The right pairing for holiday meals

Treveri sparkling wines are made in the Yakima valley. - Contributed Photo
Treveri sparkling wines are made in the Yakima valley.
— image credit: Contributed Photo

December is the month for parties, and parties call for wine. As a host, it can be difficult to judge the actual amount of wine to provide. I usually figure a bottle for every two guests. However, I helped with a wedding a few years ago and used my formula of half a bottle per person. The wedding couple not only opened wine as presents, but also had to send people out twice to the local supermarket. Most distributors and wineries have exceptionally good prices for December, so this is a good time to stock up anyway. Also, look for weekly grocery store specials where the 10 percent discount for six bottles is raised to 15 percent.

We have stayed at Maison Mumm in Reims, France. At dinner, every single course was accompanied by champagne. The message: champagne can be paired with everything.

If you would like to serve a sparkling wine that was served at the White House, here is a great story. Treveri Vineyards in Yakima was just a year old when Hillary Clinton’s chef stopped by the winery. He was also the event manager at the Office of Chief of Protocol. He arranged for Treveri to be served at the White House during the holidays last year.  Then, in April, Treveri was chosen to be served at a James Beard event.

Beef Rib Roast/Beef Brisket

This is often a tradition on many Island holiday tables, and especially New Year’s Eve.

Suggested pairings: Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Cabernet Sauvignon, $15; Beringer Knight’s Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $25; Cain Cuvee, $33.


We have served a crown pork roast for the last five years with family favorites of crab Louis and Chinese fried rice. Champagne pairs well with this entire meal.

Other suggested pairing: DeLille Chaleur Estate Blanc, $35.


Ham is often a New Year’s Eve entrée because of its ease of serving. Because of the saltiness, a slightly sweet wine goes well with it.

Suggested pairings: Long Shadows Poet’s Leap riesling, $20; Chateau Ste. Michelle Eroica, $22.

Both are from Washington state.


Pinot noir is the classic with lamb.

Hartford Court Land’s Edge pinot noir from California, $30; Tori Mor, $20; Domaine Drouhin, $40; Domaine Serene Evenstad, $80. All three are from Oregon.


Hey, we live in the Pacific Northwest where salmon and shellfish are abundant. I personally enjoy pinot noir with salmon (see above recommendations under lamb). For shellfish like scallops, clams or oysters, I choose sauvignon blanc.

Cloudy Bay sauvignon blanc from Australia, $27.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Horse Heaven Hills sauvignon blank, $12.


A sparkling wine can only be correctly called champagne if it is from the Champagne region of France. All others are sparkling wine.

Louis Roederer Champagne (my personal favorite), $49.

Kirkland Signature Champagne from Costco, $20.

Metropolitan Champagne rose from Metropolitan Market, $40.

Sparkling wines

Domaine Ste. Michelle Luxe from Washington state, $20.

Treveri sparkling wines from Washington state, $14-$20.

Argyle brut from Oregon, $25.

Mercer Island Winemakers

Portteus reserve merlot, $30 (owners and winemakers, Paul and Marilyn Portteus, MI class of 1967 and 1966, respectively).

Cain Cuvee (winemaker Chris Howell, MI class of 1970), $33.

Maryhill reserve zinfandel, $36 (winemaker and owner Craig Leuthold, MI class of 1974).

William Church viognier, $23 (winemaker and owner Lesley Lind Balsley, MI class of 1976).

Lodmell Cellars sauvignon blank, $18 (winemaker and owner Andrew Lodmell, MI class of 1982).

Buty Conner Lee chardonnay, $40 (co-owner and co-winemaker Nina Buty Foster, MI class of 1993).

aMaurice Cellars syrah/Grenache, $34 (winemaker and owner Anna Schafer, MI class of 1997).

Check with your retailer as some of these wineries might be self-distributed.

Dee Hitch can be reached at


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