Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Wining through the holidays...Christmas...

Christmas is always a bit problematic for me. For one thing, I'm Jewish, so the whole religious aspect is kind of lost on me. On the other hand, JD is not Jewish, so every year I ask him if he wants to decorate the house for the holidays, and every year, I get the 'look', so it's never necessary to do anything but display the holiday cards.

However, December 25th is my sister's birthday, and she LOVES everything about Christmas. Every year she decorates the whole house - multiple beautifully decorated trees, every David Winter cottage ever made, plus other cute cottage and village collections, plus, plus, plus. It's an ocean of cuteness.

Oh, and the Christmas/Birthday party. It used to be huge; my sis would invite every person she knew - family, friends, business associates. Most of Los Angeles, I think. As the years have gone by, the party has gotten smaller; now it's mainly family. And the family has gotten smaller, too.

But the food remains the same. Multiple appetizers, at least two turkeys, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, Andi's special corn casserole, homemade cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, and pies, pies, pies. Ice cream, too. If you go home hungry, it's your own fault.

JD and I bring the wines, of course. We like to start with something sparkling for the appetizer course. We love Crémants from all those regions that are not Champagne. We love Champagne, but we're on a budget, and we try to introduce our family and friends to wines with a lot of bang for the buck. This year, it will be Charles Baur Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rosé. For under $20 you get a crisp, dry Rosé of Pinot Noir. Full of yeasty strawberry fruit and spice, it is a party wine.

For the main meal with all its various elements, we like to go with a red. Yes, red with turkey. Because we like red with roasted fowl. So sue me. This year we're bringing Zinfandel, specifically 2009 Mauritson Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel from our cellar, a robust red wine with raspberry, blackberry, cherry, plums, raisins, spice and black pepper all wrapped around some sweet oak. The current release (vintage 2012) goes for around $25, and is also delicious.

Then, there are all those desserts. Apple pie, berry pie, chocolate cream pie, pumpkin pie. Plus cookies and whatever other chocolaty delicacies show up. So, I'm thinking we'll bring a small bottle of something lovely like a 2012 Chateau du Seuil from the little-known AOC of Cérons. The sweet wines of Cérons are lighter and livelier than their prestigious cousins of Sauternes and Barsac. They are creamy and mellow with the flavors of apricot, lime, toasted almonds, mint, peach, cloves, and lilac. At around $25, I'm thinking it's the perfect wine to pair with pumpkin pie!

So there's my plan for Christmas day. Why not think outside the box when pairing wines with holiday meals, and drink something you really enjoy!


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