Holiday Food & Wine Pairing Primer
Tis’ the season to gather, give thanks and enjoy good food and wine. The key to any special gathering is being a great host and thoughtfully selecting the food and wine for your event. Food and wine are the catalysts to bringing people together. Whether you’re planning a classic or nontraditional holiday feast, pairing wines which complement the cuisine can elevate your entertaining experience. We’ve included tips for a stress-free food and wine pairing.
Assess your guests’ food and wine preferences—it will go a long way in their enjoyment. Ask your guests if they have any dietary restrictions or preferences to be aware of. You want to eliminate any surprises the day of your event.
Polish your glassware—ensure they’re spot free. Leave a sparkling impression with your guests when take their first sip of wine.
Plan for at least a bottle per person—some people will drink more, others will drink less.
Have a decorative metal bucket filled with ice with open bottles of sparkling and white wines. It will encourage guests to self-serve.
Plan your menu with the understanding that your wines will follow the path of lighter-bodied to heavier-bodied wines. We suggest you choose wines with balance—not overly fruity, or alcoholic with moderate tannins. Here are our suggestions of wines to include:
Welcome guests with Sparkling Wine—nothing says “celebrate” like a glass of bubbly. The acidity and effervescence of sparkling wine primes your palate for food. Sparkling wine complements creamy, salty and fried foods. It also serves as a palate cleanser.
- Agrapart ‘Terroirs’ Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Champagne NV
- 2012 Roederer Estate L’Ermitage Brut Rosé
- Sparkling Duo
Crisp and dry whites like Sauvignon Blanc—serve as a good aperitif and pair with lighter fare.
- 2018 Davis Estates Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley
- 2019 Pastou ‘La Côte du Sury’ Vielles Vignes Sancerre
- 2019 Honig Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley
Fuller-bodied white wines like Chardonnay are crowd-pleasers—their bold and typically oaky notes complement roasted red meats and buttery mashed potatoes.
- 2018 Walter Hansel ‘The Meadows’ Chardonnay Russian River Valley
- 2017 Montagu Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay
- 2016 Orrin-Sage Chardonnay
Pinot Noir—a versatile gem and go-to wine for pairing with diverse foods including: poultry, pork, salmon, mushrooms, stuffing, cranberry sauce and game. Pinot also pairs well with French and Mediterranean cuisine.
Feeling adventurous? Sangiovese is another versatile gem to complement a variety of foods. These Italian wines are crowd-pleasers and will show your international wine savvy.
Red Blends Rule and are also crowd-pleasers. They are typically the solution to “I just want a good red. “Bordeaux-style” red blends can add cachet to your holiday table and complement a variety of foods including heavier dishes and roasted meats: beef, lamb and pork.
Zinfandel—the rich, spicy character of Zinfandel complements cranberry sauce, spicy stuffing, sausage, roasted turkey skin, Mediterranean or BBQ. Zinfandel also pairs well with desserts that highlight chocolate and berry components.
- 2018 Carlisle Papera Ranch Zinfandel Russian River Valley
- 2018 Gamba Vineyards Zinfandel ‘Family Ranches’ Russian River Valley
- Zinphony Wine Set
Wine Tasting Sets—place your order for curated wine sets that will complement your holiday feasts.
Cheers to a thoughtfully planned and executed holiday gathering. Set the tone by being a relaxed host…pour yourself a glass of wine and celebrate all you’ve accomplished.