Have you ever stood in the wine aisle of your local grocers during the holidays baffled as to the appropriate wine for meals featuring poultry, beef, pork, or seafood—not to mention the array of appetizers and side dishes?
Our Guide to Simplify Wine Choices
Six wines listed below are flexible enough to compliment your holiday cuisine for any item on the menu.
Also referred to as “Sancerre” in France, this medium-light bodied white wine is a winner. It features a crisp, herbal profile perfect for turkey, goose, chicken, or seafood.
A more full-bodied white, Chardonnay is an excellent partner to roast poultry, or fish. Likewise, Chardonnay pairs beautifully with beef, should you have guests who prefer to drink only white. In this case, opt for an oak-forward Chardonnay, as it will enhance the robust flavors of the beef.
Not as well-known as other whites, Viognier is a fantastic partner to roast turkey and other poultry dishes. Rounded in body with undertones of honey and spice, some of the best Viognier comes from the Rhone region of France, as well as Australia, and South Africa. Like Chardonnay, Viognier can also play well with beef.
With its bright acidity and versatile nature, Pinot Noir is one of the best choices for the holidays. It excels across the board with poultry, pork, and hearty beef dishes. The Pacific Northwest and California offer many solid choices with fruit-forward characteristics sure to please even the most discriminating palates.
Red Zinfandel has long been considered a great Thanksgiving wine for its ability to compliment turkey while also blending well with cranberry sauce and other sides. Its fruit-forward profile, along with notes of cinnamon, clove, and vanilla evoke the holiday season. Zinfandel also performs admirably with beef and pork, should your holiday dinner include a roast or baked ham.
Another fabulous red wine with beef is Syrah (known as Shiraz in Australia). This luscious red bursts with complex flavors from pepper to cherry, smoky to floral. In general, Syrah, made in France’s Rhone Valley is known more for its elegance and complexity, while Shiraz is bolder and more fruit-driven. If beef is on the menu, you can’t go wrong with Syrah.
Cabernet Sauvignon, the “King of Reds,” is the ultimate pairing for beef. Cabernet’s dark, full-bodied character, often reminiscent of currants and black cherry, enhances the hearty flavors of such entrees as prime rib or crown roast.
Let’s say you’ve been invited to a holiday event and wish to bring a bottle of wine, but you’re uncertain of the menu. The safest choices might be Pinot Noir or Chardonnay. Both wines have versatility across a broad spectrum of entrees, and will be welcome additions to the holiday table.
All of these featured wines are readily available at your local markets where helpful staff can assist you in determining the best selections and values based on your individual tastes and budget.