Ever since a repentant Ebenezer Scrooge surprised Tiny Tim and the rest of the Cratchit family with a mammoth, succulent holiday goose, Christmas dinner has been the quintessential splurge of holiday meals.
Clearly we need the year’s best wines to go with it.
We have to match such sumptuous fare as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding (whatever that is), crown roast of lamb, honey-crusted, spiral-cut hams, oyster-stuffed turkey, whole roast suckling pig, massive slabs of salmon. Even vegans are trotting out their best roasted tofurkey — succulent, thyme-scented, tender.
This is the meal for which I purposefully walk down to the cellar to seek out that wonderful wine I’ve been saving all this time for this meal. The wine so good fans like to quip they couldn’t justify serving it unless they were entertaining royalty.
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Here are some likely food/wine pairings:
▪ Roast beef: powerful reds such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot.
▪ Lobster pot pie: super-rich whites such as California chardonnay.
▪ Roast goose: mellower reds like syrah, zinfandel.
▪ Roast salmon: light reds like pinot noir or hearty whites like a sauvignon blanc/semillon blend.
▪ Roast pig: light reds like cabernet franc or aromatic whites like gewürztraminer.
▪ Tofurky: light whites like pinot grigio, riesling.
▪ Beef brisket, for those who celebrate Hanukkah: kosher cabernet sauvignon.
And here are some excellent examples of the wines:
1. 2012 Edmeades Zinfandel, Shamrock Vineyard, Mendocino County (84 percent zinfandel, 16 percent syrah): deep red hue, aromas and flavors of black plums and herbs, rich and hearty, soft tannins; $31.
2. 2014 The Beach House Wines Sauvignon Blanc, Western Cape, South Africa (85 percent sauvignon blanc, 50 percent semillon): lush and rich, with aromas and flavors of ripe pineapple and citrus, hint of sweetness; $10.
3. 2013 Morgan Winery Riesling, “Double L Vineyard,” Santa Lucia Highlands: crisp and lightly sweet, aromas and flavors of ripe peaches, limes and minerals; $22.
4. 2012 Gary Farrell Vineyards Pinot Noir, Russian River Selection: crisp and lively, with aromas and flavors of tart cherries and spice, silky body, long finish; $45.
5. 2012 Barons de Rothschild Haut-Médoc Kosher red Bordeaux (cabernet sauvignon, merlot): aromas and flavors of cassis, black cherries and earth, rich and hearty, ripe tannins, kosher for Passover and mevushal; $35.
6. 2012 Arrowood Winery Chardonnay, Sonoma County: hint of toasty oak, rich and full-bodied, with flavors of butter, caramel and tropical fruit; $25.
7. 2011 Piña Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, “Buckeye Vineyard,” Howell Mountain, Napa Valley: rich and powerful, with complex aromas and flavors of black raspberries, bittersweet chocolate and earth, long, smooth finish; $85.
8. 2012 Vanderbilt Reserve Cabernet Franc, Dry Creek Valley: dark red color, hint of oak, aromas and flavors of black plums, thyme and espresso, long finish; $27.
9. 2014 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand: crisp and lively and fruity, with aromas and flavors of white grapefruit, melon and peaches; $18.
10. 2012 Horse Heaven Hills Merlot, by Columbia Crest, Washington State: aromas and flavors of black cherries, mocha and earth, medium body, smooth, ripe tannins; $15.
11. 2013 Santi Winery “Sortesele” Pinot Grigio delle Venezie IGT, Italy: crisp and lean, with aromas and flavors of green pears and tropical fruits; $16.