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The Feast of the Seven Fishes: A Delectable Holiday Tradition Paired with Exquisite Wines

CorkRules | Dec 21, 2023

The Feast of the Seven Fishes, a tradition deeply rooted in Italian-American heritage, is an extravagant seafood banquet celebrated on Christmas Eve. This age-old custom brings families together to enjoy seven (or more) fish courses paired beautifully with select wines. Let's delve into this delightful culinary journey and explore some exquisite wine pairings for each course.

1. Antipasto Platter – Vermentino

We start our feast with an antipasto platter featuring marinated anchovies, octopus salad, and calamari rings. The ideal pairing here would be a bottle of Vermentino from Sardinia's renowned producer Cantina di Gallura. Known for its vibrant acidity and mineral-driven flavors of lime zest and green apple, it perfectly complements the briny taste of seafood appetizers.

2. Linguine alle Vongole - Soave Classico

Next up is linguine alle vongole; pasta tossed in white clam sauce garnished with parsley. To accompany this dish we suggest Pieropan’s Soave Classico made from Garganega grapes grown in volcanic soils around Veneto region offering floral aromas coupled with notes of almond that blend harmoniously with clams' delicate flavor profile.

3. Shrimp Scampi - Chardonnay

For the third course comes shrimp scampi sautéed in garlic butter sauce served over spaghetti or risotto where a Californian Chardonnay like Ramey Russian River Valley Chardonnay works wonders due to its full-bodied character combined with crisp citrus flavors which cut through rich buttery sauces while enhancing shrimp's sweetness.

4. Fried Calamari - Prosecco Superiore DOCG

Fried calamari needs something light yet flavorful such as Bisol’s Prosecco Superiore DOCG. This sparkling wine from Veneto region is made using Glera grapes and offers a delightful balance of fruitiness, acidity, and effervescence that complements the crispness of fried calamari without overpowering it.

5. Baccalà - Verdicchio

Baccalà or salted cod stewed with tomatoes and olives calls for something like Umani Ronchi’s Casal di Serra Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore. Made in Marche region from Verdicchio grape variety, this white wine has subtle notes of citrus fruits along with a hint of almond which pairs well with the robust flavors of baccala.

6. Grilled Swordfish - Etna Rosso

Grilled swordfish served alongside caponata requires a medium-bodied red such as Benanti's Etna Rosso made primarily from Nerello Mascalese grapes grown on volcanic soils around Mount Etna in Sicily. Its bright acidity combined with delicate tannins and earthy undertones make it an excellent match for grilled fish dishes.

7. Tiramisu – Vin Santo

No Italian feast would be complete without dessert; Tiramisu paired beautifully with Avignonesi’s Vin Santo di Montepulciano crafted predominantly from Trebbiano Toscano (or Procanico) grapes dried over straw mats before being aged in traditional oak barrels called caratelli. This sweet Tuscan wine exhibits rich honeyed flavors complementing tiramisu's creamy texture while balancing its sweetness perfectly.

The Feast of Seven Fishes not only celebrates the joyous holiday season but also showcases Italy's rich seafood cuisine enhanced by their diverse range of wines spanning across various regions each possessing unique terroir characteristics reflected within every bottle produced there.

Remember, these are just suggestions; feel free to experiment according to your personal preference because at the end what matters most is the joy of sharing good food and wine with loved ones during this festive season.

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