Wine recommendations for your holiday meal

A local wine expert shares his top picks and gifts

Many of you will be toasting in the holidays with a nice glass of wine.

The problem - with so many choices - how does the novice pick out a bottle to bring home? And what kind of wine does a host serve with items like fish, turkey or ham?

Chris Fairchild, a wine expert with Total Wine's St. Petersburg store, has helped countless customers make the difficult decision of what to drink.

Here are his recommendations for wines to serve with holiday meals:

Turkey - Grassier Viognier Les Piliers, 2010 - $12.99 - Vin de Pays, France - This elegant, supple Viognier is filled with ripe tropical notes of banana, guava and flowers.  The palate is lush and round, making this a perfect match for poultry dishes.

Fish - Salvestrin Sauvignon Blanc, Napa 2009 - $19.99 - awarded 90 points from Wine Advocate.  The 2009 Sauvignon Blanc Le Blanc Crystal Springs Vineyard is a very successful Sauvignon, with an enticing nose of flint, grapefruit, and melon.  The well-made wine is medium-bodied, and very flavorful.

Chicken/Pork - Reserve des Vignerons Saumur Champigny 2009 - $12.99 - Saumur-Champigny, Loire, France - Fresh, ripe and racy, showing a nice grippy edge to its black currant and fig notes, with mouthwatering tobacco and dark olive underneath.  Stays driven on the finish.  Produced from 100 percent Cabernet Franc.

Ham -  Kestrel Lady in Red - $11.99 -  Columbia Valley, Washington - Aromas of blueberry jam, cherry, red currant, blackberry and elderberry.  These are balanced by tea, tobacco, cedar, spice and vanilla which develop in the glass and on your palate leading to a nice, lingering finish.

Steak - Foxglove Cabernet Paso Robles, $14.99 - 91 points James Suckling - Paso Robles, Central Coast, CA - Wine with polished tannins and plenty of currants, dried fruits and spices.  This wine offers Bordeaux character by blending red and black fruit with pepper, cedar and bittersweet chocolate.  Try it with grilled meats and hearty sauces.

Chris also shared his top unique gifts for the wine oenophile this holiday season:

Whisky Stones - $19.99
 
Cork Cage - $24.99

Rabbit Swish Wine Aerator - $17.99

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