Images courtesy of RN74 San Francisco
It’s no secret – the holidays are better with wine. Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other holiday this season, a fabulous holiday meal wouldn’t be nearly as special without that wonderful pairing. And yes, we know it is quite the daunting task to create that magical pairing at the holiday table, so we enlisted the help of an expert.
RN74 San Francisco’s Lead Sommelier, David Castleberry, has offered his recommendations to take out the guess work! After joining the Mina Group in fall 2011 at Bourbon Steak, he was recruited by wine director and renowned sommelier Rajat Parr to join RN74, taking over the wine program in 2015. His love of wine inspires his pursuit of knowledge beyond the largely Burgundian list, and has launched a singular and successful guest sommelier program.
Here, Castleberry shares his expert advice – a unique wine-pairing guide – on what to drink with traditional tastes at your holiday celebrations.
What are a few of your favorite pairings for Thanksgiving, and why?
Beaujolais is the traditional go to for a lot of people, and there are some great wines from Cru-villages being produced. I’m also a big fan of Trousseau. It has the same fresh fruit and bright acid that I love with a little extra spice I think pairs great with Thanksgiving favorites on the table.
If you were going to a Thanksgiving dinner party, what wine would you bring as a gift and why?
A magnum of Champagne. Everyone loves Champagne, and rolling in with a large format makes a statement. Plus, I’ve heard it said that magnums show you care. You can bring a magnum of Champagne to Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties as well.
What are your favorite wines or other beverages during Christmas? Why?
I love Champagne every day, but particularly when spending a holiday with family and friends. Something fun and festive like Larmandier-Bernier Rose, especially if I’m starting with brunch.
What are a few of your favorite pairings for Christmas? Why?
I love to have lamb with Northern Rhone Syrah. It is the perfect combination of being smoky and savory, while also having captivating perfume and aromatics. Cornas, Saint-Joseph and Cote-Rotie are my favorite villages there.
New Year’s Eve
What are your favorite wines or other beverages for New Year’s Eve and why?
New Years is about celebrating! While I don’t like the stigma that Champagne is only for holidays, I think it is especially delicious on New Year’s Eve. I love dry, high-acid styles like Ruppert-Leroy, Christophe Mignon and Bereche & Fils.
What are a few of your favorite pairings for New Year’s Eve and why?
Lays potato chips with creme fraiche and caviar! It sounds crazy but it is fantastic, especially when paired with Bérèche’ & Fils ‘Brut Reserve’ Champagne – one of my go-to wines because it is so bright and pure with a dry mineral-driven finish.