Happy holidays! Your festivus planning is undoubtedly underway, but what to pair? Consider one of these options, sure to please the most discerning palates. All are selections available throughout Hawaii.
Every special occasion deserves a sparkling start, toasting the ones you love. Options can be as luxurious or affordable as you wish, like premium vintage Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2006 Champagne ($235) or Charles Heidsieck Brut Rosé 2006 Champagne ($185), to highly affordable, traditional method, dry, earthy Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava ($13) from Spain, or Italy’s citrus filled Zonin Prosecco ($21.)
For pairing with appetizers like salumi, prosciutto, even holiday ham, try the ripe red-fruit-filled, effervescent Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Centenario Amabile NV ($18) from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region.
If your holiday meal includes lobster, crab, or any shellfish, chardonnay is ideal, especially medium-bodied, luscious, expressive options, like Rombauer ($48,) Grgich Hills ($54,) Far Niente ($95,) and Chateau Montelena ($55.) Patz &Hall Dutton Ranch Russian River Chardonnay captures freshness with complexity in their golden apple, white peach and citrus-filled selection.
Pinot noir is a roasted turkey go-to, from classic burgundy to fruit-forward California options, to terroir-driven Willamette Valley wines, ripe berry, forest-floor, and warm spice filled pinot will please. Delicious options include Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($75,) Clos du Vale Carneros Pinot Noir ($40,) Siduri Chehalem Mountain Pinot Noir ($45). From winemaker Tony Soter, sustainably produced Planet Oregon Pinot Noir ($24,) layering wild strawberry and violets, gives back with a percentage of every bottle sold going to the Oregon Environmental Council helping Mother Earth.
Cabernet sauvignon and Bordeaux are often entertaining favorites, especially when pairing with grilled ribeyes and beef tenderloin. For leaner cuts, like a filet, enjoy lighter cabernet and Cabernet Franc options, like Chateau Lessague St. Emilion Grand Cru ($75) from Bordeaux, Hickinbotham Trueman Cabernet Sauvignon ($95) from McLaren Vale, or Shafer TD-9 Proprietary Red ($89) from the Stags Leap District.
For enjoying with ribeye or porterhouse steaks, fruit-forward, powerful Napa Cabernet is ideal, especially Rutherford’s ZD Estate Reserve ($199,) Robert Mondavi To Kalon Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($200) from Oakville, and Cardinale ($300,) layering the stories of Napa’s mountain regions into one harmonious wine. From the iconic Inglenook estate, Rubicon ($259) melds the earthy, dusty textures of Rutherford fruit into a powerful, black fruit, sweet spice, rand roasted espresso filled wine. Slightly more affordable, Frank Family Vineyards Napa Cabernet ($69) melds black cherry, blackberry and bay leaf, for a perfect pairing option.
Roasted or braised meat, from short ribs to a crown roast, deserves the King and Queen of Italian wines, Barolo and Barbaresco. The tannin-filled fruit cuts through the richness of the meat, creating balance. Both produced from the Nebbiolo grape, slightly softer Barbaresco, like Prunotto ($63) and Marchesi di Gresy “Martinenga” ($65,) layers wildflowers, wild berry and woody herbs, with structure and velvety finesse. Hearty Barolo, like the gorgeous options from Vietti, including Vietti Barolo Castiglione ($65,) and highly textured, 2012 Vietti Barolo Ravera ($225) yields tannin complexity, giving it age-ability, with savory balsamic, truffle and spice.