Wine Picks from Four Seasons Hotel Austin for a Perfectly Paired Holiday Dinner

Festive wine suggestions from award-winning sommelier Mark Sayre

Austin, U.S.A. – 2012-11-06 — / — After days of planning and hours of cooking, the last thing anyone wants is a wine that makes the food at their holiday feast fall flat.

“Food is typically the star at holiday gatherings such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, but what many people fail to realize is that wine is a key supporting character,” says Mark Sayre, sommelier at TRIO since 2007. “When paired well, it can elevate the entire evening to the next level.”

Below, Sayre takes the guess-work out of finding the perfect wine to pair with any holiday meal, from traditional roast turkey to spicy Texas tamales:

Roast Turkey: Pinot Gris from Alsace

“While Pinot Gris is the same grape as Pinot Grigio, you can forget the crisp austerity of the Italian version. In the northeastern part of France, Pinot Gris ripens into a full-bodied spicy white with honeyed intensity that stands up not only to succulent turkey, but to all casseroles and hearty winter vegetables.”

Ham: Dry Rosé

“Due to the pink colour, rosés sometime receive an unfair reputation for being sweet. Truthfully, most rosés are dry and are packed with aromas and flavours of gorgeous red fruits, making them extremely versatile with all types of food. Rosés have the complexity and fruit of a light-bodied red coupled with the refreshing crispness of a white, making them perfect for a holiday ham.”

Pork Roast: Rosso di Montalcino from Tuscany

“Made from Tuscany’s flagship varietal, Sangiovese, Rosso di Montalcino has aromas and flavours of bright red cherry, fresh savuory herbs and rich hints of mineral and leather. The wine’s crisp acidity and suave tannins provide a perfect contrast to pork’s richness. The baby brother to the longer-aged (and more expensive) Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino provides a lot of value for the dollar.”

Prime Rib: Cabernet or Merlot from Washington State

“Let’s not kid ourselves, with prime rib we want Bordeaux-inspired grape varieties without the Bordeaux or Napa Valley price tag. Luckily, Washington State is doing amazing Cabernet and Merlot-based wines loaded with all of the sultry dark fruits, spice box and fantastic mouth feel and grip that pairs well with marbled beef. The average vine age in Washington is fairly young, so imagine how much more complex and deep these wines are going to be in the future.”

Tamales: German Riesling

“The challenge of pairing wine with classic Texas tamales is the spice, since spicy dishes tend to highlight only the alcohol and structure (tannin and acid) in dry wines, pushing down all of the wonderful fruit character.

“The only foil to spice? Sweetness. For those thinking, ‘I don’t like sweet wines’ or ‘sweet wines are for the novice,’ I need you to trust me on this one. German Rieslings, not all of which are sweet, provide some of the most complex wines on earth with heavenly flavours of green apple, white peach, quince and white flowers. Their mouthwatering acidity and low alcohol make them a favourite of connoisseurs and a wonderful match to a wide variety of foods – especially ones with Texas heat.”

Pumpkin Pie: Vin Santo from Italy

“If it’s possible to make this beloved holiday dessert even better, Vin Santo from Italy is the wine to do it. Historically known as ‘holy wine,’ Vin Santo has asserted itself as one of the world’s great dessert wines. Made from drying white grapes in a special ventilated room until they’re sugar-packed, intense little raisins, the nectar that results is brimming with flavours of medjool dates, dried apricots, honeycomb and candied orange peel.”

Pecan Pie: Aged Tawny Port

“A staple in the homes of most Texans during the holidays, pecan pie deserves a special wine. Tawny Ports are one style of the fortified specialty of Portugal and are defined by the length of time they spend in oak cask. Whether you choose a 10-, 20- or a 40-year-old port, you should expect a beautiful, layered, intense wine full of maple, roasted nuts and rich dried fruit character with a finish that lingers at length on the palate (although not as long as that pie lingers on our waistlines!).”

About Mark Sayre and TRIO

With TRIO since 2007, Mark shares his extensive knowledge through a progressive wine program that is widely regarded as one of the best in the southwestern US. The 33-years-old has also made a name for himself nationally with such designations as Wine & Spiritsmagazine’s “7 Best New Sommeliers” (October 2010) and the title of Texas’ Best Sommelier (September 2007) crowding his impressive resume. The future looks bright, as well, since Sayre is currently poised to become one of the youngest members of the international Court of Master Sommeliers, an elite group of wine professionals with fewer than 200 members worldwide.

Whether it’s Champagne (“the perfect food-friendly beverage,” he says), grand cru Burgundy (“a crystalline windowpane that allows terroir to shine through”), or single-vineyard Barolo (“a category that has seen a quality renaissance”), Mark selects wines that will transport guests to the places where those wines are made. His goal is to provide “a voyage in a glass,” poured nightly along the banks of Austin’s Lady Bird Lake.

Hotel Press Contact

Kerri Holden
Senior Director of Public Relations – Americas
98 San Jacinto Boulevard
Austin, Texas, U.S.A. 78701-4039
Email Kerri Holden
T. 1 (512) 685-8048


Sommelier Mark Sayre

Sommelier Mark Sayre