Before we get into the holiday wine pairing, I would like to apologize for not posting another blog earlier. Believe or not, I actually was on vacation and got to eat plenty of good food and drank my share of great wine. Now - back to the holidays, which are, by the way, just around the corner!
Thanksgiving pairing was easy, as the good, old "gooble, gooble" rules that festivity! This one, not so much. Every family, every different culture has their own approach; their own family dishes and with that a need for different wines to go with such dishes and traditions. Some people would say, don't worry about it, put a red and a white wine on the table, have some beer in the fridge and call it the day.
You all know - I can't do that! So, let me list some holiday favorites, some "not so" favorites and take the guess work out of it.
You got to admit, this is properly on most tables during the holidays. As most hams have some sort of a sweet coating, such as pineapple, syrup or honey, pairings can be tricky.
My favorite pick would be a German Riesling "Kabinett" from the Nahe or Mosel region. Its high acidity and minerality cut thru the sweetness and stand up to the smokiness and ham flavors.
If you prefer a red wine, try a Aussie Shiraz of good quality.
I grew up in Germany and eating goose for Christmas was the norm. Geese’s generally speaking, are very fatty by nature and full of delightful flavors.
Again, I would go white wine on this and while a dry style Riesling from Germany would work well, try an Alsatian Riesling or Pinot Gris instead. Another great white for the bigger "pocket book" would be a French white burgundy (chardonnay). Its barrel aged balanced flavors do really well here.
If you want to go red, go for a Spanish Tempranillo or a full bodied California Pinot Noir.
I don't want to sound like a broken record, but a high acidic, German Riesling would do best here. The duck is very fatty and therefore needs the high acidity to cut thru the fat and helps "tie" it all together and create balance. For the red wine lovers (like me - no really!), I would go Cabernet Franc from France (Chinon region) or a Syrah from the Cote du Rhone. If you don't like either, go full bodied California Pinot Noir. You won't be disappointed!
For this dish, I (no - not the Riesling this time!) would recommend an Italian Pinot Grigio from the Alto Adige region (please don't get that awful stuff called Santa Marg....! Thanks.
For the reds, go with a Chianti Classico!
Grilled Salmon: (I guess, not everybody eats meat)
I would recommend a fuller bodied California Chardonnay (but don't get that KJ butterball) from Napa Valley or a less oaked version from Santa Barbara. Even a nice Viognier (like the one from Darioush) would be great. Choose a Pinot Noir of medium body or a modern Spanish red blend with Monastrell.
If you have a different holiday favorites and like to know what wine goes best, let me know and I will add this to the blog.