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 wines
James Baigrie

Maria's wine picks and tips

A bubbly to start

Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs 2005 (North Coast; $36). Lovely core of pear and crisp apple flavors, with rich yeastiness underneath and effervescent lemon on top.

White with the First course

Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (Napa and Sonoma Counties; $32). Bright, complex citrus and stone fruit, with a rich core from a little Semillon blended in (the traditional white blend in Bordeaux).

Cab choices for the main event

Robert Sinskey Vandal Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (Los Carneros, Napa Valley; $48). Lively cassis and dark berries play over a foresty bed of juniper, cedar, and mocha flavors.

Robert Sinskey “SLD” Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (Stags Leap District, Napa Valley; $85). The winery’s showcase wine―elegantly structured, with complex layers of dark plums and cherries, cedar, and espresso.

Spottswoode “Lyndenhurst” Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (St. Helena, Napa Valley; $60). A plush wine with classic cassis, dark chocolate, a touch of cedar, and fine tannins.

The Girls in the Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (Red Hills, Lake County; $20). A great-value, fruit-driven Cab made by old friends of the Sinskeys. A little mint and a few herbs lurk under juicy black cherries.

Maria's cab tip 1
Cabs tend to be large-boned. A fat-rich, meaty rib roast stands up to the weight of Cabernet and tames the tannins.

Maria's cab tip 2
Most Western Cabs are made in a soft, young-drinking style. All it takes to open them up is a few good swirls in the glass.

Maria's cab tip 3
Serve red wine on the cool side, and let it warm up in the glass. There’s no greater sin than to serve a red warm.


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