Today is one of the two days of the year that are well into becoming traditional special event menu days for myself and love of my life. The “other day” would be Christmas Day, one that over the years was always shared with family, but we like others have found that as families age, families get smaller.
Now that we have both lost our parents, and siblings live in other parts of the country, and are involved with siblings and friends, we find we have each other to enjoy the piece and quiet of enjoying some things on our own.
That brings me to this year and the first major “alone together” holiday of Christmas. Without the family around and just us two on our ranch in Southern Oregon this year, my wife is planning on putting up a few decorations, nothing special. I on the other hand, plan to surprise her this weekend, bringing home or maybe from the ranch, a Christmas Tree for us to decorate this weekend. Yep ! Guaranteed to put a smile on her face, and some joy in her heart.
I already discussed Christmas Dinner with her, and as I have done before, I am having two very large and delicious Whole Maine Lobsters shipped overnight to arrive for the boiling pot of water.
But enough of that, and on to a more current issue, today is my birthday ! We will as we have done over the past few years, celebrate just the two of us, in front of the fireplace, with our two Rotties. My wife is heading in to town to pick up a few pounds of Alaskan King Crab, one of my all time favorites for dinner tonight. Yum !
Now to the “meat” of this article, wine ! With the holidays rushing towards us, many tables will have seafood as a choice for family dinners. Seafood you say ? I remember well the first time many years ago, when invited to my little brother Greg’s house for Christmas Day Dinner, my entire family, as well as his new family on his wife’s side, up from New York City. A serious, traditional Italian Family.
When they served the home made pasta, in a monster bowl, complete with homemade sauce, well, my Mom was a bit surprised, but hell, she loved pasta, and after all, dinner was made by a Italian Family, pasta ? what a big suprise. However, when the bowl got to her, and she used tongs and a monster spoon to serve her pasta, out came a giant crab claw ! Her exclamation “What the hell did you put in the@@@ pasta?” didn’t go over so well, but I won’t go there. Needless to say, never be surprised to find seafood or shellfish on the holiday menu.
So, what wines go best with this king of holiday menu, whether it’s seafood with pasta, seafood on it’s own, or with whatever.
My own personal “FAV’ is always a Sparkling Wine, such as Gloria Ferrer Brut from Northern California. Not only a great tasting sparkling to celebrate with, also pairs well with most shellfish. My second choice, not only an excellent wine, but from an excellent winery here in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, is Argyle Winery Sparkling wines, served quite often in the White House.
If you are in a “fizz free zone”, then perhaps a bottle of Ponzi Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley, or maybe a bottle of King Estate’s Pinot Gris, another of my personal favorites. And don’t overlook a really good Dry Riesling because it will really accent the crab. A local favorite for me here in Southern Oregon is Terry and Sue Brandborg’s 2009 Umpqua Valley Riesling. Brandborg Winery is located in Elkton, Oregon, and can be found in many Oregon stores, as well as on line.
Although I have found, again in my humble opinion, that I adore the above wines with crab and drawn butter, but if you must enjoy a bottle of Chardonnay, then try to fine one that will have some mild sweetness and butter overtones. A choice I have seen on many a table is wines from LaCrema Winery in Northern California.
So on with the holidays, and celebrations with wine.