Holiday Dinners: Our Favorite Red Meat & Red Wine Pairings

Holiday dinners are a wonderful part of the season’s traditions. Few pairings are quite as timeless as prime cuts of beef with lush, red wine. This classic combination is celebrated as friends and family gather to create feasts from time-honored family recipes: traditional dishes like Standing Rib Roast au Jus, Prime Rib, Lamb Chops Provencal, and Slow-Smoked Tri-Tip.

As a family-owned winery, we love serving our wines at our holiday meals. Since we are based in the Napa Valley we’re blessed to be able to grow some of the finest cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, and cabernet franc in the world. Here are our recommendations for red meat and red wine pairings that will make your Holiday dinners memorable and delicious.

Red Wine with Rib Roast and Prime Rib

When picturing Christmas Dinner the classic Standing Rib Roast aus jus always comes to mind. Whether you go bone-in or bone-out, rib roast is one of the most tender and flavorful cuts you can cook. For this rich meal, we recommend our 2016 Cultivar Wine Cabernet Sauvignon, Leaky Lake Vineyard, Napa Valley. Organically grown just up the hill from Caspar Estate, it is perhaps our boldest cabernet, with a long, lingering finish and tannins that compliment prime rib.
A bottle of 2016 Leaky Lake Cabernet Sauvignon with a wine glass and a decanter

And speaking of Caspar Estate, Christmas is a great time to go all-out on our Estate wines. The 2019 Caspar Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is a stellar pairing with prime rib and rib roast. This wine is sold only by allocation – if you’d like to get on the list, click here.

Finally, another great pairing with a rib roast is our 2018 Cultivar Wine Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, Napa Valley. Though still young, it’s powerful yet balanced – it has all the structure of a classic Napa cabernet, but perhaps a little more refinement than the Leaky Lake.

A Delicious Dinner of Cabernet Franc and Lamb

Whether you serve a leg of lamb or rack of lamb, it pairs well with Cabernet Franc. As a Holiday staple, lamb is a meat with delicious versatility but certainty more subtlety than a rib roast. Our favorite pairing with lamb is the 2014 Caspar Estate Cabernet Franc (we may have a large-format bottle available) but if you don’t have a bottle on hand open our 2019 Cultivar Wine Cabernet Franc, Oak Knoll, Napa Valley. A bottle of Caspar Estate Cabernet Franc with a plate of Mustard-Crusted Lamb Chops

With its fruit-forward profile, bright acid, and soft tannins, it pairs beautifully with any style, from Mustard-Crusted Lamb Chops to Rosemary Leg of Lamb.

If you’re as much a fan of 100% cabernet franc as we are, get on the allocation list for the Caspar Estate Cabernet Franc. We’re looking forward to a new release of this amazing wine in 2022.

A table set for a holiday dinner with a 3-liter bottle of Cultivar Cabernet Sauvignon

Of course, fans of cabernet will tell you lamb pairs wonderfully with a good cab. We suggest our 2019 Cultivar Wine Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa County. Perhaps the softest of our cabernets, it won’t overwhelm your more delicate lamb entrees.

A Holiday Dinner of Red Wine and Tri-Tip

The tri-tip is a cut that was born in our home state of California, where butchers in Santa Maria (along the central coast) carved this 5-pound cut from the subprimal sirloin. The tri-tip has since gained popularity nationwide. You can prepare it seared for a few minutes on each side, then into a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes for medium-rare perfection. Or you may prefer it smoked for about 6 hours.
A holiday dinner with rib eye steak and a bottle of Cultivar Wine Pinot Noir

The perfect pairing with a smokey meat with a wine is our 2019 Cultivar Wine Pinot Noir, Russian River. Pinots have an inherent earthiness that brings out the flavor of smoked meats. Some might think that a pinot noir isn’t bold enough to stand up to a fatty sirloin cut like tri-tip, but the cold, moist air blown in from the Russian River in northern California creates a pinot noir that’s both luscious and powerful.

If you’re grilling that tri-tip instead, pair it with the 2017 Cultivar Wine Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. This vintage falls right in the middle between our most subtle and boldest cabernets.

Wines For A Happy New Year

New Year’s Eve the perfect occasion for a dinner party, and according to The Food Network, is one of the most popular times of the year for shellfish. If you’re featuring fresh Dungeness crab or Maine Lobster, the traditional way to go would be to start off your evening with Cultivar Wine Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine, then serving our 2019 Cultivar Wine Chardonnay, Oakville, with your main course.

But can you pair seafood with red wine? Absolutely! Try our aged and delicate 2015 Cultivar Wine Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley. It’s especially delicious with Oysters Rockefeller or Scallops with Chili Aioli.

And if you’re looking for a unique, festive touch to your Holiday meals, try a large-format bottle. Cultivar Wine and Caspar Estate have many cabernets in sizes ranging from Magnums (two bottles worth of wine) to 9-liter (a full case). These bottles bring fun to the party, but they’re also the best format for older vintages. Have everyone sign the bottle and you will have a wonderful memento as well.
A table with a holiday dinner, including festive poppers and an etched bottle of Caspar Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Order your wine by December 20th for New Year’s!

Whether you’re enjoying the Holidays with your whole family, or you find yourself keeping the party more intimate this year, all of here at Cultivar Wine & Caspar Estate wish you a joyous Holiday Season and a very Happy New Year!

A couple toasts with sparkling wine, the most versatile wine for the holidays