Casual dining pairing
Christmas Eve, after church services, family gathers at our home.
Menu will include ham / oysters / turkey / filet and all the sides; would like recommendations for several (4 to 5) pairings, including a dessert wine. Price points +/- $15-$30
Much will depend on the preparation, but here are my "general" choices:
Ham - can be easy, or tough. For rather straight preps, I like Pinot Noir, as some have "bacon" notes, and also some "burnt sugar." At that price-point, I can only think of the Acacia Carneros PN, but others might have options.
Oysters - here, I think of Muscadet (many in your price-point), Chablis (depends on the producer, and the vineyard for the price), Sancere (again, the same applies) and even some domestic (US) SB's.
Turkey - Many Rieslings should work, and the prices should fit. I also like BJ at the Villages level, and PN (see above).
Beef tenderloin - Cab, or a good Merlot, and your options range across the board. For the Merlot, a quality option might be above the price-points.
For the desserts, I would think that you could find the Taylor-Fladgate 10 Year Tawny, at around the top of your price-range. What will the dessert be?
I really do not follow any. I will follow a link to one, that gets posted on CH, but I really do not read any - instead, I just drink... [Grin]
As for chocolates, I really like Banyuls for a pairing, but if one adds, say a raspberry compote, then a full-bodied Merlot has worked for me too. Finding a really good Merlot is still a bit more work (lot of plonk still out there).
A Ruby Port can work too, but much might depend on the chocolate - the Banyuls works in more instances, at least for me.
Good luck, and enjoy,
I hope I'm not too late.
In Muscadet two names stick out in my memory. Ch de Ragotière and Ch de Cléray. I always liked the Muscadets from Savion et fils of which Cléray is one.
May I disagree with Bill about Sancerre with oysters? I think it may be just too big a wine for these delicate mollusks. A lighter SB or Pinot Grigio sounds better to me.
BTW oysters are the one food my doctor forbids me to consume (bout of gout a couple of years ago). You didn't think I would give up wine, did you? <g>
As with most wine pairings, it does come down to personal tastes. While a Loire SB, or even several domestic (US) would work fine, I have yet to find a Sancere, that overpowered the oysters, but then I am usually dining on Gulf Oysters, so they have a "bigger" flavor, than some others.
As for the Muscadet, I have only had the Ch de Cléray, and it was quite nice.
I would also add an Albariño (a couple of spellings), as a possibility, and many will fit into the budget.
In the FWIW Dept., and depending upon the TYPE of oysters-on-the-half shell, I'll opt for . . .
Muscadet -- Domaine de la Pépière (Marc Olivier), Domaine de l'Ecu (Guy Bossard), Château de Cléray.
Picpoul de Pinet -- Hugues Beaulieu (Caves de Pomerols).
Sancerre -- various producers, but without oak and, generally, not from Chavignol (where most of my perferred Sancerres originate).
Chablis -- various producers, but generally "straight" Chablis or Petit Chablis, not 1er or Grand Cru.
Alvarinho/Albariño -- various producers.
Txakoli -- various (but only with very "light" or "delicate" oysters).
Look at some of the most suitable and abundantly available varietals and then see if there's some commonality:
HAM: Riesling or a lighter red like beaujolais.
TURKEY: Syrah or zinfandel. Beaujolais & pinot noir also quite nice.
OYSTER: Chardonnay... 2nd choice is a chardonnay-based champagne. This depends a bit on how the oysters are prepared... any garlic, butter, cream or smoke in the recipe definitely favors chardonnay.
FILET: Really any rich red (cab, merlot, zin, nebbiolo, sangiovese, etc. etc.).
DESSERT: Since you say your friends are bringing their own, then I would anticipate a fair amount of chocolate and fruit. For any type of chocolate you can't do better than a dessert muscat (beaumes de venise, orange, liqueur muscat, etc..). For fruit desserts (tarts, pies, etc.), you can't beat sauternes or a late harvest riesling. Muscat also works nicely with fruits, especially a lighter muscat like beaumes de venise or lighter yet Moscato d'Asti.
Now, look at commonality, if I'm picking max 5 wines for this spread they are: riesling, chardonnay, beaujolais, a rich red, and probably a Moscato d'Asti. All of these should be widely available in any reasonably well stocked wine shop.
I'm a fool for Muscadet with Oysters, and Chateau de Cléray is one of my favorites!
With ham I generally fink out with a Rosé, because so often the preparation (and the ham itself) is sweet(ish), but there are Pinot Noirs that would work. Not sure they're under $30, though.
I'd pribably go for a Riesling (many in your price range) with the turkey, and for the filet, I'd opt for one of the "unsung heroes" of Bordeaux. there are so many "little" chateaux making really tasty juice for (even) under $20 -- but going up to $30 you can really luck out.
My favorite wine with Chocolate -- especially fruit is also in the mix -- is Brachetto d'Acqui, an Italian sparkling red from Piedmont. Otherwise, an assortment of stickies can't go wrong. and for sure Sauternes with blue cheese!