Take note: we’re pairing Biltmore wines with Christmas carols in honor of this year’s dazzling carol-themed holiday décor in Biltmore House.
Seasoned with Cheer
“Happy memories are sparked when you hear the opening notes of traditional holiday music, and pairing Biltmore wines with Christmas carols can certainly season the moment with even more cheer,” said Jeff Plack, Senior Director of Wine Production Operations, and a wine enthusiast on his own time.
We asked Jeff to catch up with Biltmore’s team of talented floral designers and discover some of the Christmas carols that inspired this year’s décor for Christmas at Biltmore. Based on that inspiration, Jeff shared some light-hearted pairings of the season’s merriest melodies with our award-winning Biltmore wines.
Biltmore® Reserve Chardonnay North Carolina + Deck the Halls
Lesley Tobar, a member of Biltmore’s floral team, has quite literally “decked the halls” of Biltmore’s unforgettable Winter Garden with the timeless reds and greens of the holiday season.
“I was inspired by the warmth and good cheer of the carol Deck the Halls and its reference to “boughs of holly” because that’s exactly what Mr. Vanderbilt brought in to use for décor during the first Christmas celebration at Biltmore,” said Lesley.
“To capture that feeling of Biltmore’s halls decked for the season, nothing could be finer than a pairing with Biltmore® Reserve Chardonnay North Carolina,” Jeff said, “especially since this smooth, classic wine is handcrafted from estate-grown grapes.”
Biltmore Tree Raising Wine Trio + 12 Days of Christmas
For Biltmore’s baronial-style Banquet Hall, Lucinda Ledford, Floral Designer, chose the beloved English carol Twelve Days of Christmas to inspire her vision for the massive room.
“To complement the baronial splendor of the Banquet Hall, I selected traditional Christmas colors of red, green, and shades of gold,” said Lucinda, “and added touches of blue and orange to reflect some of the more whimsical details included in the song.”
“With that carol in mind,” noted Jeff, “I suggest pairing the majesty of the Banquet Hall and its 35-foot-tall Fraser fir Christmas tree with our Biltmore Tree Raising Wine Trio that includes Christmas at Biltmore Red Wine, Christmas at Biltmore White Wine, and Biltmore® Reserve Rosé North Carolina. That way, you can sip and savor throughout the 12 days of Christmas!”
Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Gewürztraminer + Here We Come A’Wassailing
Next door in the elegant Breakfast Room, Cristy Leonard interpreted Here We Come A’Wassailing, another traditional English carol of the season, with “vanilla and spice” hues that echo the ingredients in a seasonal wassail drink.
“I loved selecting a lot of copper, cream, and gold-colored ornaments to follow the theme of the carol,” the floral designer noted. “I think our guests will be dreaming of sipping a welcoming cup of wassail after their visit!”
Jeff agrees with that tasty description, and suggests that our Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Gewürztraminer makes a lightly sweet and aromatic pairing. “For a richer, deeper flavor to spice up a winter’s evening,” he said, “go a’wassailing with our award-winning Biltmore Estate® Cabernet Sauvignon.”
Biltmore® Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon North Carolina + Jolly Old St. Nicholas
This year, Don Holloway is responsible for the Christmas décor in the Library, and he chose to interpret the room with inspiration from Jolly Old St. Nicholas, a lively carol that’s sure to set a cheerful mood.
“I chose classic reds, greens, and golds for this room that houses nearly half of George Vanderbilt’s collection of more than 23,000 volumes,” said Don, “but I also allowed the playfulness of the song to shine through, lightening the formal tone of the Library.”
“It’s easy to imagine Mr. Vanderbilt here by the crackling fire, his beloved St. Bernard named Cedric napping by his side, waiting for jolly old St. Nicholas to arrive,” Jeff said. “I think that’s a worthy pairing with Biltmore® Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon North Carolina—an outstanding wine handcrafted from estate-grown grapes.”
Biltmore Estate® Blanc de Blancs + Joy to the World
Inspired by Joy to the World, the most-published Christmas carol in America, Joslyn Kelly, Floral Designer, created a monochromatic magenta color scheme for the Christmas décor in Edith Vanderbilt’s room.
“I wanted a unique seasonal complement to Mrs. Vanderbilt’s Bedroom because it has such a distinct look to it,” said Joslyn, “from the purple and gold hues of the wall coverings and draperies to the beautiful furnishings and the remarkable oval design of the ceiling.”
Jeff suggests that you allow the sweet strains of the joyful carol that Joslyn chose to bubble up into a perfect pairing with Biltmore Estate® Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine. “Let’s raise a glass to Mrs. Vanderbilt,” he said, “who definitely added joy to the world with her gracious hospitality for the holidays.”
Vanderbilt Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir + O Holy Night
Inspired by the beautiful words of O Holy Night, Kyla Dana, Floral Supervisor, selected translucent, jewel-toned decorations to complement the rich, vibrant colors of the recently restored Oak Sitting Room.
“The carol has a worshipful tone,” said Kyla, “and that led me to think about All Souls Cathedral and the Vanderbilt family’s ties there, so I chose ornaments reminiscent of stained glass to adorn their private sitting room.”
As a perfect partner for pairing with this carol, Jeff suggests our Vanderbilt Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.
“It’s an exceptional wine that’s still very approachable,” said Jeff, “It starts out soft and lovely, then soars, and then it lingers with you, much like the notes of O Holy Night.”
Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Malbec + Canta, Rie, Bebe
Floral team member Lesley Tobar created the design for the Louis XV Hallway. She pulled in shades of red, pink, blue, and pewter to portray the energetic beat of Canta, Rie, Bebe (Sing, Laugh, Drink), a traditional Spanish Christmas carol.
“This hallway provides access to the Damask Room, Claude Room, Tyrolean Chimney Room, and Louis XV Room—the grand guest bedrooms of the magnificent Louis XV Suite,” said Lesley, “and it also showcases a wonderful painting entitled Rosita by Spanish painter Ignacio Zuloaga.”
For Jeff, this is the perfect Christmas carol to pair with the bold flavors of Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Malbec, “This spicy, award-winning wine has Spanish origins, just like the artist who painted the intriguing portrait of Rosita that graces the hallway,” said Jeff.
Celebrate the season with Biltmore wines
We hope you’ve enjoyed our perfect pairings with Biltmore wines and Christmas carols. You can find our award-winning wines—and everything else you need to celebrate the season—with our holiday hospitality guide: Seasoned with Cheer.