Cabernet-paired holiday dinner

Chef and wine pro Maria Helm Sinskey serves the king of reds with the king of beef for a pull-out-the-stops holiday meal

Cab dinner shrimp
James Baigrie

Cab's big night

This year, the big dinner at the Sinskeys’ rustic remake of an old Napa Valley barn consists of a group of good friends―“a lot of wine geeks,” as Maria puts it. Flutes of bubbly handed out at the door set the tone for the evening’s festivities. A crisp, cold white poured with spicy shrimp reminds everyone how good a well-planned match can be. But that’s all a warm-up to the main event: a grand rib roast paired with several Cabernet Sauvignons, the Sinskey among them. The pleasure comes in noticing what the beef brings out in each wine.

Crispy shrimp with arugula and lemony mayo
This crowd-pleasing appetizer can be plated with the greens as a sit-down first course or served without greens as stand-up finger food. “I like my shrimp spicy; my daughters don’t,” says Maria. “So I split the crumbs and add the cayenne to half.”

THE WINE Cold, crisp Sauvignon Blanc with a smidgen of Semillon.


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