Holiday Wine Pairing Guide
Mom’s stuffing, Aunt Nancy’s cranberry sauce and your sister’s sweet potatoes. Menu: done! But what about the wine? Choosing a bottle (or two!) of wine to bring to the holiday table can be tricky. Appealing to not only your menu, but to a cross-section of practiced palates and novice wine drinkers may seem challenging. But don’t stress out over one of the simplest tasks of the holiday season. Make it simple. Any wine you enjoy is a good wine!
One certainly doesn’t need to look to others to rate, score or direct you to make a particular wine choice. Bring a wine you’re familiar with to the table. Chances are it’ll be just fine – and maybe even sublime!
First and foremost, don’t worry about pairing with the herbaceous, the tart or the sweet accompaniments to your turkey, ham or prime rib. It’s much simpler to match the wine to the main protein dish. Here’s a few tried and true varietal selections for some classic holiday main dishes:
Wines to Serve with Ham
Ham just begs for a something lightly sweet. Look for wines with a touch of residual sugar like a Baily Vineyard & Winery Riesling or a Maurice Car’rie Winery Gewurztraminer. Both are lighter in style, a bit lower in alcohol and still offer plenty of food-friendly acidity and crowd-pleasing palate appeal. If you’re looking for an easy to pair red, go for a lighter style like Tempranillo. Great examples can be found at both Robert Renzoni Vineyard & Winery and at Danza del Sol Winery.
Wines to Serve with Turkey
Although an array of whites work perfectly well, Sauvignon Blanc is an all-time, hands-down favorite pick that holds up well to turkey – and all it’s side dishes. Temecula Valley provides the perfect playground for growing this varietal, so you’ll find many great examples of it here. Beautifully aromatic offerings from the musqué clone can be found at Hart Winery and at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa. Soft red varietals like Syrah also make suitable partners; you can find some fabulous ones at Falkner Winery and Leoness Cellars.
Wines to Serve with Prime Rib
White wines will have a hard time keeping up with the likes of Prime Rib, but there are so many reds to choose from that make impressive cohorts, you’re sure to find one you’ll all enjoy. Choose an affable Cabernet Sauvignon from Callaway Vineyard & Winery, a food friendly Italian varietal like Montepulciano or Sangiovese from Cougar Vineyard & Winery or an amazing Super Tuscan blend, Due Rossi, from Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery.