A Perfect Pairing

December 10, 2018

A Perfect Pairing

Holiday Parties and Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition Winners

It’s the holidays, and that means…yes, parties. Whether you’re hosting, looking for a hostess gift or sharing a spontaneous tasting with neighbors, there’s no better time to check out the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ 2019 Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition winners. These wines topped all others in a contest that featured 3,156 entries from 18 countries. In choosing wines from this elite list, you will not only showcase our winners, you will also celebrate the holidays in style by sharing award-winning wines with friends and family.

Grand Champion Best of Show – Graham Beck Brut Rosé, Robertson NV

Nothing punctuates the holidays better than a glass of bubbly. This méthode cap classique (South African fizz made in the same way as Champagne) will add more than a dash of spirit to your holiday gatherings. Flirtatious and fun, this is the ultimate food-friendly wine.

Reserve Grand Champion Best of Show – Muriel Reserva, Rioja DOCa, 2013

If you’re looking for a savory and classic red wine to accompany roasted lamb, look no further than this Tempranillo from Rioja, arguably Spain’s top wine region. It’s a finely balanced wine that pairs well with roasted meats, as well as smoked and cured cheese. It is also an excellent wine to accompany chocolate desserts, offering a delicious finale to your holiday dinner.

Top Texas Wine – McPherson Cellars White Blend, Texas, 2017

The McPherson family has been a part of Texas grape growing and winemaking for more than 40 years and has a long list of accolades to its credit. This blend of Vermentino, Roussanne, Viognier, Chenin Blanc and Muscat Canelli is a crisp, easy-drinking wine that’s perfect for warm summer-night sipping. But you can also enjoy it during the holidays. Serve the wine with light appetizers, or pair it with a seafood dinner. This is definitely a wine for all seasons.

Top Sparkling Wine – Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noir Brut, Carneros, NV

You can never have too many sparkling wines on hand for a holiday party. A méthode Champenoise blend of 92 percent Pinot Noir and 8 percent Chardonnay, the wine is light, bright and fruity. With its palate-cleansing bubbles and acidity, it’s a perfect wine for pairing with foods, including crab, Thai cuisine, roast pork, quail, foie gras, a cheese course or semi-sweet desserts.

Top White Wine – Rombauer Vineyards Chardonnay, Carneros, 2017

Rombauer Vineyards began producing Chardonnay in 1982. Their Chardonnays, says one critic, “have come to define the rich, fruit-driven, consumer-friendly style of California Chardonnay” that we know today. This wine would be a big hit at any holiday dinner, but because of its oaky, buttery notes, it goes best with recipes that include creamy sauces, meaty fish or shellfish, simply-seasoned poultry, pork dishes or roasted vegetables. For a real splurge, try a lobster dinner (served with lemon butter, of course) for New Year’s Eve, and pair it with this luscious Chardonnay. It will be a memorable way to start 2019.

Top Red Wine – Chloe Wine Selections Cabernet Sauvignon, San Lucas, 2015

For many, a prime rib roast is the go-to centerpiece for a holiday dinner. And, of course, the go-to wine to complement this feast is, what else, a Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine, from the 2019 Competition’s featured region, California’s Central Coast, could easily share the spotlight with any serving of beef. But don’t just save it for dinner. With luscious flavors of black cherry, ripe plum and dark chocolate, followed by delicate notes of roasted coffee and cinnamon bark, this wine could be the star of the show at any holiday gathering.

Top Region Wine – Ancient Peaks Winery Renegade, Santa Margarita Ranch, 2016

This highly-rated blend of 32 percent Syrah, 25 percent Zinfandel, 20 percent Malbec, 19 percent Petit Verdot and 4 percent Petite Syrah comes from a family-owned, estate-grown winery in southern Paso Robles, an area renowned for growing excellent Rhone varietals. It’s a powerful wine, full-bodied yet elegant. According to the winemaker, the wine pairs deliciously with rack of lamb, grilled pork chops, bacon-wrapped filet and black pepper-crusted roast beef.

Top Dessert Wine – San Felice Belcaro Vin Santo, Chianti Classico DOCG, 2009

Vin Santo is style of Italian dessert wine that’s traditional in Tuscany. This wine has a lovely amber hue, releasing aromas of toasted almond, honey and subtle spice. It’s an ideal dessert wine, pairing perfectly with sweets and petits fours, particularly those containing almonds, but also with sheep cheese and aged Gorgonzola.

Top Value Wine – Ravage Cabernet Sauvignon, California, 2016

This wine is hugely popular, and no wonder. It’s an aromatic and robust wine, with dark and decadent fruit flavors and soft tannins. Plus, the price is right. Pair this wine with burgers or your holiday barbeque. Since one critic suggested pairing it with beef empanadas and spicy nachos, it seems like it would be a natural accompaniment to a traditional Texas holiday tamale feast.