Here, robust red wines to match a substantial holiday roast.
Louis M. Martini

Q: What are the best Californian, Italian and French wine values to go with a holiday rib roast?

A: Substantial cuts of meat like a rib roast tend to go well with equally robust red wines, especially ones that have a fair amount of tannic structure. Here are some terrific choices.


2006 Ravenswood Vintners Blend Petite Sirah ($10)

The latest addition to Ravenswood's popular Vintners Blend line is a juicy, dark-fruited Petite Sirah with lots of spice on the finish.

2007 The Show Cabernet Sauvignon ($15)

A full-throttle California Cabernet, this red combines grapes from Sonoma and Mendocino with a touch of Napa Valley fruit. It's polished enough to serve with a rib roast, but it would also be fantastic with burgers.

2007 Louis M. Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon ($17)

This renowned Napa winery was established in 1933 and has focused on Cabernet Sauvignon since its inception. That expertise pays off in this lightly dusty, blackberry-rich red.

2007 The Seventy Five Wine Company The Sum ($20)

Smoky currant notes are at the core of this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. It's unusual to find Napa Valley–designated wine that's this affordable and good.


2008 Bibi Graetz Casamatta Toscana ($12)

The Casamatta (which means "crazy house") is made from Sangiovese, the signature grape of Tuscany. It recalls fresh, wild berries, with a touch of earthiness on the finish.

2006 Santi Solane Valpolicella Ripasso ($15)

Santi is known for its luscious, expensive Amarones. This Valpolicella, typically a lighter wine, is made using the skins of Amarone grapes, which adds richness to its cherry flavors.

2007 Selvapiana Chianti Rufina ($17)

Wines from Tuscany's Chianti Rufina zone are on a par with those from Chianti Classico. Selvapiana's basic bottling is supple and smooth in texture, with cherry and dried-herb notes.

Joe Bastianich on Italian Wines:


2007 Les Deux Rives Corbières Rouge ($10)

Herbal aromas in the rustic fruit here suggest the hillsides of France's Languedoc, where the wine is produced. It's a blend of several southern French varieties, including Grenache and Syrah.

2007 Domaine du Gour de Chaulé Côtes-du-Rhône ($15)

This Rhône estate, founded in 1900, began bottling its own wines in 1972. Its focus on Grenache pays off in this vibrant, raspberry-scented red.

2007 Les Vignes de Bila-Haut ($15)

Famed Rhône Valley winemaker Michel Chapoutier's new project in France's Côtes du Roussillon region is the source for this blackberry-peppery bottling.

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Holiday Wines
Lamb Chops with Frizzled Herbs
Frying herbs like rosemary, parsley and sage for less than 45 seconds in a half inch of oil makes them ultracrispy; they are delicious with tender lamb chops.
| Credit: © Con Poulos