Although the holidays may be filled with tinsel, presents and good cheer, they are notoriously stressful. To make your holiday celebration spectacular...

Although the holidays may be filled with tinsel, presents and good cheer, they are notoriously stressful. To make your holiday celebration spectacular, you need to put together a perfect wine and food pairing. Wine pairings are often viewed as complex. However, the basics are simple to grasp Here are a few favorites:

1 Wine: Gary Farrell Winery 2015 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

"Gary Farrell helped to put Russian River Valley Pinot Noir on the world stage. Benchmarks of the region, our Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs offer richly textured, elegant expressions of their vineyard sites. These wines nail the sweet spot of the varietal's broad ripeness spectrum, displaying bright red fruit aromas, vibrant black cherry and berry flavors, and plush sandalwood and Asian spice tones."

Food: Perhaps one of the most versatile red wines to pair with food, Pinot Noir is a well-suited wine to pair with a wide variety of food due to its complexity, refreshing acidity, and rich fruit traits. This wine is fantastic when eating meat, fish, or vegetables

2 Wine: Clos Pegase 2017 Chardonnay, Mitsuko's Vineyard, Carneros

"Clear lemon yellow in the glass. Upfront aromas of peach, melon, cut straw, and baker's spice. A smooth delivery on the palate displays flavors of stone fruit, cantaloupe, and pears with subtle notes of brioche and toasted coconut. The acid is bright and maintains a pleasant balance in the wine."

Food: Chardonnay's subtle nature is easily overwhelmed by pungent foods. This wine compliments light and delicate food including cold raw foods, cooked shellfish, steamed or grilled fish, pâtés, spring vegetables, freshly made pasta, and creamy dishes. 

3 Wine: Swanson Vineyards, 2015 Merlot, Napa Valley

"2015 provided an excellent growing season for our Merlot vines. Naturally low yields from a cool period of weather during fruit set gave us concentrated grapes. Warm to moderate temperatures throughout the year helped preserve acidity whilst rapidly generating sugars."

Food: Intense aromas of plums and oregano lead to violet floral tones and a mouth-filling palate of blackcurrants, tea, and spice. The full-bodied nature of Merlot compliments brined turkey, cranberry sauce, or roasted butternut squash. 

4 Wine: Gehricke Wines 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Knights Valley

"A fragrant nose of pepper, spice, and blackberry jumps from the glass, inviting a first sip that is rich and complex – the perfect balance of fruit and spice. This bold wine is ideal for the red wine lover who favors a classic herb-roasted turkey with Italian sausage stuffing and a side of au gratin potatoes. It is an equally good pairing with candied yams, truffled mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts with Balsamic vinegar."

Food: Cabernets pair well with a nice fillet mignon. The buttery texture, tenderness, and absence of fat stands up to high tannins found in Cabernet Sauvignon, making the two a great pair. The meat's bold flavor matches the big, fruity flavor of the wine.

5 Wine: Mumm Napa Brut Rosé, Napa Valley

"Pinot Noir is responsible for the wine's soft texture and forward fruitiness, while the Chardonnay contributes structure and elegance. A beautiful pink coral color and fresh, vivid aromas of black cherries, red berries and citrus introduce soft red fruit flavors that are rich and mouth-filling. Brut Rosé grapes are harvested by hand during the cool morning hours to ensure they arrive at the winery in pristine condition. Brut Prestige features fine bright citrus, red apple, stone fruit, and creamy vanilla aromas, with hints of toast, honey, and gingerbread spice."

Food: This versatile and balanced sparkling wine is perfect for hors-d'oeuvres, light seafood, poultry, and vegetarian dishes.

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