Affordable Bordeaux to Warm the Holiday Spirit

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Holiday dinner with affordable Bordeaux wines

Holiday dinner with affordable Bordeaux wines

by Patricia Mack The wines of Bordeaux are not usually thought of as affordable celebratory wines, but come this holiday season, there are selections that even Scrooge can love. Daniel Johnnes, the James Beard-award-winning wine director of chef Daniel Boulud’s family of restaurants says that Bordeaux are not only easy on the pocketbook but perfect for the holiday table. Johnnes provided the commentary for his wine pairings selected from 2012 and 2013 “Today’s Bordeaux” releases at an early holiday dinner featuring a modern twist on French traditions, which was designed by chef Michael Ciardi of the I Was Really, Very Hungry Supper Club out of Brooklyn and Queens. “This family-style holiday meal demonstrates just how versatile Bordeaux wines can be,” said Johnnes. “Value Bordeaux can elevate any holiday dinner setting for a crowd with very varied tastes. We paired with ease white, red, and sweet Bordeaux wines with dishes that featured lamb, turkey, seafood, vegetables, and baked goods.” Most of the wines cost $15 or less; none cost more than $30. Visit to find these and other affordable Bordeaux wine. Here is the menu along with Johnnes’ pairing commentary and prices. See if they don’t fit beautifully into your holiday plans.


Shrimp and red snapper ceviche with heirloom tomato, orange and fennel pollen, served with 2012 Saint Glinglin Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux ($15). This wine is produced by the American sommelier-turned-winemaker, Richard Betts. “Saint Glinglin” roughly translates to “when pigs fly.” It is crisp, refreshing and awakens the palates at the start of the meal. Smoked and grilled seafood with chorizo served with 2012 Château La Rame Rosé, Bordeaux ($14). This rosé offers the aromas of red fruits balanced with mouth-watering acidity and crushed red berry flavors; it has the body to match the spice of chorizo and the smoke of the seafood without overwhelming the palate. Cabernet-braised lamb sliders with onion jam served with 2009 Château Lyonnat, Lussac-Saint-Émillion. ($27) Fresh and elegant, Château Lyonnat clearly mastered the powerful 2009 vintage with a deft hand. On the palate, the integrated tannins highlight the spice, stone fruit and licorice notes. This plays very nicely with the earthiness of the lamb. The fresh and focused flavors of the wine counter and balance the rich sweet flavors of the dish.

Entrée and Sides

Roast turkey roulade with Bordelaise gravy, accompanied by haricots verts with shiitakes, shallots and anchovy-herb vinaigrette and twice-baked potatoes with Bordeaux cheeses. The main dish and sides were served with 2009 Château Jean Faux, Bordeaux Superieur. ($28) A classic Rive-Droite blend of 80 percent Merlot and 20 percent Cabernet Franc, this wine has notes of black fruits, chocolate and mocha on both the nose and the palate. Ripe and hedonistic with a persistent finish, it recalls the gregarious nature of the winemaker, Pascal Collotte. This is a great value that outperforms its appellation.


Apple, rosemary and honey tart with whipped goat cheese, paired with 2009 Castelnau de Suduiraut, Sauternes. ($15). This is a classic Sauternes with a discreet nose of dried fruits, vanilla and citrus peel. On the palate, it has a sweet and creamy texture with notes of Mandarin orange marmalade balanced by bright acidity and a slightly bitter yet refreshing botrytised finish. It is an excellent partner to the honeyed apple and counterbalances the tartness of the whipped goat cheese. Related Content: Holiday Wine Pairings Top 10 Holiday Wines Best Bordeaux You can click on each picture to enlarge.