Holiday Wines Part I – The Chardonnay Line Up

Holiday Wines Part I – The Chardonnay Line Up

Before you know it, Thanksgiving will be here! In addition to all I’m grateful for, this has me thinking about wine. And dinner. Our table usually numbers more than 30. We’ve been known to have three turkeys (roasted, grilled, and deep fried) and everyone contributes their favorite side dishes. Many wines pair nicely with turkey, but when it comes to Thanksgiving Dinner, there is so much more happening! A beautifully roasted bird may take center stage at the buffet table, but the meal itself is all about the sides. We tend to overload our plates with those beloved side dishes—crowding that sliced turkey into a hodge-podge patchwork of fabulous flavors, textures, and colors. That’s right where tradition slowly changes and grows for the better. I mean, before JoJo joined our Thanksgiving celebration, we didn’t have jalapeño-spiked cheesy corn at the table. Now her Texas influence is an integral part of our annual tradition. For me, pushing some spicy, creamy corn into the mashed potatoes and gravy was an obvious move, but when Uncle Fran’s bittersweet orange-cranberry chutney mingled in . . . a serendipitous flavor bomb! Chardonnay is definitely one of the go-to favorites for Thanksgiving Dinner. It’s versatile yet familiar. And Chardonnay is known to play well with others. Whether you’re serving dinner this year or you’d like a nice bottle to present to your hosts, here’s a guide to some of our favorite Chardonnay trios for 2020. Lighter Chardonnay Trios For milder fare, we suggest a lighter Chardonnay. Think classic turkey dinner with simply prepared vegetable dishes, ambrosia salad, and Parker House rolls. We think these Chardonnays...
Holiday Wines Part II – The Reds

Holiday Wines Part II – The Reds

Red is the color deeply entwined with some of our strongest feelings—passion, love, rage, danger. It even symbolizes good luck. What better wine to bring to you next family gathering? For many reasons, the holidays are a great time to stock up on wine—to enjoy, to gift, and to collect. Like the color itself, red wines offer a spectrum of bold and dazzling varieties to enjoy. The Cabs tend to work nicely with most red meats, lamb, and a flavorfully prepared ahi tuna. We love Pinot Noirs for their versatility—most are both smooth and bold enough to work well with lighter fare such as roasted salmon or game fowl and heavier, classic dinner fare like Beef Wellington. Speaking of Beef Wellington and family gatherings—this is one of my family’s traditions! Many years ago, I gave my husband The New Basics Cookbook by Silver Palate authors Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. We’ve had decades of fun exploring so many cuisines and cultures through the recipes and informative anecdotes. Once beyond the chicken-nugget rite of passage, our kids joined us on the journey. While we each have our distinct preferences, we all look forward to Beef Wellington as our Christmas Eve tradition. In fact, my oldest—now living on that other coast—has asked for the recipe so many times that she’s receiving her own copy of The New Basics as a gift this year. Based on how tattered that original paperback is, I’m even springing for the hardcover edition. You can find that hallowed Beef Wellington recipe below. And if you want to find some great red wines, here are a few...
Thanksgiving Table Setting Ideas

Thanksgiving Table Setting Ideas

Happy Thanksgiving! What are your plans for the holiday – are you heading to someone else’s home to gather with friends and family, or are you hosting a Thanksgiving gathering yourself? Have you been blessed with the task of hosting this year? Create a fun, fancy and festive table! It’s easy and inexpensive with these inspiring tips and Thanksgiving table setting ideas. Tablecloth and Linens You may feel the urge to splurge on expensive, name-brand linens so they last, but here’s a money-saving tip: don’t buy a Thanksgiving-themed set! Instead, opt for simple designs or solid colors that reflect a palette that works for many occasions. It will be a set you can use all year. Burgundy, cream, gold or dark green are great choices that cover a lot of holidays. And remember – placemats or table runners are great options, too. I love my simple burlap runner and use it for a million different occasions.   Dinnerware The same goes here – a Thanksgiving-themed set of dishes means you can only use it once a year. Go for china, glassware and silverware that sets the table for a plethora of special occasions. The charger underneath a dinner plate, colored cloth napkins, festive napkin rings and other decor can be counted on to bring the table to its intended theme. Little Touches of Autumn It doesn’t seem all that important, but these little bits and bobs are a chance to make the table really Autumnal-looking. Thanksgiving accents for the table are easy to come by, too. Check your local grocery store for things like: Mini Pumpkins Chestnuts Walnuts Gourds Apples...
Ten Great Wines to Pair with Thanksgiving Dinner

Ten Great Wines to Pair with Thanksgiving Dinner

With the veritable cornucopia of different aromas, flavors and textures abounding on the Thanksgiving dinner table, it can feel pretty confusing deciding which wine you’ll serve with dinner on this day of gratitude and grace! The good news is there are actually many options when it comes to pairing wine with Thanksgiving dishes. The experts at GiftTree got together to present this list of ten distinctive, noteworthy wines that pair perfectly with the most popular dishes on the Turkey Day table. Here are Ten Great Wines to Pair with Thanksgiving Dinner. 1. Bridlemile Dundee Hills Pinot Noir The spicy and enticing red fruit scents of this velvety pinot noir represent the best of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. A bright minerality and cherry-mocha finish make this a great wine to serve with savory sage stuffing, buttery sauteéd mushrooms or butternut squash. 2. Martin Craig Luminist Chardonnay Creamy and lush on the palate, baking spice and citrus flavors lend a hand to this lightly buttery and lush Russian River  Chardonnay. The nutmeg aromas from the oak aging in this wine come out when served with cranberry almond stuffing, roasted asparagus and zucchini, or soft cheese appetizers like goat cheese and brie. 3. Columbia Crest H3 Merlot Lusciously velvety with notes of black pepper and earth, backed by a structure that’s rich in dark berries and a creamy oak finish. With medium tannins and only a little bit of acidity, this merlot makes a grand accompaniment for the roasted turkey and its gravy, along with caramelized roasted carrots. 4. Abelroth Brocade Napa Valley Meritage Reserve  Aromas of leather, black fruits and tobacco leaves are pursued by vanilla, cherry, fresh coffee and allspice notes from the...
Why We Gift Wednesday (Give Thanks Edition)

Why We Gift Wednesday (Give Thanks Edition)

Welcome to Why We Gift Wednesday! Each week, we celebrate one of the thousands of reasons that we truly love giving. Whether it’s honoring the relationships that we have, feeling grateful for an occasion or a special time of year, or relishing life’s simple joys, Why We Gift Wednesday is all about giving and generosity – the expression of appreciation for life’s many happy moments. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, one of the very best days of the year! It’s time to get together and reflect on the year’s blessings. Let’s be honest – for the United States, this year hasn’t been the easiest, most carefree year ever. There has been loss, tragedy, pain and division. It’s been a tough year, and because of that, it’s more important now than ever to seek and hold onto the things we can be grateful for. One bit of advice we recently heard was “when you start to complain, stop and reverse it into a statement of thanks.” For example, it’s been raining here in the Pacific Northwest for about two weeks straight. We could look up at the sky and say, “ugh, we are so sick of this rain!”, or we could stop and say “We’re so thankful for clean, life-giving rain.” It is that little shift in thinking that can begin to cultivate a grateful heart and mind. Try it this week and watch the change take place!   From all of us at GiftTree, happy Thanksgiving to you & yours....
Thank the Host with Thanksgiving Bouquets

Thank the Host with Thanksgiving Bouquets

It’s a lot of work to pull off a great Thanksgiving. If you’ve ever hosted Thanksgiving, you know just how much work goes in to planning and prepping – the decorations, the dinner, the desserts… hosting Thanksgiving is no easy feat. More often than not, while the rest of us are sleeping in and having a leisurely morning, the hosts have been up since the crack of dawn to start cooking, setting the table and decorating. If you’re being invited to gather with friends and family at someone else’s home this year, we think it’s pretty important to make sure the host knows that all their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. It is Thanksgiving, after all! Show your gratitude by bringing a fresh flowers in a rainbow of colors of the season! A bright and festive bouquet will look great as a centerpiece or in the entryway, lighting up the room and welcoming all the guests. Thank the host with Thanksgiving bouquets – are some beautiful options to show your gratitude! The Grateful Golden Bouquet is a radiant arrangement that reflects the golden light of Autumn itself. Two fabulous fall gifts in one, this lovely autumnal bouquet of peach roses, golden chrysanthemum, oak leaves and more are hand-arranged in an opalescent mercury glass cube with golden ombre finish.   As friends and family gather around the harvest table, they’ll bask in the warm glow of the Family Gathering Centerpiece. The brilliant palette of Autumn is perfectly reflected in this abundant centerpiece accentuated by two tapered candles. Perfect for any gathering of the harvest season, this centerpiece is sure to leave warm memories. Hand-arranged in a shimmering...