Wine pairings for turkey and ham

December 5, 2012 

If you are one of those families that serves both roasted turkey and ham for Christmas dinner, the wine choice can be tricky. With the distinct flavors of these two main dishes, what wine is best? Zinfandel is a good match for turkey and Chardonnay goes well with the sweetness of honey baked or glazed ham.

St. Francis Winery opened its' doors more than 35 years ago in Sonoma County, produces Zinfandel and Chardonnay wines that are easy to find and at a decent price. The St. Francis Winery is named in honor of a combination recognizing St. Francis of Assisi -- who founded the Franciscan Order and the Franciscan Order itself. The Franciscan Order not only established Spanish missions in California in the mid-1700s with the intent to spread the Christian faith to that area of North America, but they also introduced European grape varietals as well

Today, Zinfandel is one of the more popular wines that St. Francis produces. When the word Zinfandel is mentioned, many think of White Zin -- that sweet pink-colored wine -- but in reality, Zinfandel wines are deep ruby red in color, bursting with spicy, peppery and earthy overtones.

The 2009 St. Francis Sonoma County Old Vines Zinfandel was produced from grapes grown on vines that are between 55 and 100 years old. In order to be considered as an "old vine," the vine must be at least 50 years old. These old vines produce a smaller crop, resulting in grapes which are more highly concentrated with intense flavors. This wine has a spicy, peppery aroma, with flavors of black cher

ry and vanilla. While I enjoy drinking Zinfandel throughout the year, this wine pairs very well with the traditional turkey dinner that is served for Christmas and Thanksgiving.

The 2011 St. Francis Sonoma County Chardonnay starts with hints of citrus on the nose, followed by flavors of pineapple with a hint of butterscotch. A glazed ham baked with slices of pineapple on top is a really nice complement to this Chardonnay. If you are a fan of oaky chardonnays, then you will most likely enjoy this wine.

Jim Rawe, a family attorney in Bradenton, is an avid collector of fine wines. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at

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