Temecula wineries share their favorite wine pairings for holiday dinners

Oak Mountain Winery recommends its Chardonnay as a pairing for a holiday turkey dinner, their 2013 Zinfandel for roast beef and Cinful Sparkling to go with ham. Courtesy photo

With the holidays fast approaching, many are scrambling looking for that perfect wine to pair with those special dinners. A trip to any winery in Temecula Valley’s Wine Country will lead to success for that perfect holiday wine pairing.

According to the experts at winefolly.com, wines that go best with ham should be fruity in flavor and include such great blends as Moscatos, Chenin Blanc, Rose, Lambrusco, Grenache and Zinfandel.

Oak Mountain Winery owner Valerie Andrews recommends her winery’s Cinful Sparkling.

“This refreshing sparkling is made from our estate Cinsault grapes,” she said. “This sparkler is full-bodied, offering heady strawberry aromas. In the mouth, it reveals raspberry and cherry flavors with a touch of spice. A sinfully delicious treat when paired with grilled veggies, pork and chicken.”

Maurice Car’rie Vineyards’ General Manager Gary Van Roekel recommends the Van Roekel Estate Tempranillo, the 2017 winner for Best of Region, to compliment that holiday ham.

“Tempranillo has a medium body with aromas of cherries, strawberries, and black currant and a nice smoky black pepper finish,” Van Roekel said. “This wine pairs well with ham, roasted beef and pork.”


Ray Falkner, owner of Falkner Winery, recommends the 2015 Falkner Risque Riesling.

“This semi-dry white wine with wonderful pear flavors followed by spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon is sure to be a hit at your holiday dinner,” he said.

Over at Cougar Vineyard & Winery, owner Jennifer Buffington suggests pairing holiday ham with their Cougar Estate Primitivo.

“The pepper, spicy flavors of our Primitivo complement and balance out the saltiness of a cured ham,” she said. “It’s definitely a crowd pleaser.”

For those looking to serve the traditional turkey dinner, there is no shortage of wine pairings, according to wines.com.

Cabernet Franc, White Burgundy, Bordeaux Blanc, Pouilly Fuisse, Chardonnay with low or no oak, a dry Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Beaujolais Grand Cru, Beaujolais Nouveau, Merlot, Pinot Noir or a fruity Zinfandel all go well with turkey and are all readily available in Temecula Valley Wine Country.

Buffington recommends Cougar’s Estate White Aglianico paired with turkey.

“The soft tannins from the red grape skins pair perfectly with the juiciness of a smoked turkey,” she said. “The wine is not sweet and is sure to please your white wine drinkers as well as red wine drinkers at the table.”

Van Roekel said Maurice Carrie Winery’s Sara Bella is a winner when paired with the turkey on a holiday table. This White Cabernet Sauvignon is a blush wine made from cabernet sauvignon.

“We process the red grapes like a white wine, fermenting only the white juice of the grape,” he said. “Aromas and flavors of watermelon and strawberries come to mind when tasting this slightly sweet blush wine. Sara Bella can be served cold and is great when paired with chicken or turkey.”

Andrews recommends Oak Mountain’s 2017 Chardonnay to compliment turkey.

“You can pick up apple, pineapple, honey, vanilla and roasted flavors that really fill the mouth,” she said. “This chardonnay is lightly oaked with French oak imparting rich flavors of vanilla, butterscotch, creme brule and caramel.”

Falkner said that his winery’s 2016 Falkner Viognier is perfect with poultry, especially a roasted turkey.

“This is a wonderful dry white wine with aromas of Asian jasmine and flavors of white peach and citrus,” he said. “It’s sure to please any palate.”

When it comes to roast beef, matchingfoodandwines.com recommends any medium- to full-bodied red. Rare beef suits young, full-bodied reds while older, more delicate reds are sometimes better with beef that’s cooked a little longer, while beef served with gravy is better suited to a more classic wine like a red Bordeaux or a Rioja, or of course, a traditional ale or porter.

Falkner recommends the 2014 Falkner Estate Cabernet Sauvignon for that roast beef dinner.

“It’s beautiful deep purple color provides a rich wine with distinct flavors of blackberry, black cherry and cassis,” he said.

Buffington said that she would recommend Cougar Estate Sangiovese paired with roast beef.

“The smokiness and richness of our Sangiovese goes with most red meats especially roast beef or tenderloin,” she said.

Van Roekel recommends the Maurice Car’rie Van Roekel Estate Cabernet Franc when it comes to roast beef.

“Our Estate Cabernet Franc has an earthy, floral nose brightened with black fruit nuances, delicious flavors of strawberry, spiced plum and hints of spice,” he said. “A long savory finish brings flavors of roasted bell pepper that pairs well with grilled and roasted pork and beef. It’s also great with both soft and hard cheeses.”

Andrews said that Oak Mountain’s 2013 Zinfandel is always a winner when it comes to beef pairing.

“Zinfandel is known to be the genetic equivalent to Primativo, grown in the ‘heel’ of Italy,” she explained. “The grape somehow made its way over to the United States in the mid-19th century and became known as Zinfandel. In our 2013, you will find aromas of plum, red cherry, dark fruits, spice, a touch of oak and vanilla.”

No matter your favorite winery or what you are serving on your table this holiday season, visit any one of Temecula Valley Wine Country’s more than 40 wineries to find the perfect wine to go with virtually any meal.

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