Let me start off by saying that I generally don’t like to classify wines as being seasonal. But, being that Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, all happen in a successive three-month timeframe, it has come to be known as “the holiday season.” And, when I think about the foods put out on display at the grocery stores here in the Northwestern United States, there is definitely an annual trend of foods associated with the holidays. Unsurprisingly, many of the same grocery-store advertised holiday food items, have ended up on my family’s holiday dinner table.
That said, I can confidently say that there are certain wines I gravitate towards drinking when the familiar foods of the holiday season are being served and/or cooked in my home.
Wine may not necessarily be the focal point of your Thanksgiving / Christmas Eve / Christmas dinner / New Year’s Eve celebrations, but if you want it to be, here are my favorite wines that pair notably well with the flavors of the season:
Champagne / Sparkling Wine. It’s elegant, semi-dry, and tiny streams of bubbles are visible from the flute glass — always a winner!
Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc, Napa Valley
De Favari NV Brut Prosecco, Italy
Pinot Noir. This is one of the most food friendliest wines because it’s relatively low in alcohol and low in tannins. Pinot’s from the Pacific Northwest region of the United States are known for having earthy flavors (think mushroom stuffing) as well as fruit flavors of the season like cranberry!
King Estate Pinot Noir, Oregon
Cabernet Franc. Popularly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for Bordeaux-style wine, Cabernet Franc is equally delicious on its own as a single varietal. Cabernet Franc compliments the flavors of your dark fruit-based poultry sauces and deepens the flavors of any vegetable-based entrees and sides.
Vina Castellano Cabernet Franc, Placer County
Vinho Verde. Looking for a wine to sip while you cook and socialize? Pick up a bottle of this 9% abv wine. It’s super light and refreshing with flavors of minerals and lime – which perhaps surprisingly, makes it an easy wine to pair with a wide variety of foods. Plus, there might be guests at dinner table who don’t like red wine (gasp!), introduce them to this product of Portugal and they’ll be happy to learn the world of wine extends beyond Pinot Grigio.
Aveleda Vinho Verde 2016, Portugal
Rosé. An often forgotten about wine during the fall/winter season, which in my opinion, is a tragedy! Pink wine is often misjudged as always being sweet, when in fact, there are plenty of dry pink wines out there, that make for some of the best food-pairing wines. I recommend:
Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir Rose, Monterey County
Merlot Family Estate Vineyards Syrah Rose, Trinity County
Late Harvest Riesling. Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of dessert wines. Nevertheless, they have their place on the dining table, as Late Harvest wines, such as the one I am featuring, pairs best with holiday desserts like pie and ice cream.
Hogue Late Harvest Riesling, Columbia Valley