The holidays are here, and that means getting together around the table with our loved ones. The holiday season also means lots of food and wine, of course. The question is, how to pair your favorite wine with seasonal food?
Here’s all you need to know for holiday food and wine pairings based on some of the most popular grapes and wine styles from all over the world. What are your go-to holiday pairings? These are ours!
Prosecco is the best-selling sparkling wine worldwide, and it’s easy to see why — it’s fruity, refreshing and often inexpensive. The finest Prosecco, though, is up there with the best in the world.
Pairing Prosecco with a holiday meal is easy. For starters, the fizzy wine is an excellent apéritif and a wonderful way to start the evening. Thanks to the sparkling wine’s high acidity, it can also compliment all types of food, from starters to dessert (especially because Prosecco comes in all sweetness levels.) Try it with salads, fish, fresh cheese, and fruity desserts.
Sauvignon is a noble varietal, and the most prized wine grape in the Central Loire Valley. Sauv Blanc has also performed well in New Zealand, Chile, California and other cold climate regions. What makes the green-skinned grape special is its piercing acidity and herbal flavors.
If you’re serving fish or seafood this season, Sauvignon Blanc is for you. The refreshing white wine will pair well with many sea-scented meals. And thanks to the wine’s herbaceousness, it is also compatible with vegetable-based dishes, from salads to more sophisticated vegan main courses.
Chardonnay is the most planted white grape in the world and one of the most loved by wine enthusiasts. There are two main types of wine made with Chardonnay; unoaked and oaked wines play distinct roles at the table.
Pair unoaked Chardonnay with white fish and light dishes (it is a lovely substitute for Sauvignon Blanc.) On the other hand, the buttery and vanilla-scented oaked version is, for us, the ultimate holiday wine. Pair oaked Chardonnay with turkey, creamy pasta, butter-seared veggies, and shellfish, including shrimp and lobster. Turkey stuffing is excellent with Chardonnay as well and so are all cheese-based dishes.
Syrah is king in the Rhône Valley and produces bold, somewhat rustic wines, even if often blended with similar warm-climate grapes, such as Grenache and Mourvedre. Syrah makes wine with noticeable angular tannins best suited for the heartiest holiday food.
Syrah will shine with lamb, goat and game; It will also show its best with fatty poultry like a silky duck magret. The best part? Syrah has a signature black pepper scent, which means you can make your holiday meal compatible with the French grape by going heavy on the aromatic spice.
Tempranillo is Spain’s flagship red grape, and it’s behind some of the country’s most famous wines, including Rioja and Ribera del Duero. The ‘early ripening’ grape is the source of both young and approachable wines and structured wines worthy of any cellar. So, how to pair Tempranillo with food?
Just like Cabernet and Syrah, Tempranillo has noticeable tannins, alcoholic warmth and a full body. This means Tempranillo can jump in for the French duo at any time. Pair Tempranillo with red meat, grilled pork, roasted poultry (like turkey), semi-hard cheese, and cured meat. Young Tempranillo is lovely with appetizers and tapas!
Whatever is meaningful and brings you happiness, may it become yours during the holidays and throughout the coming year!