Don’t Stress – Impress


Holiday Wine Pairings
By Patrick Evans-Hylton

The holidays are here, and there is enough to be stressed about (have you seen the parking lot at the mall?) without worrying which wines to serve. Don’t stress - impress - with these vintages at your next gathering. Below, we’ve assembled a list of some of our favorite wines and paired them with traditional holiday bites. All of the wines are available at TASTE. Cheers to stress free entertaining!


Bottle: Maison Michael Shaps Chardonnay

Bite: TASTE Holiday Cheese Ball with Firehook Crackers (pick up at any TASTE)

Notes: This lush, rich chardonnay, made with grapes from the Wild Meadow vineyard in Loudon County, Virginia is beautifully balanced with layers of flavor and acidity that embrace the cheese and the sharpness of the spicy crackers


Bottle: Lambrusco Emma Sparkling

Bite: Pimento Cheese Stuffed Sweet Potato Biscuits with Peach Chutney

Notes: A lovely bubbly with notes of plum and blackberry is a perfect pair to cut through the viscosity of the pimento cheese, sharpness of the chutney and the dense biscuit, while accenting the flavors of each with its fruitiness.

To Assemble: Split Jane’s biscuits, generously spread TASTE’s Sassy Southern Pimento Cheese on one half and Virginia Chutney Company Peach Chutney on the other, assemble, and place in a casserole dish. Dot tops with butter and broil in oven for just a few minutes until tops are toasted and cheese begins to melt.


Bottle: Pennywise Pinot Noir

Bite: Sliced Turkey

Notes: One of my favorite pinot noirs, this lighter offering with notes of tart cherry, cranberry and a bit of earthiness is a great addition to the savory flavors of turkey.


Bottle: Blenheim Painted Red

Bite: Sliced Ham

Notes: This Virginia red is full bodied and full of flavor with notes of cracked pepper, crushed raspberry and tea leaf. The notes and structure hold up wonderfully to the sweet/savory flavor of ham. The wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.


Bottle: Montelliana Prosecco Xdry

Bite: Gelato Stuffed Fresh Baked Giant Gingerbread Cookies

Notes: This lovely sparkling wine from Veneto, Italy is fresh and youthful. The delicate bubbles play on the tongue, while the fruitiness and slight notes of yeast work gorgeously with a delightful dessert like the rich and decadent Gelato Stuffed Giant Gingerbread Cookies.

To Assemble: put a generous scoop of vanilla (or flavor of your choice) gelato from TASTE on top of a Fresh Baked Giant Gingerbread Cookie, also from TASTE. Top with another cookie, wrap in aluminum foil, and freeze until firm.

Patrick Evans-Hylton is TASTE’s resident foodie, hosting a number of delicious events throughout the year. The Johnson & Wales-trained chef and wine and cheese expert is an award-winning food journalist, covering tasty trends since 1995 in print, broadcast and electronic media. He is publisher of Virginia Eats + Drinks Magazine; subscribe free at