Eat, Drink, and Be Merry with these Holiday Wine Pairings
Written by Missa Capozzo, Team Leader with Traveling Vineyard on December 1, 2015
Good cheer for a chilly night
Despite the cold and the ice and the snow, winter is a time of celebration. We beat back the dark with lights and music and the company of good friends. And there is nothing quite as festive as an excellent meal with our favorite people. The final touch of warmth and cheer for any spread is the perfect holiday wine pairing to enrich each dish.
Light the candles, come to the table
Classic Hanukkah dishes like brisket pair magnificently with a rich, fuller bodied red, such as LUXX Merlot. LUXX has such smooth tannins and almost a sense of sweetness to it, not because it is high in residual sugar, but because the ripe fruit flavors give that impression. This allows the wine to pair perfectly with the sweeter sauces that often accompany brisket. If you want something with a little more spice, 5 String Petite Sirah will give you exactly what you’re looking for.
And who doesn’t love nice golden brown latkes? These incredible potato pancakes call for a wine high in acid that will cut through the oily texture and richness. Steeple Street Chardonnay has just that, a nice crisp acidity that will brighten up these flavors and textures. And there won’t be any heavy oak getting in the way of the crispness as Steeple Street is unoaked and boasts a beautiful fruit-forward palate.
An Italian Christmas
As part of our tradition as an Italian family, seafood always covered our dinner table on Christmas Eve. Lobster, stuffed clams, seafood casserole, smelts, oysters, chowder, you name it! Lobster dipped in melted butter just begs to be paired with a lightly oaked Chardonnay, such as Zeffer Hills, as does a warm, creamy cup of chowder. The oaked Chardonnay carries the same buttery flavor and creamy texture of these foods, making it a perfect match.
Oysters and Sauvignon Blanc were made for each other, with wonderfully complementary crispness. Whether it’s a style with nice citrus, such as Jitterbug, or a style that’s somewhat rounder and fuller such as Lulo, your oysters will shine with such a perfect pairing.
Spruzzi, a Sicilian Grillo, will be a shining star when paired with any seafood and lemon dishes, such as shrimp scampi or lemon pepper swordfish. The acidity in the lemon will match the acidity in the wine, resulting in a wonderfully smooth, fruit-filled palate.
Following our seafood courses would be our Italian red sauce pasta dishes with meatballs and sausages. When eating Italian cuisine, I suggest drinking an Italian wine alongside it.
Our new Italian Armatura Sangiovese has a lovely rustic palate of black cherry, earth, smoke, and black pepper. This complements your Italian dishes, salads, meat, and cheeses perfectly.
Sweets & friends
The holidays are almost synonymous with desserts, such as cookies, trifle, peppermint bark, and various candies. There’s no reason to move on from wine when the dessert table makes an appearance. If anything, the right dessert and wine pairings can highlight and entwine the flavors we love.
The coffee undertones of Burl Pinotage will come right to the forefront when paired with tiramisu or any coffee-flavored treat, like chocolate-covered espresso beans.
Our Amped Tannat displays delicious notes of anise, which will be the star of the show when paired with Italian chocolate anisette cookies.
Gingerbread men will come alive when paired with Pebble Viognier.
Fissata is a sweet, fizzy dessert wine alive with red berry flavors. When it comes to pairing sweet wines and food, you want the wine to be at least (if not more) as sweet as the food you are pairing it with. Cheesecake is a perfect example, as it isn’t too sweet. A strawberry topped cheesecake will melt in your mouth and create an explosion of red berries on the palate when paired with Fissata.
My personal favorite, peppermint bark, is incredible when paired with Heist Cabernet Sauvignon. Both Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah often have secondary notes of mint and/or eucalyptus. These minty tones really come alive when you pair our Bentgate Cabernet Sauvignon or Boombox Syrah, with peppermint bark brownies.
The rich chocolate brownies support the wine’s weight and will bring any chocolate tones out of the wine, while the peppermint topping brings that eucalyptus or mint to life.
Not a fan of mint? Pair any of these wines with fudge brownies and allow the fruity blackberry notes of the wines to come to the forefront.
Toast the New Year right
As the New Year approaches, what better way to celebrate than with a crisp, slightly sweet bubbly? While the Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava flows, I like to think outside the box and sip on a cool, refreshing sparkling white wine.
Our festive Streamer sparkling white has the perfect hint of citrusy sweetness. Not only is this a great toasting and celebratory wine, it is also incredibly food friendly and will pair with just about anything. My motto is always, “when in doubt, go sparkling!”
Make your own tradition
These are just a few ideas for holiday wine pairings. The winter season is bursting with good food, and good wine always follows right behind. You can check out my post on fall food and wine pairings for other cold weather favorites or dream up your own and share them at #TVWinePairings.
2014 LUXX, Happy Canyon Merlot
2013 5 String, Hames Valley Petite Sirah
2014 Steeple Street, California Chardonnay
2013 Zeffer Hills, San Benito Chardonnay
2014 Jitterbug, Clarksburg Sauvignon Blanc
2014 Lulo, Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc
2014 Spruzzi, Grillo Terre Siciliane IGP
2014 Armatura, Sangiovese, Rosso di Toscano, IGT, Governo
2014 Burl, Western Cape Pinotage
2014 Amped, Tulum Valley Tannat
2013 Pebble, Mendocino Viognier
Fissata, Fizzy Red, New York
2013 Heist, Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
2012 Bentgate, Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi
2013 Boombox, Syrah, California
Streamer Sparkling White