The holiday season is here and you have spent countless hours contemplating your festive dinner menu. With a focus on the meal, we tend to overlook the most important part till the last minute – the wine. Then we panic!! Leave your worries behind as this guide will solve all your pairing questions with 22 hand-picked wines to pair with your holiday dinner.
Holiday meals are tricky as there is a wide range of flavors and textures, with appetizers, pasta, veggies, turkey, prime rib, lamb, and desserts. It is important to keep in mind, the holidays are not just about the meal as the wines are equally important. This is the handy guide to specific wines to pair with classic holiday dishes. Choosing the right wines will make all the difference, one that your friends and family will appreciate.
There is nothing more special than spending the holidays with your friends and family. To brighten and make your celebrations sparkling, begin your holiday dinner with bubbles. Don’t begin with just any bubbles, begin with Bibi Graetz Bollamatta “crazy bubbles”. With its artistic label, it is sure to get everyone in a bubbly mood. Bubbles will make your bash festive, fun and full of sparkles.
Bibi Graetz Bollamatta (SRP $33) – This beautiful Italian sparkler Bollamatta or “crazy bubble” is the perfect way to kick off a fun festive holiday dinner. This sparkling wine is comprised of 100% Sangiovese made from 50 to 80 year-old vines. It is medium-body and is perfectly balanced with fresh fruity notes and acidity.
Cheeseboards are easy, simple, fun and impressive. Cheese and wine brings out the best in the other. Create an epic cheese board with a variety of cheeses, preserves, and fresh fruits. The Val D’Oca Prosecco will pair perfectly with a tangy parmesan or a soft creamy blue cheese. The Handpicked Pinot Noir from Tasmania will be best complemented with an aged Gouda or other hard cheeses.
Val D’Oca Valdobbiadene Rive di San Pietro di Barbozza Prosecco Superiore (SRP $33) – A very special Prosecco made from the Cru of the hills of Prosecco – Rive di San Pietro di Barbozza. Full of flavor, that is Prosecco is delicate, dry and harmonious, so that you can remember it after the first taste.
Handpicked Collection Pinot Noir Tasmania 2015 (SRP $49.99) – This is a cool-climate Pinot Noir from the island of Tasmania. On the palate, there are concentrated cherry and berry fruit flavors, charry oak, and velvety tannin persist in a long finish.
A Charcuterie board can be a simple yet hearty snack for your guests. The Piper Sonoma Blanc de Blanc is great with Charcuterie. The crispness and acidity from the Blanc de Blanc pair wonderfully with spicy cured meats like soppressata and chorizo. Crisp acidic whites like the Silverado Sauvignon Blanc pair well with salty and fatty Charcuterie like prosciutto or speck. Paté is a great addition to any charcuterie platter. The bright plum fruit in the Vin du Lac Cabernet Franc complements paté perfectly.
Piper Sonoma Blanc de Blancs (SRP $20) – Pale straw color in color with tiny bubbles and aromas of green apple, citrus, and white flowers. The palate is crisp and dry with a long mouthwatering finish.
Silverado Miller Ranch Estate Sauvignon Blanc Yountville, Napa 2018 (SRP $25) – Well-balanced with bright acidity. Flavors of passionfruit, mango and lemon curd with hints of lime zest and tangerine on the finish.
Vin Du Lac Cabernet Franc Colombia Valley 2013 (SRP $45) – This wine opens with dark aromatics of ripe plums, crushed herbs, and black licorice. Full-on the palate with firm yet balanced tannins and a sustained, savory finish.
A luxurious creamy mushroom risotto is a decandent dish that will appeal to all your guests, including the vegetarians. It is an elegant dish that pairs perfectly with Italian wines. The Secondo Marco Valpolicella Ripasso and Tenuta San Antonio Monti Garbi Valpolicella Ripasso are full-bodied, fruit driven wines that complement an earthy risotto. The tannic structure of the Caldora Montepulciano D’Abruzzo pairs well with the richess and creaminess of mushroom risotto.
Secondo Marco Valpolicella Ripasso DOC 2014 (SRP $30) – This Ripasso is a medium-bodied wine with plenty of ripe and dried, red-fruit flavors accented by spice and floral notes. The wine is rich and textural on the palate thanks to the Ripasso method.
Tenuta San Antonio Monti Garbi Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore DOC (SRP $22) – On the palate this Ripasso is soft and enveloping, characterized by a certain tannicity and good warmth of excellent persistence.
Caldora Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2017 ($14) – Ruby red with garnet reflections. Intense, persistent and fruity, with hints of vanilla. Full-bodied, tannic, well balanced, intense and quite persistent.
Artichokes and asparagus are staples at a holiday dinner, but they can be tricky vegetables for wine pairings. Look to Donnafugata SurSur Grillo to be a good match. The minerality in the SurSur is the perfect complement to herbaceousness of asparagus and artichokes.
Donnafugata SurSur Grillo 2018 (SRP $21) – Brilliant straw yellow, on the nose SurSur 2018 offers a fresh bouquet with notes of white-fleshed fruit combined with scents of wildflowers. A soft palate, the fruity notes return combined with a pleasant freshness.
Grilled salmon is a festive addition to your holiday table. A whole salmon is a beautiful presentation and makes for an impressive main course. The Juvé & Camps Cava helps emphasis the flavors and intensity of the salmon, making for an ideal pairing. Chardonnay is a common pairing with salmon. The full bodied Chalk Hill Estate Chardonnay works well with a rich, oily grilled salmon.
Juvé & Camps Reserva De La Familia Cava 2015 (SRP $17) – This wine is fresh, bright, and easy. On the palate, it is quite dry, soft and round with a long and most exquisite finish.
Chalk Hill Estate Chardonnay Chalk Hill Sonoma 2016 (SRP $42) – Balanced and full with flavors of Meyer lemon, yellow apple, and crème brûlée follow on the palate. Long, rich and elegant finish.
A traditional holiday dinner typically features a turkey as it serves a large crowd. The ideal pairing with turkey is something sparkling. The Piper Sonoma Brut Rose is a crowd pleaser. The delicate flavors of the Piper Sonoma Brut Rose matches the delicate flavors of the turkey. The bubbles from this sparkling wine also serves as a palate cleanser.
Pinot Noir and turkey is a no brainer. Shaw + Smith Pinot Noir and Pfendler Pinot Noir are ideal pairing with a holiday roast turkey. Both these Pinots have bright acidity which complement turkey.
Piper Sonoma Brut Rosé (SRP $21) – Primarily composed of Chardonnay, with Pinot Noir and some Pinot Blanc, the Brut Rosé has aromas of freshly picked berries, tangerine, and guava. The palate is bursting with red fruits and citrus, with zippy acidity and a long finish.
Pfendler Pinot Noir Petaluma Gap Sonoma (SRP $55) – On the palate, flavors of blackberry, red apple, cherry, clove, baker’s chocolate are balanced by fine-grained tannins and long, layered finish.
Shaw + Smith Pinot Noir Adelaide Hills 2017 (SRP $38) – Delicate, fragrant, light to medium-bodied but with deceptive power, firm tannins, and medium-term aging potential.
Prime Rib/Beef Tenderloin
Prime rib or beef tenderloin are perfect for a holiday feast. Nothing pairs better with beef than Cabernet Sauvignon. If you are looking for a fresher lighter style of Cabernet, the CARO Domaines Barons De Rothschild is the ideal choice. While the Hess Allomi Cabernet Sauvignon and Peju Cabernet Sauvignon have ripe fruit and firm tannins that work well to break down the fattiness of prime rib.
CARO Domaines Barons De Rothschild 2016 (SRP $65) – The fruit is bright and luminous, supported by well-integrated oak and refreshing acidity. The tannins are soft and silky and contribute to the wine’s persistence. This wine will reveal its complexity with further bottle aging.
Hess Collection Allomi Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2017 (SRP $34) – Hess Allomi Cabernet is concentrated upon entry with dense, but well-integrated tannins that provide a round, plush mouthfeel. Layers of juicy black fruit, notably black plum and black cherry, lead to elements of bittersweet chocolate.
Peju Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2018 (SRP $60) – On the palate, a perfect balance of structured tannins and fruit envelop the taste buds, displaying fresh raspberry, leather, smoke, and toasted marshmallow.
Everyone loves lamb chops. They are fun finger foods. Nothing pairs better with lamb chops than Syrah. The fattiness of lamb chops softens the Syrah’s tannins. While the fruit in the Syrah curbs the lamb’s earthy flavors. Betz La Cote RousseSyrah and Dutcher Crossing Syrah are beautiful expressions of Syrah. that pair well with lamb chops. If you are looking for another variety, Tempranillo plays well with lamb chops. Volver Castilla-La Mancha is 100% Tempranillo. The firm tannins pair well with the fattiness of the lamb chops.
Betz La Cote Rousse Syrah Red Mountain 2017 (SRP $62) – Fabulous notes of blueberries, lavender, dried herbs, and ground pepper as well as tons of minerality emerge from this full-bodied, concentrated, masculine Syrah.
Dutcher Crossing Proprietor’s Reserve Dry Creek Syrah 2015 ($33) -On the nose, there are soft aromas of blueberries, cherries, oak, and spice. The palate is rich and thick with layers of fruit and spice, black pepper and herbs.
Volver Castilla-La Mancha 2016 (SRP $16) – Aromas of tobacco, licorice, and blackcurrants. Full-bodied with hints of toast and mature fruit. The wine has firm tannins a nice long balanced finish.
Strawberries & Cream
Strawberries & Cream are simple and easy to prepare and the festive colors of this dessert make it great for the holidays. The trick to pairing wine and desserts is to match the sweetness. Perfectly ripe berries, are delicious with a sweet Bordeaux like the Bernard Réglat Château Cousteau Cadillac.
Bernard Réglat Château Cousteau Cadillac 2016 (SRP $21) – An elegant, fleshy and silky wine. It develops aromas of candied fruit. The mouth is supple, round, full of finesse. A lovely wine that has a good aptitude for aging.