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During winter months, finding ways to get together with your friends amid cold weather can be a challenge. Unless you have a great car service at the ready, going out on the town or doing anything outdoors is hardly an option.

What are you to do when you want to have a great night with your closest friends, but don’t want to brave the cold? Host a dinner party, of course! A dinner party is a perfect way to gather your friends and share a delicious, home-cooked meal.

Take your dinner party to the next level by offering a variety of locally made wines to sample and pair with your dishes. Long Island is an up-and-coming winemaking region, and the vineyards here produce a variety of wines to complement to dinner party menu.

Here are a few wine pairings to help make your dinner party absolutely perfect:



Merlot is a popular, ubiquitous wine that remains a favorite at dinner parties. One of our favorite Long Island Merlots would have to be the 2012 Merlot Estate from beautiful Macari Vineyards. It has a smooth finish and a pleasant bouquet of plum, strawberry, cherry, and a touch of vanilla.

A lighter, fruitier Merlot pairs well with a hearty beef dish with a sesame dressing. Cold cuts, chicken, and vegetables also pair nicely with a lighter Merlot. For a Merlot with a medium finish, consider preparing a baked pasta dish like spaghetti, ziti, or rigatoni. Anything with a tomato-based sauce will pair nicely. A deeper, fleshier Merlot calls for something with a bit of spice. Jambalaya, blackened salmon with a spicy rub, or even a tangy stir-fry will make for an outstanding pairing.



A great Chardonnay makes for a delicious pairing, like the Martha Clara Vineyards award-winning 2012 Chardonnay. It was voted best-unoaked Chardonnay and best overall Chardonnay at the 2014 New York Wine & Food Classic.

A Chardonnay with a lighter finish is the ultimate wine for pairing with seafood. A fresh salad, vegetables, or a savory vegetable soup are also a great pairing. We love a lightly oaked Chardonnay with a delicious, creamy mushroom soup – and we know your guests will, too!

You could also throw in a salad of fresh green and mixed vegetables or a savory vegetable soup for a great pairing. We love a lightly oaked Chardonnay with a delicious, creamy mushroom soup—and we know your guests will, too!

Some other foods that pair nicely with a light-to-medium Chardonnay include:

  • Clams
  • Grilled chicken
  • Halibut
  • Monkfish
  • Soft cheeses
  • Dishes with a lemon zest


The Cabernet Sauvignon variety of grapes grows particularly well in California’s illustrious Napa Valley and yields great tasting wines that are the perfect addition to your dinner party table. Among Long Island vineyards, Pindar’s 2010 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a particular delight, with dense, firm tannins and hints of vanilla amidst its dark berry fruitiness. This wine goes particularly well with a good cut of red meat: think filet mignon or glazed beef ribs.

For a lighter, fruitier Cabernet Sauvignon, consider serving appetizers. A charcuterie board with lightly smoked meats and lighter cheeses or vegetable skewers pair nicely here. For the heavier Cabernets with dense tannins, beef dishes with hearty, savory sauces are delectable. Beef pot roast, spicy ginger sesame, and veal chops are some standout pairings.

As winter continues its reign of chill and snow, you can perfect your dinner party with the purchase of a few outstanding wines and your choice of food pairings. Treat your dinner party guests to a cozy evening of great food and wine, and even better company.


*Editor’s Note: this post was originally published in 2013 but has since been updated to reflect the most recent information


Photo Credit: Pamela V. White