It’s the holiday season and whether your tradition is a casual buffet or a sit-down feast, selecting and serving wines to complement these joyful days shouldn’t be hard to do. A bit of guidance and your own good taste will lead you to wines sure to make your holidays memorable.
Chardonnay: Silky Chardonnays from California, Chile or Australia—are delicious with salmon or any kind of seafood in a lush sauce.
Grüner Veltliner: This white’s citrus-and-clover scent is lovely when there are lots of fresh herbs in a dish, it’s one of the few wines that pairs perfectly with asparagus, among other vegetables with white pepper background.
Moscato d’Asti: Loves fruit desserts. Most moderately sweet sparkling wines such as Moscato d’Asti, demi-sec Champagne and Asti Spumante help emphasize the fruit in the dessert, rather than the sugar.
Pinot Grigio: Pairs with light seafood dishes, which seem to take on more flavor when matched with this equally delicate white. For something different, try Arneis from Italy or Chablis from France.
Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Vouvray: Pair with sweet & spicy dishes. The slight sweetness of many of these wines helps to tame the heat of spicy Asian and Indian dishes.
Sauvignon Blanc: Goes with tart dressings, sauces and tangy foods. Foods with a lot of bright crisp citrus flavors won’t overwhelm zippy wines like Sauvignon Blanc. You can also try a Verdejo from Spain.
Pinot Noir: Is great for dishes with earthy flavors and ingredients like mushrooms and truffles. These wines can be which are light-bodied but full of savory depth. An alternative: Dolcetto.
Cabernet Sauvignon: Is fabulous with juicy red meat because the firm tannins refresh the palate after each bite of meat. Bordeaux and Bordeaux-style blends arealso terrific with steaks or chops.
Malbec and Côtes-du-Rhône are big and bold enough to drink with heavily spiced barbecue sauces, there’s no need to fear they will be overshadowed.
Syrah/Shiraz: When a meat is heavily seasoned,look for a red wine with lots of spicy notes. Syrah from Washington or Shiraz from Australia are all choices. If you want to try something a little different, try a Xinomavro from Greece.
Zinfandel: For pâtés, mousses and terrines If you can use the same adjectives to describe a wine and a dish, the pairing will often work.
Rich and rustic wines: Nero d’Avola from Italy and Monastrell from Spain.
If in doubt about what to pair, the easy way out is Champagne, it’s festive and goes with practically anything and is also perfect with anything salty. Brut Champagne and Spanish Cava often have a faint sweetness to them—them extra-refreshing when served with salty foods. Rosé Champagne, Cava and sparkling wine from California, have the depth of flavor and richness to go with a wide range of main courses.
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