Pairing Wines with Holiday Meals

There are so many flavors, textures and tastes at the table, just keep it simple. Focus on the main dish and select a couple of different varieties of wine. Here are a few tips and suggestions to go with your holiday meal.

Selecting a wine for your holiday dinner
Select a wine that matches the main protein dish to start. Keep in mind when serving a lighter style meal, like fish or turkey, to pick a lighter white or red wine, and if a meal is more robust and flavorful then select a more robust red or white wine. The pairing should balance each other out.

Let your guest pick their wine
Depending on the size of your group, offer them a few choices that will complement what they have put on their plate. Try selecting a few whites, reds and even maybe a Rosé.

Keep it simple
Select food-friendly wines that are light- to medium-bodied. Avoid big, powerful, and wines high in alcohol because they will overwhelm the food. Choose a wine that you like and offer a few other choices.

Pick a wine that is local
Local wines make for great conversation at the dinner table. Although the summers are short and winters are cold, NH is home to about 30 wineries that produce wines, ciders, and meads. Many of our stores carry these wines and it is a great way to support local businesses.

End on a sweet note
End your meal with a sweet wine. Offer guests an Eiswein (Ice wine), Port, or Late Harvest wine with dessert. These wines are always crowd pleasers.

Here are a few suggestions

Red wines varietals:
Beaujolais offers a light fruity flavor that many people enjoy. A great pick for the white wine lover that wants to try red wines.

Pinot Noir has delicious flavors of strawberries, cherries and raspberries, which is perfect for just about any dish.

Barbara tends to be lower in tannin but higher in acidity with dark cherry, plum and blackberry flavors and pair nicely with turkey, roast beef, venison and even roasted pork.

Red Zinfandel tends to have more intense, spicy and red fruit flavors, which will pair well with duck, lamb, roast beef and venison.

Syrah has strong spicy, fruity flavors that will pair well with red meats like lamb, roast beef and any grilled meats.

Chateauneuf du Pape wines are full bodied very aromatic with spicy dark fruit flavors and have balanced acidity levels and pair nicely with lamb, roasted duck and venison along with roasted vegetables dishes.

White wine Varietals:
Riesling has a wide range of sweetness levels from dry to semi sweet and sweet with flavors of Nectarine, apricot and pears. German labels classify their wines on their ripeness levels. The ripeness level indicates when the grapes were picked and how sweet or dry the wine will be. Look for these level indicators. Starting with the driest (less residual sugar) to the sweetest (more residual sugar): Kabinett, Spatlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese and Eiswein.

Gewurztraminer has fruitier flavors of passion fruit, lychee and just enough spicy flavors that pairs well with turkey, ham and gamey meats.

Sauvignon Blanc has nice citrus and grassy flavors with crisp and clean acidity levels and pairs well with roasted chicken or turkey and many savory side dishes.

Chardonnay flavors range from ripe flavors of tropical fruits like pineapple, guava and mango to green apple and citrus flavors. The cooler climate Chardonnays pair well with chicken, ham, turkey and fish dishes. While the fuller bodied and barrel fermented Chardonnays pair well with rich fish dishes, turkey and many side dishes such as potatoes, corn, butternut squash and pumpkin dishes like pumpkin ravioli or pumpkin pie.

Port wines and Eiswein The wine should be at least as sweet as the dessert with enough acidity for a balanced taste.