Wine and the Holidays: How to Achieve the Perfect Pairing

When it comes to choosing wine to serve at your holiday celebration keep this in mind: the spirits you serve should complement the spirit of the occasion. Here are tips for choosing the right wine for your holiday celebration.

(ARA) -When it comes to choosing wine to serve at your holiday celebration keep this in mind: the spirits you serve should complement the spirit of the occasion. You probably wouldn't serve whiskey shots at the family holiday dinner, nor fruit punch at your adults-only New Year's bash. Learning a little about wine can help you make the right choice for your party. "Because of its diverse varieties and flavors, wine is a great for virtually every holiday celebration," says wine aficionado Bruce Boring, co-founder of the California Wine Club. "You can find a wine to complement every holiday occasion, from a family gathering to a sophisticated evening soiree, or even your neighborhood cookie-baking party."

Here's how to make the right wine choice for your holiday celebrations this season:

* Yes, you can serve red wine with turkey and all the trimmings. "When choosing a wine to go with your traditional holiday feast, keep the cranberry in mind," says Boring. "Cranberry sauce complements both the dark and white meat of turkey. Choose your wines based on its flavors, and go with cooler climate varietals such as Pinot Noir, Burgundy or Beaujolais for reds, and Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris or even Riesling for whites."

For "can't-go-wrong" pairings at a family gathering, try a Pinot Noir or Riesling. Pinot Noir is one of the most luscious and food-friendly dry red wines. Riesling pairs well with a wide variety of flavors, making it a natural at the dinner table.

* Whether your guests wear basic black or festive holiday colors, a sophisticated, appetizer only party is the perfect time to break out the bubbly - the finer the better. Domaine Carneros (known for making some of California's best sparkling wines) is a great way to salute the holidays. Fizzy, festive and fun, sparkling wine is a natural partner to upscale appetizers, from bacon-wrapped scallops to caviar on blini pancakes.

* Spice up your neighborhood's annual cookie baking and exchange party with just the right wine. Serve Reislings or Gewurtztraminers to complement fruit-flavored or fruit-filled cookies. Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon or Port would complement cookies made with dark chocolate. Since it's important to keep your wits about you while you're measuring cups of sugar and teaspoons of vanilla, try a wine that's lower in alcohol content, such as the intensely sweet and peachy Moscato d'Asti from Northeastern Italy. For a unique domestic white, try the 2004 Foxy White Table Wine from KitFox Vineyards.

* For unexpected drop-in guests, hold off on the pricey wine in favor of a lighter sparkling wine, like Prosecco. Crisp and frothy, the wine says "fun" with a distinctly Italian accent.

* Still concerned about choosing just the right wine for every holiday occasion? Consider joining a wine club that can help you make informed wine decisions. California Wine Club, for example, spotlights two new wines from small, family wineries in California every month.

Members also receive the club's magazine, "Uncorked," which provides information on the featured wines, seasonally appropriate recipes for foods that pair well with the featured wines, wine education articles and background on the vintners. There is no fee to join, and you pay only the monthly cost of the wines, which ranges from as little as $32.95 for a beginner's level Premier Club membership, up to $180 for the Signature Club that caters to true connoisseurs and collectors. Members receive discounts for buying three, six, nine or 12-month memberships in advance, but may also opt for a month-to-month membership that can be cancelled at any time without cost or penalty.

A wine club membership is also a great door prize for nearly any holiday party and makes a fun and unique holiday gift for the wine lover on your list. To learn more, call (800) 777-4443 or visit

Courtesy of ARA Content

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