So much turkey talk when it comes to wine this time of year, and yet so little talk of the turkey.
What I mean is, for all of the holiday wine pairing help that we can find this time of year, very little of it actually centers around The Bird. The culinary hub & spoke in the wheel of our holiday meals, so-to-speak.
Which is understandable, because the turkey, while usually sitting at the center of our holiday table and taking up the majority of our cooking prep. time, is actually the side show when it comes to most Thanksgiving meals.
The real stars of the act, in wine pairing terms, are the varied side dishes that run the gamut of tastes from savory to sweet, along with the varying taste preferences of the dinner guests. In other words, when it comes to holiday meals you should drink whatever wine you like, because the situation (when it comes to finding an all-purpose wine pairing, that is) is pretty much hopeless (it may also be hopeless because of the company, but that’s your problem).
But… what is a culinary adventurer to do when the slow-roasted bird is actually the focus of a meal? I’m talking about a chicken or turkey spending almost all day slow-roasting to perfection, to be accompanied not by show-stealing sweet yams but by less robust side-item fare meant to place the dining spotlight on the bird itself.
What do we pair with that?
The answer (at least, my answer) might surprise you…
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CNBC.com has updated their annual expert recommendations on wines for the holidays – and this year, there are a few interesting parties among the panel of wine smarties contributing their wine picks for your 2009 fourth quarter celebratory dining table.
Like me, for instance.
I know what you’re thinking. How the hell did YOU get on the same list as Jancis Robinson?!??
I had the same reaction, my friends!
I’m in great, great company on this one, with quite a few fellow bloggers gracing the CNBC.com lineup, most of whom I’m happy and proud to call friends of the Dude:
There are some great wine picks offered up in the list, so head on over to CNBC.com and check it out before you do your holiday dinner shopping this year.
This week, we begin what school children in the U.S. have long considered the holy triumvirate of holiday respite, rivaled only by the extended time away from school called Summer Vacation. For this week, the oft-exploited holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas attack us in quick bursts of targeted marketing succession.
Now that I’m older, a full-fledged adult, I look at the season a bit differently. To me, it’s the Season of Hopeless Wine Pairings, in which I am besieged by requests from friends, family, and strangers alike who are looking for an answer to the fright-inducing question:
“What wine should I bring to [Insert Holiday Dinner Name Here] ?”
For reasons that I find difficult to understand, hardly anyone who asks me that question seems ready to accept my answer:
“It doesn’t really matter unless you’re trying to pair a wine with specific dishes, so just drink whatever you and your guests like best.”
Like the aforementioned school children, they are somehow desperate to identify a “correct” answer, even if there isn’t one. Will this be on the exam?
I realize that Holiday time in the U.S. can be particularly stressful for modern adults – which is why I think it’s even more important not to sweat the wine choices for holiday dinners; just bring something you’ve been dying to try, or that you like. No, I’m serious – that’s all there is to it. You can over-complicate it if you particularly like being stressed-out, your call.
Anyway, I invite those looking for some relief from the potential hangover of holiday wine pairings to check out the latest issue of Mutineer Magazine, in which I join up with Drew Langley (from L.A.’s Providence) and Michael Scaffidi (from The Jefferson in D.C.) to pair wines with specific holiday dishes like Smoked Paprika Popcorn, Pork Belly Sliders, and Ganache Stuffed Figs. So you’ll get some interesting and inspired holiday cuisine suggestions along with wines to go with them.
Oh, yeah – and Marina Orlova is on the cover, and she is ridiculously hot.
Enjoy the issue, and let’s drink a toast to a low-stress run through upcoming Holiday season.
Wishing you Happy Holidays, and a most wine-filled 2009!