I confess that I am a carnivore, and when it comes to carnivorous satisfaction, prime rib takes center stage. There is this cool holiday (one of my favorites) coming up called Christmas. It is traditional in our family that every Christmas I prepare my special prime rib with baked red potatoes for dinner. I don’t do a lot of things very well, but I can make a killer prime rib.

Christmas dinner in most cases, is less complicated than the Thanksgiving feast. At least at my house, there are basically three items that are served and sometimes four if you include rolls. Far less mental preparation is required to put the meal together. I know there are folks who do ham and sometimes turkey. I will address ham in another article, and if you do turkey again I think you are a glutton for punishment.

I have also noticed, that many find Christmas a good excuse to splurge a little on the wine purchase. In my wine department I see folks pushing the envelope on their normal spending limits for wine. I say “good for you”, we need to spoil ourselves and our guests every once in a while. The question arises: What type of red wine do you seek out for that special prime rib meal?

A big cab of course…That would seem to be the obvious answer, and it is a good one. My only caution here is trying to steer away from a fruit-forward cab that lacks the structure it needs to stand up to the meat. There are quite a few cabs out there that are simply fruit bombs and that’s o.k. if you are drinking it as a cocktail wine (so the trend these days). In this case you want a cab with good structure, solid tannins, fruit and balanced acidity. I’ll recommend a couple and of course you can check with your local wine expert for advice. Here are a few cabs that I would consider for my prime rib meal.

2012 Nelms Road Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley, WA)… $22.

Plush yet structured with loads of dark currant and black cherry fruit. Silky on the palate, and at the same time showing some backbone. This is drinking very good now even as young as it is. For the quality, this price is a steal!
(Distributed in Washington State by Vehrs, Spokane)

2011 Casas Del Bosque Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon (Repal Valley, Chile)… $9.

This could be one of the best deals in Cab I’ve seen in a while. If you are planning for a large crowd, this Cab will help the budget and impress at the same time.
Aromas of tobacco, rose petals and dark cherries. Smooth tannins,good structure with a hint of chalky minerality on the back-end. Dark cherry notes all over the palate with underlying tobacco, minerals and a hint of tar. All this for nine bucks…Are you serious?
(Distributed in Washington State by Grape Expectations, Seattle)

2010 Cor Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Mckinley Springs Vineyards…Horse Heaven Hills, WA)… $32.

Tipping the upper side of the price range, which I know a lot of you like to do this time of year, is this fabulous Cab from one of my favorite WA producers.
Perfumed and meaty on the nose with notes of red currants, menthol and tobacco. Sweet tannins back notes of currants, beauty bark, roasted meats and a hint of mint (or pencil lead if you want to geek it up). Nice balance of acid and fruit with solid tannic structure. Nice spice hit on the mouth-watering, red currant finish with a little grip action. Make sure this has a juicy piece of prime with it, otherwise it’s too much. Not meant to drink solo.
(Distributed by Vinum Imports’ Seattle, WA)

Certainly not to be over-looked for your Christmas prime would be a Bordeaux (the red version of course). Many are Cab based and have the muscle to stand up to a seasoned, juicy piece of roast. I have found many great values from the ’09 and ’10 vintages that would make you proud to be serving them to your guests. I will give you a couple of suggestions.

2009 Chateau Argadens Bordeaux Superieur (Bordeaux, France)… $15.

This is really a beauty for the price and could be one you might want to buy a case or two of to cellar away for the next 5-8 years, although it’s drinking pretty damn good right now.
Aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg hit you on the nose joined by notes of black tea and blackberries. Structured and smooth notes of black currants (with a meat element in the shadows), perfumed violets and spice. Cherry and tobacco notes come through on the lingering finish. This baby shows some muscle, but stays delicious.
(distributed by Vinum Imports… Seattle, WA)

2010 Chateau Sorbey Haut-Medoc Vin De Bordeaux(Bordeaux, France)… $15.

Concentrated black licorice and black currants come through on the nose with a little hit of red cherries and raisin. Silky, spicy notes of blackberries and currants up front. On the mid-palate the tannins get a little serious and are joined by notes of blueberries and raspberries that flow into a lingering finish and a touch of tobacco. Again, this one needs the roast to get the most (sorry, I couldn’t help myself).
(Distributed by Vinum Imports, Seattle, WA)

2009 Chateau Cap Leon Veyrin Cru Bourgeois (Listrac-Medoc Bordeaux, France)… $30.

Last but not least, I wanted to throw in this bad boy from Bordeaux. Again, some feel compelled to spend a little more on a bottle this time of year. This my friends is more than worthy.
Deep and penetrating aromas of rose petal’ currants and tobacco… Very heady. Polished tannins back notes of currants and tobacco. Blackberry notes hit on the mid-palate leading into a lingering (it hangs around for a long time) notes of worn leather, tobacco and currants. This is a sexy Bordeaux with a lot of strength.
(Distributed by Vinum Imports Seattle’ WA)

Well, that is all I’m going to throw at you for now. Life is too difficult to have too much to think about. The bottom line, is to drink what you like. Remember, it is our job as wine writers and geeks to try to give you some direction. Listen or not, it is entirely up to you and you are not wrong if you don’t. I just hope that in some form I am helpful. Have a great holiday.

Cheers! Stan The Wine Man

About Stan The Wine Man

I am a blue collar wine guy who has been in the biz for over twenty years. I work at a store in a tourist destination stop. I work hard at finding the best wine for the money. I love the challenge of learning my customer's palate so I can find the best wine for them, whether it is Petrus or white zinfandel. Cheers!
This entry was posted in Main and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply