Holiday traditions are fine and good, but the Christmas dinner wine is one thing that doesn't need to be the same year after year - even if your Christmas dinner meal is.

Holiday traditions are fine and good, but the Christmas dinner wine is one thing that doesn't need to be the same year after year - even if your Christmas dinner meal is.

Liz Avera, owner of Vino 100 on Polaris Parkway, came up with bottle suggestions to match three popular holiday dishes while avoiding the usual picks.

And if you don't have time to try them when all is merry and bright, they're still enjoyable year-round, of course. -Brittany Kress


For turkey:

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs (non-vintage)

Region: Carneros, California

Cost: $23

Flavors: Sparkling, with cherry and strawberry notes and a slightly earthy spiciness

Also pairs with: Cools down anything hot and spicy: Thai food, crab or roast pork

Who'll enjoy it: Prosecco or cava lovers

Liz Avera's advice: "Give sparkling a chance. It's not all brut champagne - that real dry, yeasty flavor. There's more fruit flavor. And with the right food, too, it makes all the difference."


For ham:

Cave de Ribeauville gewrztraminer (2007)

Region: Alsace, France

Cost: $19

Flavors: Cloves, allspice and tropical fruits

Also pairs with: Anything salty; Asian and Indian cuisines

Who'll enjoy it: Riesling, chardonnay or pinot gris drinkers

Liz Avera's advice: "When you first pour it, it tastes kind of mineral-y, and it opens up like a red. Over the course of dinner, you will taste how it changes, which is really kind of cool."


For prime rib:

Niner Wine Estates petite sirah (2007)

Region: Paso Robles, California

Cost: $25

Flavors: Strong dark berry and violet flavors, moderate tannis and a lush mouthfeel

Also pairs with: Marinated meat, especially barbecue

Who'll enjoy it: Cabernet or merlot drinkers

Liz Avera's advice: "Petite sirah is not syrah. There was confusion because originally, in France, they thought it was a smaller version of the same grape, but DNA testing has proven it's a totally different grape."