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Holiday Weekend – A Pairing Adventure, Part 1

Holidays in our house have always been two-part affairs. A Christmas Eve gathering with heavy appetizers and paired libations, and then a holiday meal of roast beast or glazed ham and assorted sides, with a few wines that will blend well and keep us from saying anything that will get one disinvited next year.

This year was no exception – just with a slightly smaller crowd. Momma WineOH came from North Carolina for the holiday week, and we dragged in Chef Buglet from Chardon, because my daughter’s desserts and mashed potatoes are a requirement for any gathering of family.

Saturday’s menu consisted of: (click on the links for the recipes)

Raspberry Baked Brie

2010 Gerard Bertrand Picpoul de PinetMomma WineOH requested this after seeing it posted on the site following the Beaujolais tasting. It was just as delicious this time! We paired a 2010 Gerard Bertrand Picpoul de Pinet with the brie. The crisp acidity in Picpoul goes beautifully with the cream. Floral and peach aromas are typical of this varietal from the Languedoc. The raspberry jam made from King Estate pinot noir complements those flavors.

Squash & Pear Bisque

We used a pumpkin squash bisque for a pre-holiday tasting, so I decided to try my hand at preparing a bisque. It’s easier than it looks. You should give it a try. Curry, ginger and nutmeg add tasty fall or holiday flavors. Pair a Viognier with this soup. I’m a fan of Virginia Viognier, so try this site as a guide, VAWineTime – you might also try Bonny Doon Viognier or something from Cote Rotie or Languedoc.

         Sausage Balls

A family tradition, sausage balls have been a staple of Christmas in our house for years. I’ve paired many wines with this, including Mollydooker’s Two Left Feet, always an incredible wine, but occasionally hard to come by – a Zinfandel will pair well, and we opened up Plungerhead from The Other Guys. They have a few I haven’t had… so if you have enjoyed The White Knight or Pennywise, let me know your thoughts. 

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Sausage Bites

These are my go to appetizers for a crowd. They pair beautifully with red wine, and can be made ahead and reheated. I invariably put these tasty bites with a pinot noir, because well…. it just rocks together. There are some incredible pinot noirs to be had in the $15-18 range. Good ones to be had at $9-14. And amazingness above $20, particularly out of the Pacific Northwest. In the everyday catagory, go for Rex Goliath – in the mid range, Underwood Cellars or Castle Rock are consistent and tasty. Above that… the sky is the limit and the flavor profiles and quality increase exponentially.

This was our Christmas Eve spread… stay tuned for our Christmas pairings, including the breakfast casserole, and

“what do you serve with Waldorf Salad”…

What did you have for Christmas Eve? Do you have traditions for the night before Christmas? Share them in the comments!

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