In his iconic performance in Elf, Will Ferrell proclaims that “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” And while singing Christmas carols certainly gets people in the mood for the holidays, there is an even better way to spread cheer: food and wine! With a little bit of preparation, you can please people’s palates with wines that accentuate the food you serve.
Accent the Appetizers
The holidays are a time to focus on fun appetizers, and here is a handful of our favorites.
There are many wonderful designs and combinations to wow guests, with the focus being meats, olives, and hard cheeses. For a combination platter like this, go with Italian wine. A medium-bodied red like cabernet sauvignon is an excellent choice.
From jalapeno poppers to spicy egg rolls and dips, the holidays are a time for heat. Pair these appetizers with a riesling. The brightness and acidity will cut through the heat, while the low alcohol content will get the party going at a reasonable pace.
For your cocktail meatballs or mini-pizzas, reach for a Sangiovese, whose nice tannins and refreshing acidity go well with tomato-based foods like pizza or meatballs.
Mesh with the Meats
Many people pull out all the stops for the holidays, serving decadent cuts of meat that only come around once a year.
When serving turkey, you need to match the lightness with a white wine or light red. Chablis and pinot gris are excellent choices for white, while a full-bodied rosé is gentle enough to pair with turkey’s delicate white meat.
Whether you choose a standing rib roast or prime rib, you will need a hearty wine with full-bodied tannins to stand up to the red meat, such as a cabernet sauvignon or syrah. Try a Brunello if you want a little more flair.
If ham is on your holiday table, try a light-to-medium body white or a fruity red (which has a slightly sweet taste to pair with the glaze covering most hams). A burgundy, pinot noir, or riesling are also all fine choices to pair with the sweetness.
Capitalize on the Cookies
Nothing says Christmas like trays of delicious Christmas cookies. Pairing them with select wines will wrap up your dinner in style.
Serve a cabernet sauvignon with chocolate chip cookies. The cherry and currant with dark chocolate and mocha notes will meld well with the cookies’ chocolatey goodness. You get bonus points if you serve them hot and fresh out of the oven.
Pair gingerbread with a full-bodied rosé, which features blueberry, black stone fruit, and hints of black pepper. It will stand up well to the spiciness of the cookie, and keep your mouth buzzing.
Pairing the above foods with a matching wine is sure to bring a smile to the faces of your holiday guests. And once they have finished the feast, they just might be ready to break into song– or pass out into a marvelous holiday food coma.