Celebrate Holiday Dinners in Style (and Affordable!)

AUSTIN, TX (November 2, 2011) – With lights twinkling, fires roaring and corks popping, the holidays spark celebrations with families and friends to share laughter and libations. Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM) makes it easy to enjoy winter celebrations while staying frugal with its annual Top 10 Holiday Wines, all priced under $15.

Whole Foods Market presents this year’s best finds from around the world that offer the perfect pairings for holiday festivities. On the same day that Beaujolais Nouveau is released globally, wine lovers are encouraged to join the company’s wine buyers online to sample some of these gems during a holiday wine Twitter Tasting.

“Our specially selected holiday wines are sure to brighten everyone’s party and dinner plans,” says Doug Bell, Whole Foods Market global wine co-buyer. “We hope to make the holidays less stressful and less costly by providing a variety of wines that complement holiday cocktail favorites and the winter’s best comfort foods. Plus, we’ve thrown in a few extras that can double as the perfect host gift.”

The Twitter Tasting starts at 8 p.m. EST on Nov. 17, and wine buyers, winemakers, and anyone who loves to taste wine and share their thoughts will gather online at tweetchat.com/room/wfmwine. Tasting notes, winery insights, and favorite pairings on six wines from Whole Foods Market’s Top 10 Holiday Wines list will be shared using #WFMWine. For more information, please visit wholefoodsmarket.com/wine/.

For the host with the most who wants a quick how-to holiday wine and cheese pairing, Bell and other company experts offer tips, tastes and pairings in this video.

Here are Whole Foods Market’s Top 10 Holiday Wines, with suggested pairings:

Pascual Toso Brut Sparkling (Argentina)

Revel in the season with this golden sparkler, made from 100 percent Chardonnay. Soft and fresh, this is your go-to party starter.

Recipe pairing:  Brie toasts with spiced sundried tomato compote

Cheese pairing: Bonhomme Brie from Isigny Ste. Mère (mushroom aromas and luscious creaminess)

Benziger Sauvignon Blanc (California)

Elevate a plate of briny oysters or any of your favorite seafood dishes with this bright Sauvignon Blanc, ripe with floral aromas and a subtle touch of grapefruit, guava, and melon. Certified sustainable farming methods (certified sustainable by Stellar Certification Services).

Recipe pairing: Linguine with shrimp and arugula-parsley pesto

Cheese pairing: Robusto (nutty, sharp, Gouda-style Dutch cheese)

Pacific Rim Organic Riesling (Washington)

This gently sweet, jasmine-scented Riesling complements nearly everything on your Thanksgiving table. Sustainable from vine to bottle – organically grown and made (certified sustainable by the Washington State Department of Agriculture).

Recipe pairing: Honey-glazed ham with fresh pineapple chutney

Cheese pairing: Vermont Creamery Cremont (soft, mixed cow’s and goat’s milk cheese)

Cupcake Chardonnay (California)

Indulge in this big, classic Chardonnay brimming with buttery richness and oaky vanilla.

Recipe pairing: Mini crab cakes with spicy red pepper sauce

Cheese pairing: Hervé Mons Camembert (classic, earthy pungent and salty soft cheese)

Don & Sons Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (California)

Grace your holiday table with this bargain Sonoma treat that tastes like it hails from Burgundy.  Charm your guests with flavors of currant and crabapple and fresh berries with zippy acidity.

Recipe pairing: Mushroom stuffing with shallots and fresh herbs

Cheese pairing: Le Gruyère Reserve (complex, nutty hard cheese)

Earthstone Sonoma County Merlot (California)

This soft plum and blueberry beauty, with notes of dried herbs, macerated fruit and white pepper, won’t disappoint. Sustainably farmed vineyards and produced in a solar-powered, carbon neutral winery (certified sustainable by the California Association of Winegrape Growers in conjunction with the Wine Institute).

Recipe pairing: Spice-crusted roast salmon with ginger beets

Cheese pairing: Cypress Grove Truffle Tremor (goat’s milk cheese made with the finest truffles)

Chateau Grand Claret Bordeaux (France)

Celebrate one of the best vintages in 60 years with this 2009 Bordeaux classic, graced with luscious, purple color, deep red fruit, round, spicy notes and a velvety finish.

Recipe pairing: Roasted brisket with parsley, mint and thyme

Cheese pairing: Seaside Cheddar (classic aged English cheddar with sweet flavor and crunch)

Cantora Carménère Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile)

Dress up your holiday meals when you pour this ripe, spicy, medium-bodied red wine with dark fruit and mint on the nose. Fair Trade-certified.

Recipe pairing: Chard with bacon and apple

Cheese pairing: traditionally-produced Stilton

Innovac!ón Malbec-Tempranillo (Argentina)

Bring home holiday cheer with this juicy, modern blend of New World and Old World grapes that taste of ripe fruit with spice and cocoa notes. A great value (and two extra glasses of wine) from the liter-sized bottle. 

Recipe pairing: Roasted butternut squash with sage and cranberries

Cheese pairing: Manchego (sheep’s milk brings touch of sweetness to traditional Spanish cheese)

Cave de Rasteau “Les Peyrières” Rasteau Cotes du Rhone (France)

Enjoy this classic Old World French red, which offers a taste of dark, ripe cherry followed by earthy notes and pepper on the palate, with hearty winter meals.

Recipe pairing: Cassoulet-style French bean stew

Cheese pairing: Roquefort (sheep’s milk blue with complexity, crumbly texture and tangy flavor) and Seaside Cheddar

H&G Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon (California)

This limited release and impressively elegant wine offers a delicate mix of red and black fruit, tannins and gentle acidity.

Recipe pairing: Cranberry and apple stuffed roasted pork

Cheese pairing: Borough Market Cheddar

Tarima Organic Monastrell (Spain)

This inky, dense Monastrell offers the dark complexity of cedar, baking spices, licorice and mulberry.

Recipe pairing: Bison chili

Cheese pairing: Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue (hand-selected for Whole Foods Market, a sweet, buttery Oregon blue)

Two more holiday specials!

Römerhof Beerenauslese (Germany)

Save room for this rare dessert wine, a late harvest Riesling made by a fifth-generation winemaker that offers a vibrant sweetness of brown sugar, apricot and peach flavors. It makes a petite 375-milliliter stocking surprise.

Mrs. Beachley’s Mulled Wine

Gather around a winter fire with this warm, red wine, rich with cinnamon, ginger, cloves and other spices. Add brandy or cognac for a special holiday treat.

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About Whole Foods Market®

Founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market (wholefoodsmarket.com, NASDAQ: WFM), is the leading natural and organic food retailer. As America’s first national certified organic grocer, Whole Foods Market was named “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store” by Health magazine. The company’s motto “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet”™ captures its mission to ensure customer satisfaction and health, Team Member excellence and happiness, enhanced shareholder value, community support and environmental improvement. Thanks to the company’s nearly 60,000 Team Members, Whole Foods Market has been ranked as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America by FORTUNE magazine for 14 consecutive years. In fiscal year 2010, the company had sales of more than $9 billion and currently has more than 300 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Sonya Lee

Since a child, Sonya has been traveling from the corners of Canada to the far east Asia. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, she led a normal family life with her brother, mother and dad. A well received job opportunity in Hong Kong for her father put the compass in action from a young age. Sonya loves good food, and I mean GOOD simple food. She loves an occasional drink, be merry and enjoy the good times. Having recently healed herself from a large ruptured cyst, her favorite foods include fresh carrot juice, grilled vegetables, sauteed portabello mushrooms and truffle french fries. Her philosophy? Healthy food makes a healthy body. Read more on the Editor page. When she's not fretting over WAFT, she runs a small design agency called mowie media and shares the good times with her dog, Monster and 3 cats Sabi, Kaeli & Misty.

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