Holiday Entertaining

  • Christmas
  • on NOVEMBER 23, 2010
  • 30
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Holiday wine and food pairing can be tough. Figuring out which wines to pair with such a wide assortment of foods is a challenge for even the most experienced chef and the thought of entertaining on top of everything makes is stressful! Here are a few guidelines to follow to ensure your food and wine pairings are easy and fun:

Main Dish
For the white wine lover, a soft Chardonnay is a great accompaniment to poultry and an assortment of sides. Even a Riesling or Pinot Grigio could work. The minerality and apple-citrus notes common to Pinot Grigio match well with rich holiday foods. Also, while many assume white wine is the ideal poultry pairing, Pinot Noir’s fruity character and lack of tannins are ideal for serving with turkey. It’s vibrant and fruity character is sure to please red wine drinkers too.

If you end up serving an elegant roast meat at your holiday dinner, select a bolder red wine, like a Meritage, to match the stronger flavors of the meat.

Side Dishes
Any of these earlier wine pairing suggestions will also work well with the myriad of rich side dishes that often accompany the main course. To complement the spices and flavors try a delightful Syrah-Malbec. This lighter red, with its own notes of spices and earthiness, will stand up well to any dish, from sweet potato mash to creamed pearl onions.

My oh my, what goes well with pumpkin pie? Given the plethora of spices and flavors used in traditional holiday desserts, everything from cinnamon to pecans, it can seem overwhelming to find any wine that matches well with the end of the meal. An elegant and unique idea is to end on a celebratory note with a sparkling wine – the perfect complement to a rich meal. For a cheese plate or a rich dessert, like those with chocolate, try a full-bodied Cabernet or Syrah.

Don’t Forget the Host
Finally, if you are attending a holiday celebration, it’s also always an appropriate occasion to bring a wine gift for the host with a selection of wines to enjoy throughout the meal. A wine gift basket is a nice touch too – complete with wine and small snacks the host can serve at the gathering or save and enjoy while relaxing. Wine is also a great holiday gift.


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