Simple Food and Wine Pairings for Holiday Dinners

Served for holiday dinner
Served for holiday dinner

We often like to say that pairing wine with food is like an art form that we cannot get enough of. However, figuring out the perfect pair for each feature of the wine, from acidity and level of tannings to color and flavor notes, can be quite intimidating for a beginner. Especially when they are cooking a four-course meal for the entire family!

This is why we decided to explain here a few classic foods and wine pairings that will fit perfectly at your dinner table. Keep reading to learn the simple tips which we used to select each wine and discover other alternatives that can work with your holiday meals!

  1. Appetizers and Champagne

Holiday appetizers can mean anything from a carefully curated cheese plate to some traditional pigs in a blanket. Because the flavor profile is so diverse, we decided to recommend a classic sparkling wine that beautifully accompanies any dish. Generally speaking, Champagne is dry and has high acidity, which helps cut through fatty food and refreshes the palette for future dishes.

This bubbly beverage is associated with special occasions, so it works perfectly as a holiday wine! If you cannot get your hands on a bottle of Champagne, other sparkling wines like Prosecco and Cava work as well.

  1. Beef and Bordeaux

Choosing one wine to pair with all types of steak is almost impossible. We chose to go with one of the classic pairings for beef: Bordeaux. This full-bodied, bold red wine can stand up to the most flavorful of steaks, regardless of seasoning or fattiness. Not to mention the rich flavors of dark cherries, blackberries, and licorice that balance out the umami taste of beef dishes.

Therefore, no matter if you are enjoying a rib-eye steak or a burger, the tannins in Bordeaux are sure to elevate your tasting experience. If you are looking for alternatives, other versatile wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Malbec.

  1. Turkey and Zinfandel

For lean meat like turkey or chicken, it’s best to stick to a fruity white wine. High tannins can be too harsh for white meat. So, if you prefer red, go for a low or medium tannin variety. Zinfandel is the most popular Thanksgiving choice for wine enthusiasts because it is a light-bodied, fruit-forward white that pairs well with a variety of side dishes. Other wines that go well with turkey are Beaujolais, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.

  1. Dessert and Rosé

The dessert choices can vary greatly from one home to the other. Pairing dessert with wines is an extensive topic on its own, which is why we chose a versatile option like rosé. If you want to go one step further in flavor matching, you can choose a dark red wine like Merlot for chocolatey desserts and a Riseling for fresher, citrusy recipes.

Similar to how you color match red wines to red meat, and white meat to white wines, you can do the same for dessert. Ideally, you will match the fruit notes with the flavors in the dessert as well. There are truly endless possibilities when pairing wine with dessert, so if you are feeling overwhelmed, just pick a rosé!

If you are having a potluck dinner, we recommend getting at least one red and one white wine. If you have all the four wine varieties we recommended in your cupboard; you will be ready for any dish!

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