When not advising their Curated Wine Cellars clients, Donna Paitchel and David Shuster offer their own tutorials on different international wine regions and styles on Instagram. Recent posts have featured Amarone from the area around Venice known as the Veneto and Hermitage from a small area in the northern Rhone region, which is one of the oldest wine-growing areas in the world.
When asked what they might recommend for holiday dinners, Ms. Paitchel did not hesitate before offering a mini-guide to matching wines to favorite and traditional dishes.
"I'm a white Burgundy drinker with turkey," she said, speaking of the French style of wine made with the chardonnay grape. California-style chardonnays with their abundance of butter and oak "are a bit much for turkey," she said. Instead, the French "Meursaults or Puligny-Montrachets taste amazing with turkey."
Red drinkers can find their turkey bliss with Oregon pinot noirs, she said. "They have a certain amount of terroir," regional factors including soil, climate, and sunlight that give wine grapes their distinctive character, "but not so much that it's going to overwhelm the flavor."
She stresses that it is up to individual tastes, but "I'm not going to put something big and overpowering and red with that dinner. Just the turkey is going to put you to sleep, a 16-percent-alcohol red wine will have you done before dessert."
For Hanukkah and a menu featuring latkes, she likes a sauvignon blanc or a cabernet blend. "I would drink a bigger red wine, because you can."
Christmas has a lot of different menu options, including the aforementioned turkey. For ham, lamb, prime rib, or any of the other classic meat options, she sees another opportunity to have a cabernet or a cabernet blend, like a Bordeaux. A Burgundy, which features pinot noir grapes, is also a good possibility.
For a Christmas Eve seafood dinner, she said a chardonnay can work well as can a good pinot grigio. She emphasized good because "as we joke, the Italians sent the bad stuff over to us for years." She said a Jermann pinot grigio from Friuli, which retails for about $20, would change the minds of the most reluctant pinot grigio drinkers.
For any gatherings, from Thanksgiving through New Year's she also loves champagne and other sparkling wines like prosecco. "If you're not a big champagne drinker, there are so many champagne cocktails. Whether it's a Bellini, a Kir, or champagne itself, it just sets the mood for the celebration of being together."