Holiday Wine Pairings

| December 22, 2017

holiday wines 2017

Hors D'Oeuvres — Sparkling Wine

What better greeting than a glass of sparkling wine? Instantly celebratory, refreshing and crisp, sparkling wine is also a miraculously food-friendly option for a wide range of pre-dinner bites. Thanks to its high acidity, sparkling wine is perfect for cleansing the palate and sparking up an appetite.


Roasted Lamb and Game — Syrah

Syrah, a full-bodied red teeming with bold dark fruit, herbal, and peppery flavors, is a match made in heaven for gamey meats. These secondary non-fruit notes (think olives, herbs, leather, smoked meat) in many of and certainly our favorite syrahs have an intense and wild quality that stands up perfectly to the rich and savory flavor of lamb, venison, and duck.  You’ll find some of the best reflections of Syrah in the Northern Rhône region of France or around Yarra Valley in Australia.


Prime Rib and Filet — Cabernet Sauvignon

Another full-bodied red, Cabernet Sauvignon also boasts bold red and dark fruit flavors with high acid and strong tannins that complement and balance the fattiness and richness of the beef. Particularly in their youth, Cabernet Sauvignons brim with fruit (think ripe plum, black cherry, blackberry, raspberry) and are softened slightly with notes of baking spice (vanilla, cloves, cinnamon) as a result of commonly being aged in oak.


Ham — Riesling and Gamay

First thing that comes to mind when we think ham? SALT. What’s great with salt? SWEET. Fortunately, there are a ton of different options that can fit the bill here, but what you really want is something with enough acid to refresh your palate and something with enough fruit and the impression of sweetness to make you crave another salty bite. If you tend to prefer white wine, we’d love to suggest you give Riesling a try with your ham – high acid, luscious floral and fruity (apple, pear, peach) and despite some popular misconceptions, not necessarily sweet.


Tend to prefer red wines? Look for similarly lighter bodied, fruit-forward and high acid options to pair.  Light, crisp, fruity and refreshing (envision bright, tart cherries, raspberries, and barely ripe strawberry), a fresh Gamay will prep you to crave your next bite.



It can be challenging to find the right balance of dry and sweet at the end of a meal, BUT there are some really delicious options to be had either with dessert, or on their own. And remember: when in doubt, champagne is always a reliable option (we think this might be our life motto too).

Chocolate — Why not try a Sauternes-style dessert wine? We know, it's over the top, but hey – it’s the holidays!  Sauternes is a luscious sweet dessert wine (think honey, ripe peach, sweet apricot) with high acid to match and resembles liquid gold. You can easily enjoy it on its own, but we think it brings an interestingly complex fruit component to an otherwise simple or straightforward chocolate dessert.

Cookies and Pie — Cookies and pies match up seamlessly with Champagne because they share the same toasty, bready, and buttery flavors (in Champagne as a nerdy-yet-fascinating result of being aged on the lees after fermentation).

Cheesecake — Port pairs particularly well with the richness and creaminess of cheesecake.  The jamminess and intense fruit of the port makes for an intriguing counterpoint to the smooth sweetness and vanilla.


We hope these suggested pairings make your celebrations all the merrier this holiday season!