Wine Recommendations For Holiday Entertaining

Lynne Kiesling

Christian over at Turn the Screw has a good post describing a dinner part for 20 that he sommelier’ed (if that’s a word!) recently. The wines he chose for each course sound great (as does the food), and are all in the reasonable $13-16 range. I like that he recommended Gruner Veltliner for the first course; GV is a clean, crisp white wine from Austria that goes very well with rich meats like sausages, Wiener schnitzel, and the tuna with which they served it.

But I particularly liked what he said about Chateau Routas, which I’ve always found to be one of the most reliable value-for-money buys:

I have been running with the wines from Routas for some time now. They are one of the few houses I have found that produces incredibly good wines at unbelievably low prices. Across the board, if it says Routas, buy it. I had sold the 2000 vintage like gangbusters, and had hoped to serve it at this dinner. The day before the event, a case of the 2001 arrived. I was a bit worried, not having had time to sit with the wine, but it performed true to form, albeit a little quicker in progression. This wine is 50%/50% Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah. There’s a little blurb on the back label about an old (and now highly illegal) practice of the people of Bordeaux heading east to buy Syrah from the Rhône valley to bolster the Cab in weaker vintages. This wine is Routas’ homage to this. Straight away, the wine screams Italian. The nose shows (for lack of a better term) a certain rusticity that I associate with wines from The Boot. The acid is blazing, another Italian characteristic and the fruit on the palate guarded. About 20-30 minutes in, the Cab starts to flesh out and the wine drinks like a Left Bank Bordeaux. Maybe the homage is a little too close to reality. After 45 minutes or so, the fruit works itself out, the tannins while present, become a little more integrated and the wine drinks like a Pomerol with a few years on it. Curious, because there is no Merlot in the mix.

Served with “Grilled Beef Tenderloin and Gorgonzola Cream sauce with Carmelized Onion, Pears, and Parsnips in a Rosemary Vinaigrette on a bed of Fresh Arugula”. Wow, does that sound great (except for the gorgonzola thing).

OK, off to the gym …