Holiday Wine Pairings

The holiday season is upon us and around each day presents a new temptation for the taste buds. From the smells of pumpkin pie and gingerbread that seem to be wafting out of every oven to the beautifully photographed entrees that grace the cover of every magazine in the checkout line, this season is heaven for the avid chef. But for those of us that are less than gifted in the kitchen or simply too busy to perform the feats of culinary prowess the months between November and January can be a blur of sheepishly handing over store-bought onion dip or hiding burnt baking efforts behind more attractive creations on the dessert table. This year though, even the most underachieving cooks can make an elegant contribution to the holiday meal by bringing or sending a thoughtfully paired wine gift. Here are some wine suggestions that brilliantly complement every part of the holiday meal.

Appetizers: Champagne gifts immediately gets a crowd into the festive spirit and the crispness of the bubbly pairs well with lighter fare. GiftTree’s, Cheers to You Champagne Basket is a perfect choice, as it comes with the requisite champagne as well as an array of appetizers such as bruschetta and bonbons au chocolat, sure to please anyone in the party.

Turkey:  The traditional Thanksgiving dish demands a wine that can stand up to the aromatic spices in the stuffing while complementing the smoothness of the gravy and the meat. Australian Shiraz stands up to the challenge nicely as it isn’t abrasive like some younger reds, but has a distinct spiciness that makes it a formidable contribution to the dinner table. Impress your family and friends with a bottle of Greg Norman Estates Limestone Coast Shiraz in The Wine Traveler with matching corkscrew and travel case.

Ham:  Although some might recommend a white to go alongside the sweetness of ham, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest a bold Zinfandel. The intense currant flavors and the long, lingering finish will cut the sweetness of the ham and add depth to the flavors of side dishes. The ruby red color and intense bouquet of Zinfandel almost begs for spotlight presentation in a decanter. Fortunately, GiftTree’s Wine Aficionado Gift Set is a complete package: a bottle of Rosenblum Rockpile Road Zinfandel and a personalized decanter for keepsake presentation.

Prime Rib: Arguably the finest and richest cut of meat on the list; this sumptuous entrée and the host who prepared it deserve a wine of distinction. A bottle of 2008 Groth Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon fits the bill perfectly. This exceptional vineyard is a perennial favorite of Cabernet enthusiasts for good reason. Their Napa Valley cabs, consistently rated around 93 points, are lush in flavor and supple in texture, a perfect complement to the richness of the prime rib. GiftTree’s exclusive heirloom burlwood box lends an air of style to the presentation of the gift.

Dessert:  Ruby port is the classic dessert favorite. It balances the bitterness of chocolate desserts and accentuates the spices and aromas of holiday desserts like pumpkin or pecan pie. The Warre’s Vintage Port 2007 Gift Set includes a bottle of opulent Warre’s port and a selection of Fran’s sea salt caramels, making it perfect dessert…or post-dessert dessert.

Missing the whole event or not sure what’s being served?:  Cover all your bases with the West Coast Wine Quartet it includes a bottle each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, both excellent pairings with holiday dishes, as well as a bottle each of Chardonnay and Pinot Gris to please those guests who prefer a lighter flavor palate.  The basket is finished with a generous assortment of savory and sweet hors d’oeuvres from smoked salmon to Godiva chocolates, to add a special flourish to any holiday meal.


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