia (Yering Station). If you are going for a Burgundy think Chambolle Musigny (Dujac) or a Sauvigny-les Beaune (Bruno Clair) for something that will not overpower turkey.
Rib Roast and Cabernet Sauvignon. In my family we traditionally cook a rib roast as well as a Yorkshire pudding. For this I like to share one of the great Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons. Over the years we have enjoyed a number of different producers including Robert Mondavi “Reserve,” Quintessa, Heitz “Martha’s Vineyard,” Caymus “Special Selection” and Araujo “Eisele.” If you have been holding onto something like this, now is a great time to share it with you and yours.