12 Dec Your Guide to Holiday Wines, Pairings & More
‘Tis the season to shower yourself, friends, and family with holiday cheer. A great way to elevate your celebrations is to consider how to select your holiday wines, pairings, and more.
How To Select Holiday Wines
Whether you plan to pair wines with food or simply swirl and enjoy during the festivities, wine selections are a great way to make the time with your holidays even more special. Here are our favorite tips…
Consider Your Holiday Dishes
To accommodate a diverse array of pairings, consider the food you will be serving. At a quick glance, here’s how to select food and wine pairings:
- Greens & Veggies = High acid, refreshing whites
- Lean Fish = Light-bodied whites or Rosé
- Fatty Fish = Round, medium-bodied white wines
- White Meats = Light-bodied reds or fruity medium-bodied reds
- Lean Beef Cuts = Light to medium-bodied reds such as Pinot Noir or Zinfandel
- Rich Red Meats = Medium to bold earthly, savory reds
Putting these three parameters into practice, let’s start with vegetarian dishes. Try pairing green vegetables with our Sparkling Vermentino, a crisp, high-acid white that will play well with this (often difficult) category of food pairing. More savory vegetarian or meat dishes can’t go wrong with Pinot Noir, arguably the most versatile red wine to pair with food (we are biased).
Our Sparkling Vermentino or Slusser Vineyard Rosé will be a lovely companion to lean fishes, whereas more fatty fish will be best served with our round, aged 2012 Shiloh Hill Chardonnay or our Skin Fermented Pinot Gris.
When it comes to red meats, it’s hard to go wrong with an appellation Pinot Noir, such as our Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, or a Zinfandel like our Grist Vineyard Zin from Dry Creek Valley. If you will be serving rich, bold red meat, reach for an aged Pinot Noir with more density and structure, such as our 2011 Hallberg Pinot Noir or 2013 Floodgate Pinot Noir (known today as Starscape), both from Russian River Valley.
Variety is Everything
One thing we know for sure is that wine lovers love exploring a variety of wines and oftentimes, your guests will have a range of preferences. For this reason, we recommend you intentionally select wines that will cater to many different taste profiles.
For white drinkers, providing both oaked and unoaked options can be essentially important. When it comes to red wines, if you are leaning towards a particular varietal, be sure to explore both appellation and single-vineyard options and a variation of weight, from light- to full-bodied, expressions within that varietal. You should also try to have a variety of vintages, which will certainly add complexity and dimension. Try some vertical flights (sequential vintages) or horizontal flights (same vintage, different vineyards). You see, even if you are like us (obsessed with Pinot Noir) you can still take everyone at your holiday table on an adventure through different tastes and textures that will delight and surprise.
To summarize, try to offer:
- A variety of vintages,
- A wide range of varietals, and/or
- A variety of expressions of a single varietal.
Seek Out Magnums Whenever Possible
It can be difficult to share a single bottle with everyone you intend if the gathering is large. Magnums are the best way to spread that juice even further. Not only does it look regal and generous to your guests when pulling the cork on a magnum, but there’s something symbolic about everyone drinking from the same double bottle.
If you can’t find a magnum for the wines you are looking for, purchase multiple bottles to ensure everyone gets a taste.