Feast of the Seven Fishes: Holiday Wine Pairings

Feast of the Seven Fishes: Holiday Wine Pairings

The holiday season is all about getting together and enjoying great food and good cheer. At Traveling Vineyard, we hope to bring the wine to your holiday table. For those of you out there who are dreaming of a delicious Christmas, we present the Feast of the Seven Fishes, wine style.

The Feast of the Seven Fishes has its roots in Italy where it is better known as a vigil meal enjoyed in anticipation of Christmas Day, when those of the Catholic faith could again eat red meat. Today, the “seven fishes” menu is a popular Christmas Eve meal for those of many faiths and tastes across the U.S..

Preparing seven different fish dishes, however, might not work for your hectic holiday schedule! Don’t clam up just yet! We’ve designed an Italian-inspired meal with recipes and sides all based on this tasty meal tradition—and, all paired with Traveling Vineyard wines selected by our Director of Sommology.

Festive Beginnings

Welcome your revelers with a festive toast, and start the day with our 2021 Three Hearts, Fizzy Rosè wine! A fun way to celebrate the season, Three Hearts‘ effervescent bubbles will also lend themselves perfectly with our first course. For your feast, begin with a creamy and savory crab dip served piping hot from the oven. We love Food & Wine magazine’s recipe for New England-Style Crab Dip with Brown-Butter Crumbs. It has a kick of hot sauce and it’s topped with rich brown-butter crumbs—yum. You may also pair this first dip suggestion alongside a refreshing white wine to balance the heft and spice of the dip. Pair your crab dip with our award-winning 2021 Jitterbug, Sauvignon Blanc hailing from Lodi, California. Jitterbug’s bright and herbaceous flavors are sure to provide a welcome complement to this zesty and rich first course.

Once the wine and conversation are flowing, move your guests to the dining room for a seafood stew that’s out of this world. Here’s where the taste of Italy begins! Cioppina is a tomato-based stew that features clams, mussels, shrimp and your favorite catch of the day, like halibut or salmon. It all comes together with garlic, shallots, crushed red pepper and even a splash or two of white wine. When it comes to pairing, however, this course is reserved for red. Our 2020 Santoreggia, Sangiovese pairs with cioppina because although the wine has enough acid to be pleasing with the tomatoes, you don’t want to pair it with anything too full-bodied or bold, which will compete with the flavors of the stew. Our Italian favorite of the moment is another great choice. 2021 Medaglione, Super Tuscan Red Blend is an indulgent red that should be on every holiday table!

Mangia, Mangia! Main Course

Tender scampi over herbed linguine is a meal that was made for the holidays. It’s warm, buttery and infused with garlic and lemon, yet light enough to leave you a little room for dessert. Pair Ina Garten’s Shrimp Scampi recipe with our award-winning 2018 Steeple Street, Chardonnay or our latest Italian white, 2021 Amico de Penna, Grechetto.

Balance all that butter intake with some healthy greens. Try our pick for a side dish, an Italian favorite known as “greens and beans.” The “green” in this dish is fresh kale and the “beans” are white cannellini beans, all cooked in garlic and chicken stock for a satisfying side. Pair with 2021 Polpo Blu, Pecorino or 2021 Zapatazo, Torrontés.

Dolce Fine (A Sweet Finish!)

Tiramisu is a delicate and delicious Italian dessert that features dark chocolate, espresso, rum and marscapone cheese layered between Ladyfingers (a sweet sponge biscuit). You can find an amazing tiramisu at your favorite Italian bakery, or try your hand at making this zabaglione-like dessert at home. The espresso and dark chocolate elements invite a bold red like a Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. We recommend our 2018 LUXX, Merlot, California, our 2020 Bentgate, Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon or our 2021 Rayado, Central Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Do you have a traditional “Seven Fishes” recipe that you like to serve on Christmas Eve? Share it with us on our Facebook page. We’ll be happy to make a wine recommendation!

Order your holiday wine by December 11 latest for the best chance of a first delivery attempt by Christmas!

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