Pairings from the Cellar

Around this time of year, we get a lot of questions from people wanting a special wine for their special occasion with people spending so much time looking for that one unique wine to compliment the meal. But Thanksgiving and Christmas are often feasts of diverse food so picking the perfect wine to impress your guests is difficult. Indeed one bottle will never be enough for any crowd of more than one so let yourself explore with only a couple guidelines.

These gatherings are celebrations of friends and family and celebrations are made for bubbly. Avinjo Cava is the go-to at our house on days that end in "y" but the best bubblies for the traditional fare tend to be the ones with some red grape character. Bright raspberry and cranberry flavors are a natural accompaniment. Try an Alsatian Cremant with a solid percentage of Pinot Noir. Or a Blanc de Noir from the U.S. or Champagne. Some Cava roses are out there too, but I'd steer clear of the Treppat based ones. 

One of the challenges with the food on these days is American's favorites tend to be some of the worst pairs with turkey. At least certainly on the white side. Oaky Chardonnay and grassy Pinot Grigio need to stay in the cellar with your big tannic cab when turkey is on the table. The pinot grigio's acid will at least help you chew the turkey but it won't contribute anything else. Face it, have you ever put lemon juice on turkey? What works with turkey is acid and a little sweetness. This shouldn't be a surpise given how well cranberry goes with turkey. Look to Pinot Noir from California and Oregon for that extra softness to work with your bird. Gamay (Beaujolais is a classic pair), and the Grenache/Syrah blends from the Rhone are wonderfully versatile wines for holiday fare as are the stronger flavored roses from Provence. Alsatian and German whites with their magical acid/sweetness will rock your taste buds, I remember a glorious Italian Gewurz from the Dolomites that sang with turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, and more.

Wine Shop GiftsNow if a roast is on the table, things can change on the pairing side but don't forget the many other items that you may be eating as well. The softness and spice of American Zinfandel can actually work quite well with a heavily spiced roast. My other favorite is a Brunello or Rhone Syrah. These two also bring leg of lamb to nirvanic levels!

Dessert usually entails a variety of very sweet pies made from pumpkin, pecan, sweet potato, apple or cranberry. These pies love high acid, densely sweet botrisized wines, with ice wine and Sauternes a natural. Although even a soid Moscato d'Asti can stand in. I prefer to leave the pies alone and curl up with some port in the corner, unless its a good pecan pie wherein a good madiera will make the angels sing.

So please stop by and share with us your favorite pairings or pick up one of ours. While wine is always a great gift, we've brought in some fun wine gifts as well as new Bourbons (A.D. Laws!), rums and tequilas. Please we offer great discounts on wine classes for the wine lover in your family. Have a great holiday season and cheers!!


Orchard Wine Cellar Movers and Shakers This Week

  • Sweet Sunset Chocolate Merlot

    #1 Sweet Sunset Chocolate Merlot

    First lets say that this is Not ChocoVine. This wine is actually made with eighty five percent Merlot and than has natural chocolate cream added to the mix. This is the wine for anyone looking for sweet red or the chocolate lover at home. Great gift for the holidays.
    (Holding the #1 spot)

  • Gran Passione

    #2 Gran Passione

    From the land of Amarone comes a delicious Merlot based blend. To perfectly ripe Merlot (60%) is added juice from dried Corvina grapes ala Amarone. Rich, deep and smooth, this is a remarkable Merlot that may just change your Merlot worldview! (behind by 2 bottles)

  • Misc

    #3 Misc

    (behind by 6 bottles)

  • Lavender Row Pinot Noir

    #4 Lavender Row Pinot Noir

    While French Burgundy may be the highest echelon of this grape, the warm and rugged south of France has a climate similar to CA and can make easy drinking affordable Pinots too. This affordable French beauty offers notes of toasted oak, rhubarb, strawberry, red flowers and crushed stone. But the nose! It truly explodes with the lavender that is grown all around the vines. (behind by 11 bottles)

Fun New Arrivals

  • Maimai Syrah

    Maimai Syrah

    So pretty. Brings a clear nose of Gimblett Gravels terroir beneath lush soft blue and black fruit with lovely violet and lavender notes. Palate is clean, balanced and very approachable. Just a hint of the Northern Rhone's meatiness but mostly bright fruit and enough acidity to hold it in check. Maybe the best NZ Syrah out there??

  • Obsidian Cab

    Obsidian Cab

    A wonderful classic CA Cab with solid structure from the altitude and Hungarian oak. Reserved and dark on the nose with aromas of blackberries, hints of black licorice and coffee. Really nice and elegant. Touch on the masculine side with no jammy, jelly jar junk here. Wonderfully different.

  • Farm to Table

    Farm to Table

    A fun and lighter style from the cool mountains of Victoria. Aromas of fresh strawberry, cherry jam flirt with notes of forest floor a touch of peppery oak. Lively cola and raspberry flavors with vibrant acidity. Darn good value too!

  • Broc Carignan

    Broc Carignan

    From 130+ yr old vines, and on original rootstock comes this remarkable Carignan. All native yeasts, no SO2 used during production means pure bright flavors of tart cherry, blueberry and unmistakeable juicy tang from carbonic maceration. Why spend $34 on wine.com?