It’s late December and the house has been decorated, wood is stacked and ready for the fire, and it looks like you’re living in a snow globe. In an ideal world, of course. As you plan your menu, trying to accommodate your guests’ dietary preferences, one worry that can easily be checked off the list is the wine. Here are some handy recommendations to pair with traditional holiday fare. They work flexibly with various foods, and having just a couple of bottles at the ready is sure to make your entertaining flow seamlessly.
Turkey, ham, and gravy galore tend to festoon many a holiday table during celebrations leading through the new year. If this sounds like your table, picking up a Beaujolais is essential. These wines, comprised of the Gamay grape, are lighter style reds and have an underlying earthy quality and balanced acidity – perfect for complimenting, not overwhelming the flavors of a traditional feast. Look for Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages or selections from Kermit Lynch.
A dry rosé is also a must-have for the holidays. A French or Austrian variety is ideal due to the more subtle flavor profile. The Tinhof BioRose, comprised of organic Blaufränkisch, features grapes harvested from old vines. In other words, the best fruit! This rosé is dangerously delicious. White pepper interplays with hints of wild strawberry, yet the wine remains fairly dry. Pair this with your lighter appetizers.
In addition, Riesling is always great to have on hand and doesn’t necessarily equate to sweetness. The Urban Riesling from Mosel, Germany has all the acidity needed for food pairings without the cloying sweetness of some. Riesling from any producer can be used as an aperitif or an ideal complement to a cheese plate dotted with candied almonds and quince paste. Local cheeses are abundant in Vermont making it a breeze to put together a diverse selection. Go for a variety of soft, hard, and stronger cheeses; mild and young to aged and aromatic. Jasper Hill Farms Bayley Hazen blue, Vermont Creamery goat cheese, Cabot clothbound cheddar, and a Blythedale Brie would be a fantastic way to while away hours by the wood stove, Riesling in hand.
Finally, sparkling wine or champagne. It is the holidays after all! This is the universal crowd pleaser. When a guest opens the door, greet them with a glass of sparkling and you are guaranteed to earn hosting accolades for years to come. A true champagne isn’t the only option, though. Budget-friendly Prosecco also serves a similar purpose. Italian sparklers from La Marca and Zardetto are readily available at most wine shops and even some grocery stores!
Here’s to the season and a happy healthy new year!