Holiday Harmony

During this month, it’s easy to get distracted with Holiday parties, deadlines, dinners, and obligatory gift giving. In a perfect world, December should really just be about food and drink.

I guess my world is perfect.

At a tasting last night, there was a gentleman who loved to cook. We talked for some time about the Cornish hens he’d done for Christmas dinners in years past, but how this year he’d like to venture out a bit. (I made a case for duck breast in a cast-iron skillet with a brandied cherry sauce.) Over mouthfuls of a delicious chocolate-ganache cake with a hazelnut crust called Chocolate Pink (the signature offering of… we enjoyed a glass of Toro Albala 1979 Pedro Ximenez Gran Riserva. Although an avid cook, like most of you, this gentlemen had no idea who or what a Pedro Ximenez was prior to this tasting (if you’re keeping score, it’s the primary grape in Port). It’s dense, viscous, with rich coffee, minty, and rasiny flavors. To my palate, the finish of this wine always seemed to leave an unmistakable mark of hazlenuts. I announced this as I was pouring the wine leading up to this pairing. This statement is usually followed with suspicious glances and grins, but not the Cornish hen guy. He took his first sip of wine after a few bites of cake and couldn’t contain his enthusiasm. “Wow!” I knew what he was experiencing before I event turned my head. This was a contagious moment. Now I was the one grinning widely, satisfied.


A favorite holiday snack

I think the reason why Cornish hen guy “got it” was because he simply loved to eat. Although he and the others in attendance were equal in their wine IQ, his capacity for enjoyment far surpassed them. If you love to eat, you don’t need anyone to tell you what they taste or why they like it, you just know it’s good. It couldn’t be simpler. Wine and food are a couple. They can be really good independently, but they can make you shriek aloud when they function cohesively. Wine isn’t about Wine Spectator or stuffy sommeliers. It’s simply about enjoyment. And like anything, the more you learn, the easier it is to enjoy. On Sunday, we hope to learn as we enjoy food and wine pairings to make you scream out loud.

Sunday December 9 @ 2:00PM
Food and Wine Pairings for the Holidays
Please RSVP to


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