Since our founding, Ponzi Vineyards has crafted balanced, terroir-driven wines with pairing in mind. These are food wines, designed to enhance meals shared around the family table. During the holidays, good food, great wine and your favorite company come together, creating memorable celebrations. From our table to yours, here are some perfect pairings to try this holiday season:
Generally, it's best to keep food simple when pairing with wine. "Avoid all together - or judiciously use - strongly flavored herbs, spices and vegetables," advises Nancy Ponzi, Winery Founder and author of The Ponzi Vineyards Cookbook. Holiday dishes tend to follow these rules, so pair away!
Creating a memorable salad pairing relies on taking care not to overwhelm the fresher elements or the wines. Try an assortment of mild greens, and pair with younger, lighter bodied wines like the crisp, high acidity 2016 Ponzi Pinot Gris and fruit forward 2015 Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir. Stick to clean flavors in the food and the wine, and keep it simple. Save older vintage and bolder wines for later, featured courses. Nancy's philosophy, "I avoid asparagus, artichokes, chilies or sauerkraut and am wary of Brussel sprouts."
A complex, structured and well-balanced Chardonnay will enhance all the flavors in roasted turkey and sides, match the acidity of a squeeze of lemon juice and bond with subtle rosemary, garlic and butter flavors. We recommend the limited production single vineyard cuvée, 2014 Ponzi Aurora Chardonnay with your main course. "Lemon balm, straw and white pepper frame this elegant nose, the palate holds true with dried quince, baked apple interlaced with balanced acidity and a touch of minerality," describes Winemaker Luisa Ponzi.
It's always a good idea to offer a red option with holiday meals, in addition to the supple Chardonnay pairing suggested above. For a truly special pairing, uncork a bottle (or even a magnum) of the gorgeous 2014 Ponzi Abetina Pinot Noir and add a few mushrooms to your gravy. The structure and tannin of this spectacular Pinot noir will stand up to rich sides, without overpowering delicate turkey sweetness. Winemaker Luisa Ponzi describes, "Spicy notes of nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla on the nose. The mouth follows with bay rum, dark chocolate and cedar notes leading to firm and persistent tannins to finish. Jam packed with everything needed to carry this wine for years."
CHEESE AND WINE
Whether served as a pre-seating appetizer, palate cleanser or in lieu of a final dessert course, a cheese plate presents an excellent opportunity for wine pairing, giving guests a chance to sip your best wines and find their perfect complements. Preparation is simple, giving you time to focus on main dishes. "Generally look for rich, not overly strong or aromatic wine-complementary cheese," suggests Nancy. "Cheese presents a place to showcase your finest wine." Great wines to pair with cheeses include the bright and balanced 2015 Ponzi Riesling (also available in an elegant magnum) and lush 2014 Ponzi Classico Pinot Noir. "If you're lucky enough to enjoy a fine Pinot noir (like the 2014 Ponzi Pinot Noir Reserve), go for a mellow, rind-washed triple cream."
This pairing is easy! Traditional holiday desserts tend to feature fruits and pie spice. Pumpkin and apple pies keep some of the original sweet-tart flavors even after baking. Pair them with lightly sweet dessert wine, like the 2016 Ponzi Vino Gelato. Just in case there's no room for dessert, this wine stands on its own, a sweet finish to a rich meal.
Have fun with your pairings and enjoy the conversations they may start. Happy Holidays!