Wine Guy: Holiday food and wine pairings

It’s mid-month and many are presumably in the midst of menu planning, so let’s take some time to discuss a few food and wine-pairing strategies

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Is there an official start date to the holiday eating season? Tucking into the daily chocolate gifted by the advent calendar from Dec. 1 only “kind of” counts. Though admittedly, if observing Hanukkah the latkes, et al. have likely already heavily featured on the menu.

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Still, here we are mid-month and many are presumably in the full-on midsts of menu planning. Seems like a good opportunity to discuss a few food and wine pairing strategies.

Kendall-Jackson 2019 Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay, California ($20.99 on sale until Jan. 1, #296566)

Honestly, an entire newspaper could be filled with advice on holiday food and wine pairings. So what follows must be considered an extremely edited, informal treatise. Take white wine, for example. Riesling, Sémillon, Pinot Gris: All have their place on the holiday table depending on the meal at hand.

But when comfort—and roast turkey—gets the call, it’s easy to uncork a bottle of rich, buttery Chardonnay. Well, KJ’s latest vintage Vintner’s Reserve Chard fits the bill. Big-time tropical fruit meets an underlying sweetness dabbed with vanilla and toast from barrel fermentation, yet the overall style is fresh with a lingering lick of baking spice to finish.

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Bottom line: B, Bring on the candied yams and stuffing!

Road 13 2019 Seventy-Four K, BC ($25.99, #78915)

On the complete other side of the wine spectrum, there are certainly times that warrant a robust red. Particularly if, for example, brisket, prime rib, roast lamb or wild mushroom ragù is the main entrée.

Road 13’s Seventy-Four K is a Merlot-dominant blend (the balance is a vinous swamp mix of Malbec, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Mourvèdre) sourced from grapes grown in both the Similkameen and Okanagan valleys. All in all, this easygoing red is robust, rich, and round — the sort of wine that effortlessly pleases a crowd, from grandma to Uncle Bill.

Bottom line: B+, Bold yet approachable.

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Domaine de la Pépière 2020 La Pépie Côt, France (from $26, available at select private wine stores)

Finally, if this were a Goldilocks-inspired holiday wine tale the story would alight at the “just right” midpoint of this gutsy but punchy red.

Alas, wine enjoyment is appropriately subjective and should be a personal journey of taste and exploration.

However, if the holiday table has space for a sinewy, fresh red, it’s worth checking out the recent release of La Pépie Côt. This year’s vintage is actually a blend of Côt (Malbec) and Merlot, but this free-run, unaked red is all about food-pairing thanks to low tannins and vibrant acidity. It’s a great option for dark meat turkey, tourtiere, or even grilled salmon for the holidays.

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Bottom line: B+, Vibrant red.

The Swirl: House of Funk Solstice Drag Show

Though winter solstice officially arrives on Dec. 21, there’s no reason it can’t be celebrated early, especially when North Vancouver’s House of Funk Brewing Co. (350 Esplanade East, North Vancouver) is hosting a Solstice Drag Show! Taking place from 7 to 11 pm on Thursday, Dec. 16, the fabulous evening will be hosted by Shanda Leer and feature performances by Belladonna Von Shade, Jerrilynn Spears and Delica Cee. Tickets to the event, which is promised to entice and enchant, are $40 (plus fees) and include one beer or cider. For complete details, head to

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