We’ve wrapped up an exciting, promising harvest – now, as we turn toward a festive holiday season, it’s never too early to start preparing your holiday wine selections.
It can be stressful – the often overwhelming experience of trying to choose from the crowded shelves at your grocery store or local wine shop, especially in the midst of the holiday rush.
Add a holiday party to the mix – that you’re hosting – and the experience of choosing a holiday wine becomes even more hectic.
Why choose from a sea of sameness, when you can enjoy the ease and peace of mind of choosing any bottle from our consistently approachable, high quality, and unique V. Sattui family of wines?
More than that – we’ve got you covered for holiday wine and food pairing for your next get-together as well. Below are some suggestions for great pairings of our wine and holiday meal ideas.
We’ll also show you why these are great pairings, so that whatever you cook up for the holidays, you are equipped to pair these wines with any occasion.
Wine and Appetizer Pairings
- Why This Pairing Works – This Chardonnay is, in some aspects, in classic “Californian” style. It has a pleasant softness from barrel aging on lees (spent yeast cells) and creaminess from malolactic fermentation.
These traits match perfectly with rich, creamy brie and buttery puff pastry (need brie or other artisanal cheeses? Our Artisan Deli and Marketplace has over 200 to choose from, and a cheese sampling available daily from 11:00 am – 4:30 pm – we’ve got you covered!).
Add chopped pecans or pistachios (maybe toasted in a bit more butter!) before you wrap the cheese in the pastry for another dimension of richness – as well as a nice crunchy texture.
However, this is not your typical, flabby, buttery California Chardonnay. It’s balanced with a bright acidity and tropical aromatics, from guava, to peach, to honeydew, and is framed by a hint of enlivening lemon zest. These elements contrast the richness of the cheese and flaky puff pastry, making the food and wine more distinct.
At the same time, the wine’s refreshing acidity and fruit character also mirror the fruit jam in the baked brie. And the jam in turn gives a nice contrast to the overall roundness of the wine.
- Other Pairing Ideas – Try it with Greek Avgolemono Soup, an easy one-pot starter or main that has creamy richness and bright, lemony acidity to complement the wine.
*This wine is also great throughout a meal – perfect with roast chicken or turkey, or a creamy pasta dish (mac n’ cheese, anybody?).
*This recipe uses Smoked Gouda – we recommend substituting with Havarti or another creamier/less bold cheese – but our Riesling goes well with most anything! Try this entree also for a Havarti-ready recipe.
- Why This Pairing Works – Our 2022 Riesling is not your typical, overly-sweet variety, and is not bone-dry either.
Nicely off-dry, this wine has a moderate sweetness tempered by the wine’s high, refreshing acidity.
Havarti is a soft, creamy cheese that’s both similar (slightly acidic) and opposite to (creamy) the Riesling, balancing well with the wine’s angular – yet elegant – structure (we have several styles of Havarti available in our Marketplace, by the way – more than Trader Joe’s! Stop by if you’re in the area).
This wine’s mature acidity is also able to slice through and brighten the savory texture of mushrooms (and other strong flavors), where other wines may be overwhelmed by the strong umami nature of the dish.
The rich (but not too bold) cheese and mushrooms also will highlight the wine’s intensely floral nose of honeysuckle, gardenia, and fresh apricot, and the fresh pear and nectarine on the tongue.
- Other Pairing Ideas – Pork Schnitzel, Roast Turkey and Mushroom Gravy
*This wine’s refreshing, mature acidity allows it to pair with many different foods, and is a great companion through different courses.
Wine and Dinner Pairing: Mains
2020 Ramazzotti Vineyard Zinfandel & Roast Turkey
- Why This Pairing Works – Our 2020 Ramazzotti Vineyard Zin is an uncommon example of a prime Zinfandel-growing area – the Dry Creek AVA, known for some of the best Zinfandel in the nation. This rare vintage comes from old vines that produce low-yield, high-intensity grapes.
Full-bodied and balanced, this jammy red stands up to the rich, heavy fare of a Thanksgiving turkey, and to any of your favorite sides, from gravy, to cranberry sauce, or stuffing.
Any meats or other proteins will heighten this wine’s fruity palate, including any variations you find in your classic Thanksgiving feast. This vintage is startlingly expressive, with sweet red fruits, cinnamon, spice on the nose, and homemade cherry jam in the glass.
Turkey time lingers long after the meal is done – and so does the finish on this rare, fruit-forward Zin. With other pairings, look to similarly bold, barbecued meats or dishes with a moderate acidity, like tomato-based pasta dishes, to bring out the fruity intensity in this wine.
- Other Pairing Ideas – Barbecue ribs, carne asada tacos
- Why This Pairing Works – You’ve probably heard of the classic “Cab and a Slab” pairing – Cabernet Sauvignon and steak. In general, this is a classic wine and food pairing.
But, every steak is different, and, if you want to get into the nitty-gritty, each steak type pairs better with different styles of Cab.
This Cab is not your typical version, so we put together an atypical pairing to illustrate it.
Though characteristically robust, structured, and intense like many great Napa Cabernets, this vintage shows rarer characteristics of supple, integrated tannins that create a soft yet robust overall mouthfeel. The wine’s body is powerful and structured, with a lingering finish – but gracefully so.
Because it is structured yet uniquely approachable (not to mention delightfully full of dark fruit and spice), this 2019 Napa Valley Cabernet pairs well with many different cuts of meat, steak or not.
We’ve chosen roast lamb shoulder as a cheaper, underrated, and incredibly tasty option for your holiday feasting.
Lamb shoulder is juicier, with a higher fat content than lamb leg, for example. Usually, one would look to a bolder, ‘bigger’ Cab to match the fat content; but this wine is both bold and easy to drink, and matches instantly.
Paired with succulent, slow-roasted lamb, you’ll experience the wine’s voluptuous cinnamon, clove, blackberry, and black cherry notes, as the lamb’s richness and the wine’s plush tannins blend together.
- Other Pairing Ideas – If you’re looking for a fancier option (and probably a romantic one, for two, versus the whole clan!) you can’t go wrong with a ribeye steak or NY strip steak. A rich lasagna bolognese is also a great option, if you’re looking for a hearty, family-style meal pairing.
Wine and Dessert Pairings
2016 Late Harvest Riesling & Pan-Fried Plantains with Powdered Sugar
- Why This Pairing Works – Our 2016 Late Harvest Riesling is a special work of art from our estate Anderson Valley vineyard. The grapes, slowly ripened under the cooling coastal influence of the Pacific and subject to noble rot, show a deep honey, peach, and citrus bouquet on the nose.
Rich apricot, butterscotch, honey, caramel, and spice notes blend perfectly – and are not dominated by – with the simplicity of sweet, caramelized plantains. Adding a dusting of powdered sugar produces a delightful dessert pairing that keeps perfect pace with the wine’s honeyed sweetness, itself balanced with a refreshing acidity.
- Other Pairing Ideas – Cheesecake, Bakewell tart
- Why This Pairing Works – We’ve mentioned “rare” quite a bit in this guide – and all our wines do consistently show their uncommonly excellent style, quality, and versatility in food pairing.
None compare to the rarity of our Madeira, however, called “the best in the world” by wine columnist Gerald Richardson. And we believe the dessert paired with it should be just as excellent.
The decadence of a German chocolate cake should match but not overwhelm the sweet, caramelized hazelnut notes of this voluptuous blend of vintage port (from our 120 year-old solera), premium Zinfandel, and fine brandy, elevating its nuttiness and deeply honeyed notes.
- Other Pairing Ideas – Pumpkin pie, candied pecans
Don’t Miss These Harvest Sale Specials for Your Holiday Hosting
We love the holidays, and love bringing together our community with great wine and food.
So whether we’ll see you sometime soon around our table here in Napa, or you’d like some wine for that upcoming holiday party, be sure to check out our Harvest Sale selection.
Whether it’s our:
- Newly released V. Sattui Brandy – Aged in Madeira Barrels as a holiday gift
- Light and refreshing 2022 Gamay Rouge that pairs with almost anything
- Or one of our V. Sattui proprietary red blends, 2020 La Merica or 2019 Sattui Family Red, to enjoy with any meal
We hope that blending our wine with the festivities makes the holiday season a bit more serene, and quite a bit tastier!