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

  • Armas de Guerra Rose

    #1 Armas de Guerra Rose

    My heavens! 50+ year old, organic Mencia vines from some of the highest vineyards in Bierzo. Subtle aromas of strawberry, pink grapefruit and white pepper play with clean river rock minerality touched by zesty key lime. Balance and finish are tied together with a vibrating acidity. Structured and executed like a world class ballerina doing flamenco. Sells out every year for good reason. Lighter than Provence, a different planet than White Zin. The only hard part is only opening one bottle at a time.
    (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 34 bottles)

  • Lavender Row Pinot Noir

    #3 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 7 bottles)

  • Tintero Moscato

    #4 Tintero Moscato

    Sori Gramella refers to the one of the only single vineyard Moscatos, and Marco is the only producer to bottle this striking limestone amphitheater commercially. Once the 30 year old vines give up their bounty, and the grapes are harvested and pressed, they are kept in stainless steel at a low temperature to prevent fermentation until an order is received in order to provide the freshest wine possible. (behind by 7 bottles)

Fun New Arrivals

  • 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?

  • Poquito Moscato

    Poquito Moscato

    Lightly sparkling, fruity and sassy, Poquito is small in size but big on taste. Delicate floral aromas combine with a sweet yet refreshing palate of ripe peaches, pears and apricots. Apply liberally at any social occasion. Great right out of the bottle but really amazing with mint and rum as a mojito!

  • Gewurz

    Gewurz

    A CA Gewurztraminer crafted in the style of those from the Alps. Great crisp minerality, rose petal and lychee notes, with bright acidity to hold it together. All organic from the rugged and cooler Potter Valley in Mendocino. Try with grilled chicken or pork chops to see what a great food wine this is!

  • Poseidon Pinot Noir

    Poseidon Pinot Noir

    From vineyards with a view of the bay comes this well balanced, lively and delicious Pinot Noir. A easy drinking, medium-bodied wine showing off some rare and black pepper spiced Hungarian oak to balance the raspberry aromas and flavors.