Holiday Dining Favorites And What To Drink With Them

As the year-end holidays approach, holiday hosts and hostesses start thinking about two very important matters: What they should cook for the special occasions that seem to multiply like Santa's elves as the season progresses, and which wines to pair with whatever they decide to cook. The excellent offerings from Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, which is located in California's famed Sonoma County wine country — an area known for delicious cuisine and fine wines — are sure to complement any menu.

In planning holiday menus, the possibilities are endless. The good host or hostess must consider guests' food preferences (including dietary restrictions), but beyond that, the only requirements are that holiday repasts be impressive to behold (see our tips for festive table décor here) and delicious to eat.

Deciding what to drink is an easier task: It may sound like a cliché, but sparkling wines really do go with just about anything, and they're elegant and festive to boot.

Here are our carefully considered suggestions for showpiece holiday fare and sophisticated sparkling accompaniments.

The holidays offer many opportunities to gather friends and family for convivial brunches. Eggs Benedict are a brunch staple, of course, but to dress them up for the holidays, just add everybody's favorite crustacean — fresh lobster — for unforgettable and impressive lobster eggs Benedict. A perfect wine for brunch, and a great match for lobster, is Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs; dry, crisp, and elegant, and full of chardonnay flavor.

As an unusual main course, or an intermediate course in a gloriously excessive holiday banquet, we recommend going the extra mile to serve homemade pasta and take advantage of the best cold-weather vegetables at the same time, with handmade chestnut rigatoni with braised veal, squash, shaved Brussels, and pecorino. The perfect accompaniment is Gloria Ferrer's signature house blend, Sonoma Brut, with its aromas of baked apple, pear, and roasted almonds and its creamy, citrusy mouth feel.

Roast turkey and/or baked ham are traditional centerpieces for a holiday meal. For a change of pace, though, try this unusual pistachio-crusted lamb rack, which is succulent and beautiful to behold. And if you're wondering whether sparkling wine can stand up to rich red meat, let us introduce you to Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs (literally "white from blacks" — meaning grapes with reddish-black skins), made of primarily pinot noir from the legendary Carneros region. With its toasty, berry-filled aroma, impressive structure, and flavor of berries tempered with vanilla, it's a natural match.

We love pumpkin and pecan pie as much as the next person, but we like to change things up sometimes, and one of our favorite ways to do that with true holiday flavor is with a gingerbread trifle with caramelized pears. This blend of gingerbread and custard, full of spices, calls for a complex sparkler like Gloria Ferrer VA de VI, and suave, jaunty blend of Sonoma County pinot noir and chardonnay with — just for fun — a hint of moscato. We can't think of a better way to bring a special meal to a close.