The holidays may look a little different this year, but that’s no reason not to enjoy delicious food paired with some even better wine. See below for two classic Californian wines, Chardonnay and Merlot, with tasty bites that will be satisfying whether you’re serving them to one or a (small, socially distant) crowd.

Cakebread Cellars wine is always a staple in my home, especially around the holidays, so this year I decided to make two fun recipes to pair with two of my favorite wines. Cakebread Cellars 2018 Chardonnay pairs perfectly with these simple zucchini and goat cheese tarts, then the 2017 Merlot is paired with a childhood favorite, sausage stuffing balls.

I hope you enjoy these recipes, and make sure to share your creations with me on Instagram!

Zucchini Goat Cheese Tarts and Chardonnay

Cakebread Cellars 2018 Chardonnay is not your grandmother’s Chardonnay. This white wine is light with well-balanced acidity and notes of apple and lemon that each pair perfectly with these delicious tarts.

Cakebread Chardonnay and Zucchini Goat Cheese Tartlets
Photo: Mikayla Tencer

Zucchini Goat Cheese Tarts

Preparation: 15 min
Cooking: 12 min
Ready in: 27 min


  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 pie crust
  • Goat cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Thyme
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Thinly slice one zucchini and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme.
  3. Cut pie crust into circles or use dough to roll into balls and place in either a mini muffin tray or flatten and place on baking sheet.
  4. Scoop a small spoonful of goat cheese on each round, then add one or two zucchinis folded to fit each.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until pie crust is golden. Top with olive oil and pepper.

Stuffing Sausage Balls and Merlot

Merlot has always been one of my favorite red wines because of its bold flavorful profile without being overly tannic. Cakebread Napa Valley Merlot is medium-bodied with silky tannins and nice notes of blackberries and plum. I decided to pair this with a childhood favorite of mine, stuffing sausage balls.

Cakebread Merlot and Stuffing Sausage Balls
Photo: Mikayla Tencer

Stuffing Sausage Balls

Preparation: 10 min
Cooking: 20 min
Ready in: 30 min


  • 1 & 1/2 cup stuffing mix
  • 12 oz. of your preferred sausage
  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Chives


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl combine all ingredients and mix with hands.
  3. Line baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking oil.
  4. Scoop 1-2 tablespoons, mold into balls, and place on baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Top with chives.

Mikayla is California-born and North Carolina-raised with a passion for wine and style. She has worked in wine in California ever since graduating college. Her blog aims to inspire readers to step out of their wine and style comfort zones to try something new--and affordable!

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