With the holiday season just about to kick off, many will be focused on some of the delicious meals to come. Indeed, holiday recipes are a significant part of what makes this time of year so special for many of us, and there’s great value in perfecting a dish over the years to give the family something to look forward to. And for many food enthusiasts, the best way to take these perfected holiday recipes to the next level is with the ideal wine pairing.
Finding wine for the holidays can be tricky enough on its own, simply because you’ll probably want a special bottle or two on hand. One interesting option is to look through Marks and Spencer online, where the wine section not only offers variety, but provides you with options for selecting entire cases (allowing you to sample various bottles). Alternatively, your local wine shop may well be featuring a few special bottles for the holidays, which can always be fun to try. But before you bother with selecting wines, you should still give some thought to pairing them. And with that in mind, here are a few basic tips for pairing wine with traditional holiday meals.
- Ham Entrees – Ham is one of the most popular meats for holiday entrees, and as noted by a Huffington Post article on the same subject, it’s often accompanied by a sweet sauce or glaze. The combination of flavorful meat with sweetness makes for a tricky combination to match, though a smoky or slightly sweet red wine will usually be the best accompaniment, as it will stand up to the dish. Syrah may be your best bet.
- Turkey Entrees – Along with goose, turkey is a very popular bird for holiday feasts (often Thanksgiving, but for Christmas as well). Many like to suggest that white meats should always pair with white wine, but in this case it may be wise to make an exception. A red Zinfandel is a wonderful choice. These wines tend to be complex without being overpowering, and can handle both the light and dark meat, as well as the various sides (cranberry, stuffing, etc.) traditionally present.
- Duck Entrees – Duck is perhaps the most unique tasting of the birds popular in holiday entrees (though if your family tends toward pheasant or quail you’ll be used to other unique options), and can be tricky for wine. Duck is a very fatty meat, and therefore demands a wine with a bit of punch to it. However, like turkey and ham, and really any holiday meal, it’s often accompanied by sweet complements. Pinot Noir is worth considering, as a strong enough red to handle the fattiness, but with enough fruitiness to pair well.
- Holiday Desserts – Holiday Desserts take all forms, and for many sparkling wine is the ideal pairing for any dessert or festive occasion. However if you’re looking for an alternative, a Moscato or sweet Zinfandel can be a great accompaniment to traditional rich desserts.
This is a guest post by Damon Miller. Damon is a freelance writer and food and travel enthusiast who particularly enjoys visiting and sampling different vineyards across the world.