The holiday season is an inherently festive time, and with an abundance of parties, get-togethers, and special events sprinkled generously throughout the last several weeks of the year, there are plenty of opportunities to imbibe. And with so much of the holiday season centered on food, there are countless opportunities for wine and food pairing and personalization.
Whether you’re a white wine lover or a red wine kind of person, and whether you’re planning a small, sit-down dinner or a large-scale affair, here’s a guide to some fantastic wine varietals that will leave you and your guests feeling particularly festive during this year’s holiday celebrations.
A rich and creamy, full-bodied white wine that typically has notes of vanilla. Apple, pear, and melon are the primary dominant flavors, while other fruits and smoke are apparent in this classic variety as well. All the flavors meld together in creating a white wine that boasts a rich, buttery texture vaguely reminiscent of your favorite holiday treats and sweets. Pairs well with: roast chicken, fresh corn on the cob, clams and seafood.
For a classic and smooth wine flavor that goes well with different dishes, Merlot is an ideal choice. Medium-bodied, with an uncomplicated fruitiness that is often described as “jammy” and a taste that’s reminiscent of plums or cherries, this easy-to-drink wine varietal is a crowd pleaser that pairs well with many dishes, such as pasta, lamb, and red meat.
- Cabernet Sauvignon
Want to “wow” your party guests with a big and bold red wine with a rich, velvety texture and a lot of tannins? Cabernet Sauvignon is a good way to go. Not only is it a bold, garnet color that conjures up images of Christmas decorations and cozy fireplaces, but it also offers fantastic cherry and blackberry flavors with a subtle coffee, chocolate, and tobacco finish. It pairs well with strong cheeses, red meat and heavy dishes, making it the perfect wine for holiday indulging.
Syrah is one of the darkest red wines in the market. With its deep red hue and full-bodied texture exuding rich flavors of berries, pepper, tobacco, and even smoked meat, this varietal will jazz up any holiday festivity. It is an ideal accompaniment to meat and just about any food you enjoy eating during the holidays. A great bonus to drinking Syrah is that due to the high level of tannins present in the wine, it also has one of the highest levels of health-benefiting antioxidants.
The garnet-hued Tempranillo from Spain exudes flavors of tea, brown sugar and vanilla when made in traditional style, and can display aromas and flavors of plums, tobacco and cassis when made in a more modern style. This red wine tends to be medium-bodied wine with substantial tannins, likely to keep your guests wanting more. Due to its savory qualities, roasted vegetables, cured and grilled meats, and tomato-based dishes create an exceptional pairing.
Wines make an ideal choice for any holiday occasion, from Christmas dinners to New Year’s Eve celebrations. So, sit back and sip on something sensational this holiday season and bring your friends and family along for the fun!