As the holiday season begins to come around once again, thoughts turn to quality time spent with loved ones and delicious meals. Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners are both truly special affairs, with many families celebrating New Year’s Day in much the same way. Whether you’re spending time with family or even just good friends, planning out your meal in advance will help to reduce stress and keep you on track. Not sure what wine to select for your guests? Discover the perfect wines for the holiday season in this short guide.
Wine With Turkey Dinners
Zinfandel, a blush wine that’s generally somewhat sweet, can be overpowering when paired with the wrong foods. It’s also generally too sweet for most people to enjoy alone. But when paired with a full turkey dinner, its acidity perfectly balances the savory flavor of turkey, potatoes, and stuffing, so it’s ideal for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. The key to choosing a good zinfandel is to skip the cheaper options; they often carry a strong aftertaste and are almost always far too sweet. Instead, shoot for an option like Robert Biale Bedrock Vineyard Zinfandel, or perhaps Opolo Reserve’s 2014 Zinfandel instead.
Wine With Cheese
Pairing wine with cheese isn’t always easy. Specific cheeses often pair best with specific wines, but there are two timeless picks that work well in almost any situation. Depending on whether your guests prefer red or white, sweet or dry, a madeira or a Beaujolais works well. Serving Havarti or Monterey Jack? Offer up Robert Denogent Beaujolais Villages “Cuvée Jules Chauvet” 2013. It’s light, fruity and also pairs well with steak. Serving brie or other soft, slightly fruity cheeses? Try a Madeira like Henriques & Henriques, WS Boal NV. Pair Parmesan and other strong cheeses with a Chianti or a Merlot, and Goudas with high-quality Pinot Gris. Not sure what your guests will like? Grab two bottles; the first, a Riesling, and the second, a Tempranillo. Both are known people-pleasers and suit a wide range of palates.
Wine With Sweets
You’ve had your dinner, and you’re relaxing around the fireplace. Perhaps you’ve made Napa Valley reservations and just want to enjoy your beautiful surroundings over some delicious chocolate truffles or amazing holiday sweets. The good news is that there’s a wine for that, too. For fruity desserts, like pie or squares, try Vintage Graham’s Port. Moscatel de Setubal and Bodegas Toro Albalá pair well with high-sugar treats like chocolate and caramel. For nutty or salty flavors, try a Muscat de Frontignan.