Make your taste buds jingle all the way with these holiday wine pairings.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Which means it’s also time to start thinking about what you’re going to serve for Christmas dinner. Turkey? Check. Mashed potatoes? Check. Green bean casserole? Check. But what about the wine? Picking out the perfect bottle (or bottles) to pair with your holiday feast can be daunting but don’t worry! I’ve got you covered. Here are some of my favorite wines to pair with Christmas dinner, no matter what’s on the menu.
If You’re Serving Turkey…
Try a light to medium bodied red with fresh tart fruit flavors like a Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, or Cabernet Franc. Turkey fixings typically include flavor combinations from rich gravy to tart cranberry sauce. You’ll want a wine that can stand up to all those flavors. Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Gamay are the perfect choices. Look for a bottle with lots of fruit and low to moderate tannins.
For something different, I really enjoy a Chinon (Cabernet Franc), which has hints of dark fruits and spice. Also, the bright fruit and vegetal flavors of the wine will amplify the herbal qualities in your food. Try this Cab Franc, Pascal et Alain Lorieux Chinon Theleme, for a great value buy.
As for Gamay, look to Beaujolais. Try something from Fleurie or Moulin A Vent. These will be more fruit forward than the more serious wines from Morgon. These wines will be like liquid cranberry sauce for your main course. A great, affordable, Pinot Noir option is Louis Latour Les Pierre Dorees from Burgundy. This wine is a great introduction to Burgundy Pinot Noir and simply put – delicious. It’s a great wine to have in your cellar at all times.
If You’re Making Ham…
Try a Rosé. A glazed ham is the perfect balance of sweet and savory. A robust Rosé complements both flavors without overpowering either one. A Rosé is light enough not to overshadow the delicate flavor of the ham, but has enough body to stand up to any creamy side dishes you might be serving. I recommend 2021 Domaine Tempier Rosé from Bandol Provence, which has aromas of peach and apricot paired with zesty citrus flavors. Another great buy, that’s more affordable, would be the 2021 Chateau Miraval Rosé Cotes de Provence. Brad Pitt hired one of the best rosé winemakers and it shows.
If You’re Baking a Prime Rib…
Try a Cabernet Sauvignon. This rich, beefy dish needs a wine that can hold its own. This full-bodied red has plenty of tannins to help cut through the fat of the prime rib. Hints of dark fruit and chocolate that make it deliciously rich contrasting flavor. If you want to impress your guests, break out a bottle of 2018 Staglin Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Rutherford Napa Valley. This one comes with a hefty price tag, but it’s worth every penny. A more affordable alternative is 2019 Pompier Cabernet Sauvignon from the famed Alexander Valley. If you like Jordan, you’ll love this (and its pricetag). This NDA wine is a steal at $25. Get it before it’s gone!
If you’d prefer a white, go for a full bodied white, such as an oaky chardonnay from California. The classic go-to for this instance would be the 2021 Rombauer Chardonnay from Carneros.
Looking for something more outside the box? Check out 2020 Foxen Winery Chenin Blanc Ernesto Wickenden Vineyard Santa Maria Valley. Chenin is known for high acidity but has a cream-like weight to it. This one from Cali will knock your socks off and give you Loire-style acidity with California style bold fruits. This will be on my Christmas table.
No matter what you’re serving for Christmas dinner this year, I hope these wine recommendations help take some of the stress out of your holiday planning.
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