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Entertaining With Wine

From casual dinners to special occasions, the right wine can set the tone for any celebration. With some basic tips for understanding wines, including easy entertaining ideas, your next gathering is sure to be memorable.

Pairing Wine & Food

When it comes to pairing wine with food, our Biltmore wine experts suggest serving lighter-bodied wines with lighter dishes, and more full-bodied wines with heartier dishes. Also consider the primary flavor of a dish (sweet, sour, salty, bitter) as that influences your perception of the wine.

Sweeter Foods

For best results, pair desserts and sweeter foods with even sweeter wines. The sweetness of the food will diminish the apparent sweetness of the wine, making it taste more tart and tannic.

Pairing Suggestions: Biltmore Estate® Riesling with cheesecake, Ventágeo® Red Dessert Wine and chocolate cake.
Tip: For your next happy hour, mix up some Traditional Christmas Wassail or a Ventágeo® Negroni!


Sour Foods

Sour foods tend to enhance the sweetness of a wine, so dishes with a hint of acidity are a great match for crisp white wines.

Wine Tips: Savor our Biltmore Estate® Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio served with grilled fish topped with a spicy citrus salsa or lemon sauce.
Pairing Suggestion: Traditional fare can be heavy, so lighten things up by pairing our Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc with Mushroom Ravioli in White-Wine Sage Sauce.


Salty Foods

Salty food increases the sweeter, fruitier characteristics of wine and pairs especially well with sparkling wines, acidic whites, and robust reds.

Wine Tips: Enjoy Biltmore Estate® Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine with oysters and Biltmore Estate® Cabernet Sauvignon with aged blue cheese.
Pairing Suggestion: Hoping to impress someone special? Pair our Biltmore Estate® Cabernet Sauvignon with this delicious recipe from our estate chefs for Seared Lamb Chops, Celeriac Purée, Broccoli Rabe, Hazelnut Brown Butter.


Bitter Foods

Bitter dishes tend to increase the bitterness of a wine, so it’s best to pair such foods with something less complex.

Wine Tips: Try our Biltmore Estate® Riesling with bitter greens such as radicchio, kale, or arugula.
Pairing Suggestions: For a first course, consider pairing Biltmore Estate® Riesling with a salad that includes bitter greens such as our Arugula, Avocado, and Cucumber Salad with Smoked Salmon.

Pairing Wine & Cheese

There is perhaps no more perfect pairing than that of wine and cheese. Their subtle flavors and textures are a natural complement to one another, and with endless varieties of each, matchmaking opportunities abound.

As with any wine pairing, there’s no “wrong” way to put wine and cheese together, but here are some tried-and-true combinations.

Soft, Young Cheeses

Pair crisp, acidic whites like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio with soft, young cheeses such as goat cheese and mozzarella.

Sharp, Semi-Hard Cheeses

Full-bodied, buttery whites like Chardonnay complement sharp, semi-hard cheeses like Asiago and cheddar.

Soft, Mild Cheeses

Light-bodied red wines traditionally accompany soft, milder-flavored cheeses. Consider Pinot Noir with Gouda.

Smoked Cheeses

Savory, fruit-forward wines like Merlot are a good choice for smoked cheeses.

Bleu Cheeses

Sweeter wines like Riesling are a pleasing contrast to most bleu cheeses (which also pair well with fruit-forward red wines such as Zinfandel).

Creamy Cheeses

Creamy Brie and Camembert strike the perfect balance with lively sparkling wines.

Wines by Season

For many of us, the changing seasons come with changing preferences in wine. The crisp whites we crave in summer give way to heartier reds in fall and winter months. As usual, personal preference trumps everything else, but here are some general guidelines for serving wine with the seasons. To search for Biltmore wines in any of the varietals listed, visit our Virtual Sommelier.


Crisp white wines are great for quenching your thirst in the summer, but slightly chilled, easy-drinking reds are perfectly suitable, too.

Our favorite summer wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Chardonnay, White Blend, Rosé, Red Blend, Merlot

Note: If serving outdoors, keep your wine cool in a mix of ice and water. (Ice alone doesn’t chill as well.) It’s also helpful to keep the wine bottle out of direct sunlight – especially if you’re enjoying a red wine, which can “cook” if it gets too warm.


Full-bodied whites and light- to medium-bodied reds are the perfect complement to cooler weather and fall harvest foods.

Our favorite fall wines: Viognier, Oaked Chardonnay, Soft Red Blend, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Sparkling Wine


Full-bodied reds are king in winter since they pair well with heartier dishes, but sparkling wines have a starring role at the holidays, too.

Our favorite winter wines: Malbec, Syrah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux Blend, Oaked Chardonnay, Sparkling Wine


Lighter, aromatic wines help usher in warmer weather. They pair well with the lighter dishes of the spring season, too.

Our favorite spring wines: White Blend, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Unoaked Chardonnay, Moscato, Pinot Noir, Rosé

Wine Holidays

In addition to all your favorite holidays, we invite you to enjoy celebrating the following festive options with Biltmore wines:

  • February 18 – National Drink Wine Day
  • March 3 – National Mulled Wine Day
  • April 17 – World Malbec Day
  • May – North Carolina Wine Month
  • May 11 – National Winery Tourism Day
  • May 25 – National Wine Day (also National Chardonnay Day)
  • June 21 – National Sauvignon Blanc Day
  • August 4 – National Champagne Day (also celebrated October 26)
  • August 18 – National Pinot Noir Day
  • August 30 – National Cabernet Day
  • September - North Carolina Wine Month
  • November 19 – National Zinfandel Day

North Carolina Wine Month

Did you know that May is North Carolina Wine and Grape Appreciation Month?

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