Boozy Pantry Pairings
Jacobsen Salt Co.
Dec 01, 2023
For all of those holiday parties you've RSVP'ed "yes" to, avoid showing up empty handed with this simple cheers-worthy gift guide we curated with our favorite wine director extraordinaire, Kourtney Paranteau.
It features four types of wine from her wine cellar (ok, her garage) paired with an offering from the JSC line-up, so you can sip and savor you way through the holidays.
I’m no stranger to being accused of snobbery, and my recent renaissance into the realm of Champagne might not be helping my case, but it does class up my wine collection. Plus, the holidays are no time to cut corners! So while I enjoy throwing back glass after glass of Pet Nat in the summer months, I spend this time of year splurging on bottles of classified Champagne.
Like every other luxury good, from handbags to caviar, Champagne accrued a reputation that coincided with lofty price tags. Ranging anywhere from the lower $40s (remember, even Costco’s Kirkland brand offers proper Champagne) to a price only accessible to the Rihannas of the world, a truly great bottle of Champagne for your home doesn't need to spill into the triple digits.
While big Champagne houses like Cristal and Clicquot clock as immediately recognizable, relatively small producers, like Chavost, produce bubbles that sing every high note of their more famous relatives, and for a more attainable $75 a bottle. Lately, my favorite among Chavost’s cuvees is their Brut de Noir made entirely from Pinot Meunier. Much like all of their wines, it contains no sulfites, but more importantly, delivers a crisp, green apple and sharp berry palate with persistent, tickling bubbles. It’s a perfect match for JSC's equally perky and dimensional Infused Lemon Zest Salt, which will match the Champagne’s high acidity and help to temper fatty foods like fried side dishes and soft cheeses.
Somewhat of a wide category to recommend, I know, but in the last year, I’ve fallen hard for Italian wine’s rustic, approachable quality. While I’ve found myself leaning into extra briny Vermentino, I’ve also been pairing green pasta and seafood dishes with crispy and dry Trebbiano, like Collecapretta, which goes hand in hand with any simpler dish where I use JSC's herby and lemony Italian Seasoning.
Even when reaching for a bottle of Italian grapes grown in the new world, like the seriously impressive Vermentino from California’s Prima Materia, I make sure my little seasoning jar is nearby to tie all of the tasting notes together.
From my time on the restaurant floor, I’ve found that a lot of Orange wine lovers have a preconceived notion that all Oranges must taste extra funky and heavily honeyed, and therefore might be a difficult pairing for most meals. But the more of them I’ve tasted, the more I’ve come to see that they’re less of a Goldilocks or glass slipper, and more of a Little Mermaid or Hannah Montana–able to slip into a casual setting and be enjoyed with snacks or even paired with heavier dishes like BBQ, stews, and seasoned rice.
I gravitate towards skin-contact Georgian Rkatsiteli or Greek Debina, Vlahiko, and Bekari (like in this semi-sparking Paleokerisio) for their fresh complexity and willingness to bend to both light fare and hearty dishes. I tend to notice a whisper of honeysuckle and notes reminiscent of fruit leathers and dried apricots, so for pairing, I peel the seal on a jar of Jacobsen Co. Raw Alfalfa Honey. As I'm uncorking my go-to Orange wine, I'm arranging a simple charcuterie board and brushing glaze on grilled meats before serving.
I'm also on the Gamay bandwagon, a recognizable grape to nearly every wine enthusiast, especially as my cooking habits become more mirepoix and meat-dependent in these cooler months. Though soft enough to sit next to a heartier, woodsy fish like trout or salmon, this varietal is a no-brainer when roasting a whole bird or popping a prime rib or pot roast in the oven. One of my favorites is a bottle of Sang Neuf, an approachably priced fuller bodied wine with dark fruit balanced with freshness and minerality. A friend of classic holiday fare, it’s no wonder that Gamay, and its celebratory spinoff, Gamay Nouveau, are almost synonymous with the chilly drift from fall into winter.
The other flavor I associate with the holiday season and the many warming dishes I like to indulge in is the unmistakable, cheery aroma of rosemary. Even though I have a rosemary bush of my very own (in my neighbor’s yard), I routinely reach for my jar of Infused Rosemary Salt for the times when I don’t feel like plucking the pine-like leaves from the stick or chopping them into more palpable pieces.
Heading to a holiday party and are in a pinch? Check out these shops that carry JSC products and a great wine selection: