By Barbara Hay ~
It’s the holiday season and whether your tradition is a casual buffet or a sit-down feast, selecting and serving wines to complement these joyful days shouldn’t be hard to do. With a bit of guidance and your own good taste, you will definitely be able to select wines that match your menus, suit your budget and are sure to make your holidays memorable.
When in doubt, you can always reach for Champagne. Champagne is perfect with anything salty. Most dry sparkling wines, such as Brut Champagne or Spanish Cava, actually have a faint touch of sweetness. That makes them extra-refreshing when served with salty foods. Rosé Champagnes, Cava and sparkling wine from California, have the depth of flavor and richness to go with a wide range of main courses and flavors. An added benefit: bubbles make it all the more festive!
When it comes to white wines, most people think Chardonnay. First, consider your menu. If you’re planning on fish like salmon or seafood in a lush sauce, chardonnay is a good choice. Look for silky Chardonnays from California, Chile or Australia that are lightly oaked.
Moscato d’Asti: This wine loves fruit desserts. Most moderately sweet sparkling wines such as Moscato d’Asti, demi-sec Champagne and Asti Spumante help emphasize the fruit in the dessert, rather than the sugar. Often these wines are also lower in alcohol and are a bit “frizzante” which makes them a delightful aperitif or toasting wine for those who want to keep their alcohol level in check.
Grüner Veltliner: Austrian Grüner Veltliner’s citrus-and-clover scent is lovely when there are lots of fresh herbs in a dish. it’s one of the few wines that pairs perfectly with asparagus, and all sorts of vegetables with white pepper background.
Sauvignon Blanc: A white that always appears on our list because it goes so well with tart dressings, sauces and tangy foods. Foods with a lot of bright crisp citrus flavors won’t overwhelm zippy wines like Sauvignon Blanc. You can also try a Verdejo from Spain.
Pinot Grigio: Pairs with light seafood dishes, which seem to take on more flavor when matched with equally delicate white wines, such as Pinot Grigio. For something different, give Arneis from Italy or Chablis from France.
Rieslings, Gewürztraminers and Vouvrays: Pair these with sweet & spicy dishes The slight sweetness of many of these wines helps to tame the heat of spicy Asian and Indian dishes.
Sometimes you’re torn between red or white, this is when Dry Rosé can come into play. It’s perfect for rich and/or cheesy dishes. Some cheeses go better with white wine, some with red; yet almost all pair well with dry rosé, which has the acidity of white wine and the fruit character of red. Many of our favorites are those from Chinon or Anjou in the Loire Valley.
When it comes to red wines, many reach for a cab, but that can overpower some dishes. Again, you need to consider your menu.
Pinot Noir is great for dishes with earthy flavors and ingredients like mushrooms and truffles. An alternative: Dolcetto, which is light-bodied but full of savory depth.
Malbec and Côtes-du-Rhône are both big and bold enough to drink with foods brushed with heavily spiced barbecue sauces, there’s no need to fear they will be overshadowed.
Syrah/Shiraz: When meat is heavily seasoned, look for a red wine with lots of spicy notes. Syrah from Washington, Shiraz from Australia are all good choices If you want to try something a little different, try a Xinomavro from Greece.
Zinfandel: For pâtés, mousses, and terrines If you can use the same adjectives to describe a wine and a dish, the pairing will often work. For instance, the words rustic and rich describe Zinfandel, Italy’s Nero d’Avola and Spain’s Monastrell.
Cabernet Sauvignon: Is fabulous with juicy red meat because the firm tannins refresh the palate after each bite of meat. Remember, Bordeaux and Bordeaux-style blends are also terrific with steaks or chops.
Follow this simple and basic guide and you will not be disappointed. https://wineitudes.com/