10 Holiday Food and Wine Pairings

November 21, 2019

The holiday season brings a variety of dishes and flavors to our dinner tables. Inspired by holiday traditions from around the globe, we’ve prepared these delightful pairings for the upcoming festivities.

Traditional Turkey and Pinot Noir

Many families each year cook turkeys for the holidays. Turkey is not a fatty meat, so it needs wine with relatively high acidity and preferably low to medium tannins. This winter staple pairs well with Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is also versatile enough to pair with the side dishes you have planned for your holiday dinner. This varietal is easily a no-brainer for the holidays.

Recommended: 2017 The Four Graces Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley | 93pts, Wine Spectator

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Tamales and Tempranillo

If you don't know what a tamale is; it's a traditional Mexican dish usually made from seasoned meat that's then packed in cornmeal dough and wrapped in corn husks. If the tamales aren't spicy, a wine such as Tempranillo can complement the meat and cornmeal nicely, but if they are spicy, a Rosé of Tempranillo will do the trick. Whoever said Rosé was only for the summer season was sorely mistaken!

Chinese Hot Pot and Grenache

Chinese hot pot consists of a metal pot with simmering broth in the middle of a dining table. Raw ingredients such as meat and vegetables are placed next to the pot so people can cook whatever they'd like to eat in the pot. Just about any red wine would go well with hot pot, but we love Grenache because of its ability to pair with a variety of meats, vegetables, and Asian spices.

Recommended: 2013 Chalone Vineyard Estate Grenache | 92pts, Wine Enthusiast

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Honey Baked Ham and Moscato d'Asti

Another traditional holiday food is ham. It's no secret that sweet and salty contrast and make the perfect pairing, but honey baked ham also has a sweetness to it that complements the sweetness in the wine. We also like pairing salty with bubbles and Moscato d'Asti has light bubbles in it that will make the flavors of the ham and the wine dance on your taste buds.

Curry and Riesling

Lots of people eat curry during the holidays. It's hot, it's packed with flavor, and it's delicious and that's why it's wonderful for the winter season. Riesling matches well with curry because it's lightly sweet and it's not going to be overpowering. Instead, the Riesling will contrast the spices and enhance the flavors in the curry. It's a pair so good, you'll devour it in minutes.

Recommended: 2018 Firestone Riesling

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Pepper Pot and Carignan

Pepper pot is a delicious stew that is made with beef, pork, vegetables, and cassareep. Cassareep is a thick brown/black syrup made from the cassava root and usually additional spices are added to it. A fantastic wine choice for this dish is Carignan because of its flavors of baking spices and red berries. The wine will complement the cinnamon commonly found in pepper pot and balance out the fattiness from the meats.

Ribs and Zinfandel

Not everyone likes to have turkey or ham for the holidays and that's okay because another great option is having ribs! We all know how well Zinfandel pairs with barbecue, so pairing it with ribs is a no-brainer. We absolutely love how the jammy, fruit flavors of the Zinfandel bring out the tanginess in the barbecue.

Recommended: 2016 Foley Sonoma Oz Zinfandel

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Latkes and Sparkling Wine

If you thought you liked potatoes and sparkling wine, wait until you hear about this pairing-- latkes and sparkling wine! Latkes are grated potato pancakes that can be served with applesauce or sour cream. These fried potato pancakes taste positively delicious with a sparkling wine that is high in acidity leaving you wanting more with every bite.

Recommended: Lucien Albrecht Brut Rosé

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Lumpia and Gewürztraminer

On any normal day, we'd pair beer with lumpia, but for the holidays, we like pairing Gewürztraminer with it. There’s just something about the ginger flavors in the Gewürztraminer that pair so well with the sweet chili dipping sauce for the lumpia.

Recommended: 2016 Firestone Vineyard Gewürztraminer

Crab and Viognier

Crab season usually starts during mid-December which is why a lot of people choose to eat it during the holidays. Chardonnay is commonly paired with crab, but the holidays is the perfect time to mix things up and try something new. Viognier is a medium bodied white with flavors of citrus and stone fruit. It’s a great addition to any festive dinner table.

Recommended: 2017 Langtry Viognier

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