The holidays are right around the corner and that means welcoming in a season spent with family and friends. Almost 70% of Americans say they look forward to the holidays as a chance to spend quality time with loved ones, share delicious foods, and imbibe expertly paired wines. But you don’t have to be a professional sommelier to build the perfect wine list for your holiday celebration.
With the grapes growing in tight clusters, this wine was not always easy to cultivate, but nevertheless has become one of the world’s favorites. Because of its middle-of-the-road qualities, pinot noir suits the tastes of white wine drinkers as much as it does red wine drinkers. For a little extra kick, consider spicing up your traditional recipes, no pun intended. With classic turkey, fresh herbs and seasonal spices like thyme, dill, and allspice can bring the flavor of pinot noir forward for the perfect pairing. Best served while cool to the touch, or around 63 degrees Fahrenheit, pinot noir hits all the traditional meal high notes from harvest salads, to stuffing, to glazed sweet potatoes.
For the discerning wine lover, no two pairings are exactly alike and the same could be said for holiday celebrations as well. Not every meal calls for a main course turkey and a side of pumpkin pie; the magic of the season comes from its inclusivity. Though sometimes considered a spring or summer wine, chardonnay has a place on the holiday dinner table. Pairing wonderfully with chicken, seafood, and even vegetarian and vegan recipes, chardonnay brings a citrusy flair to more nontraditional celebrations. Much like pinot noir chardonnay also has origins from Burgundy, and is made from a natural crossing of pinot noir and gouais blanc grapes. On the holiday dinner table, its aromas can range from deep and earthy to fruity and tropical, depending on the origin of the bottle selected. Complimenting dishes seasoned with spices like tarragon and turmeric, chardonnay parallels the bright and spicy flavors perfectly and is usually served at a chilled temperature of between 48 and 54 degrees Fahrenheit.
No holiday celebration, both traditional and non-traditional alike, is complete without desserts and sweet treats. Nearly every country in the world has their own version of sparkling wine, but its chardonnay and pinot noir grapes, yet again, that are usually included. Bubbly sparkling wine juxtaposed against buttery shortbread cookies bring a balance to the acidity of champagne while highlighting the smooth texture of the pastries. Fresh fruit topped on pies, crepes, and tarts are light enough to follow a hefty holiday meal, brought together with a cold to the touch flute of sparkling wine.
Whether you’re home for the holidays or building your own celebration with friends, discovering the right wines for your menu turns any meal into a party. Holidays spent with loved ones create their own memories – and good wines are just the icing on the cake. Take a look at this infographic for more on how to get started building your own holiday wine list, where to mix, where to match, and how to find the perfect wine to compliment any dish.
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