I was going to do a whole new post about the pairings for the Seven Fishes Christmas Eve feast, but after reviewing my post from last year I think it would be pretty repetitive. So instead I updated that post to reflect some of my current favorite wine selections; the description of the meal and overall wine pairing thoughts are both below.
The one thing I wanted to add to this year’s post in the wake of the tragic and unthinkable events that have transpired in Newtown, CT over the last week is this: drink in the moment. Make sure you are serving something that makes you feel good, and as my son says “is tasty in your mouth” (he says that about food…not wine!). You never know what tomorrow may bring, so if you have some special wines you were saving for the right occasion…why not make it this Christmas. Remember, great wines pair well with just about everything!
The traditional fishes that are served in the Feast are Calamari, Scungilli, Baccala, Shrimp, Clams, Mussels and some type of big fish (usually a snapper, sea trout, tuna or large shellfish like lobster or crab). However over the years the rules on what fish to serve have really loosened up, so these are by no means set in stone. What’s really fun about this meal is the fish can be prepared in so many different ways that it leaves your wine options wide open.
Most of our dishes are prepared in a red marinara sauce (even the lobster tails and crab legs!) so I usually load up on reds for the main course, with some whites for the apps. But I know many families do the complete opposite and use a lot of white wine and cream sauces that lend themselves to a night of whites. Although if there are any traditional kinda guys attending your Christmas Eve dinner, I would highly recommend having some reds on hand…otherwise you may be sleeping with the seven fishes!
Brancott Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (under $10!)
Crisp, refreshing…full of grapefruit and citrus. Crazy value
Saint-Veran 2009 Moulin du Pont, Vins Auvigue ($15-20)
100% Chard -Apple and pear with some lemon zest… minimal oak, lovely.
Treana White 2010 Central Coast, California ($20-25)
Blend of Rhone white varietals… floral and citrus aromas with stone fruit (pear and pineapple) on the palate. Great aging wine as well so if you find any older vintages jump all over it!
Toscolo 2011 Chianti DOCG ($10-12)
Possibly the best Chianti for the price, drinks more like a Classico
Villa Mt. Eden 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($15-20)
Classic Napa Cab…steal under $20! Cassis, black cherry, vanilla and smoke.
BV BeauRouge 2009 Red Blend, Napa Valley ($25-30)
A really fun blend of Merlot, Cab, Zin, Syrah and a handful of other grapes. Lots of acidity balanced with firm tannins and dark Napa fruits… goodness.
My Top Christmas Eve Wine!
Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 Marchese Antinori ($40)
Dark red cherry and berry with licorice and floral notes. Silky smooth finishing long and strong… perfect pairing for the Christmas Eve Fish Feast!
Wishing you all a healthy and Merry Christmas… and as we are all enjoying time with our loved ones, let’s all be sure to send some thoughts, prayers and positive energy towards those families that need it the most.