Looking for wine-pairing tips for holiday meal planning? Seasoned sommelier Kris Margerum, Head Sommelier at Auberge du Soleil and the mastermind behind the newest Wine Series event for the first residential Auberge Beach Residences & Spa Fort Lauderdale, has several tips that he actually follows with his own family every year – when he’s not selecting wine for a Michelin-starred restaurant, that is.
Tip #1: Bring what you would enjoy. Bring wines that you want to enjoy no matter the level of appreciation of the rest of the group. In other words, don’t skimp on quality just because some of the attendees may not be super wine savvy. These are the people you love, it is best to spend time with them over a good bottle of wine.
Tip #2: Sushi. For Thanksgiving, my extended family has a couple of interesting traditions. First is that everybody cooks and we are all assigned tasks. After a bit of culinary work we take a break with, of all things, sushi. We all enjoy this with a glass of off-dry German Riesling. This year I am planning on bringing a 2010 J.J. Prum “Wehlener Sonnenuhr” Kabinett from the Mosel. The off-dry notes and racy acidity pair wonderfully with the heat of the wasabi that we all love to add to our sushi. It is a refreshing, low alcohol, non-traditional tradition that we all look forward to.
Tip #3: Don’t forget the soup. Another tradition my family follows is starting with a soup course before the main course. For this, we always prepare a pumpkin peanut butter soup. Over the years, I have matched this course with many wines including White Burgundies, Californian Chardonnays and Viogniers. This year, I am bringing a 2015 Truchard Roussanne for the Carneros District in Napa Valley.
Tip #4: Pair wines with the usuals. The Main course is the traditional turkey with all the usual sides, stuffing, potatoes, gravy and veggies. Here, I generally bring one bottle of a fuller bodied Chardonnay for the non-red wine drinker(s) and several bottles of medium bodied reds.
Tip #5: Don’t be afraid to pair dessert with dessert. Pumpkin Pie is paired this year with a dessert wine from my cousin Doug’s winery, the 2014 Margerum “Late Harvest” Viognier – Santa Barbara County.
Tip #6: If all else fails, try these wines this holiday. Here’s my lineup for 2016:
2014 Hamilton Russell – Chardonnay – Hemel en Aarde Valley – Walker Bay-South Africa
2009 Williams Selyem “Ferrington” Pinot Noir – Anderson Valley-Mendocino
2011 St. Cosme “Valbelle” Red Rhône Blend – Gigondas-France
2014 Ghost Block “Pelissa” Zinfandel – Oakville-Napa Valley