Food and Wine Pairing Guide to Impress Your Guests this Holiday Season

In this helpful guide, we'll discuss the basics of wine and food pairing and provide you with some tips and tricks to make it easier.

Food and wine pairing can be a daunting prospect if you’re planning a holiday celebration. But with a little bit of knowledge, you can easily put together the perfect food and wine pairings for your upcoming festivities. In this helpful guide, we’ll discuss the basics of wine and food pairing and provide you with some tips and tricks to make it easier.

Introduction to Food & Wine Pairings

Basics of food and wine pairing

Food and wine pairing is the art of choosing the perfect wines to enhance the flavors of a meal. There are a few basic rules that can help you find the ideal food and wine pairings, such as matching like flavors and considering the intensity of both the food and wine. This is important when it comes to food and wine pairings as the wrong combination can sabotage the meal. It is essential to take into account the flavors of each dish and how they will interact with the flavor profile of the wine. For example, a light fish dish will pair nicely with a lighter white wine, while a heavier red wine would pair well with a bolder, heartier dish like steak. Additionally, it is important to consider the intensity of both the food and wine because pairing a light and subtle food with an overly bold or intense wine can cause them to clash. Taking into account these basic rules can help you create an ideal pairing for your next holiday gathering.

Pairing food with vintage wine

When it comes to vintage wine, the options are wide and varied. Every vintage wine possesses its own flavor profiles and nuances that make each vintage varietal a unique experience in itself. Not only do different vintages possess unique flavors and characteristics, but vintage wines can also bring out different flavor notes in food. By experimenting with different vintage selections you can find the perfect complementary vintage for your meal, allowing you to fully appreciate the flavors of both the meal and vintage selection. If you’re new to food and wine pairing and are entertaining guests who are particular about vintage wine, consider speaking with an expert to select the right bottle.

 

Selecting Wine for Christmas and New Year’s Eve

Consider a bottle of Bordeaux for Christmas dinner

When selecting a wine for the holidays, it’s important to consider the occasion and the type of food that will be served. Bordeaux is a great choice for Christmas dinner, as it features a wide range of styles that can complement many main dishes. Reds are typically full-bodied and can handle heavier dishes such as beef or game, while whites offer a more delicate flavor that pairs nicely with light fish or poultry dishes. Additionally, Bordeaux is known for its aged complexity, which makes it an excellent choice for more sophisticated dinners.

Check out some of our favorite Bordeaux bottles below.

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New Year’s Eve calls for Champagne, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc

New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to explore different flavor combinations, so why not try something new this year? Create and share recipes that feature complementary tastes and textures paired with great bottles of wine. Start the night with a New Year’s Eve-inspired appetizer, like creamy ricotta dip or baked brie, both of which pair perfectly with the right bottle of Champagne. A celebratory entrée, like sautéed salmon with tart lemon zest in a garlicky cream sauce, would be a perfect match for a high-acidity wine like Sauvignon Blanc. A delicious dessert like crème brûlée or bread pudding could be the highlight of your New Year’s Eve celebration, paired with a sweet Riesling to end the meal. No matter which flavors you choose to combine, New Year’s Eve is sure to be an evening full of wonderful tastes!

Check out some of our favorite Champagne bottles below.

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Creating your holiday food and wine menu

Choose dishes that pair well together

Start by considering the texture and flavors of each dish you plan to serve when creating wine pairings. When you are planning your meal, it’s important to plan out what dishes you will pair together, as well as what flavors, textures, and styles they will have in common. Combinations such as acid and fat, umami and sweet, or spicy and creamy are all examples of successful food pairing. Your wine selections should bring out the best in your dishes, so creating dishes that pair well together is the first step. 

Decide how you want your wine to interact with your food

It is important to look at the sweetness, acidity, and spiciness of each dish on the table. Wine has the ability to bring out the flavors of a dish, or balance a dish that’s very sweet or spicy. Learning to identify flavor profiles in different ingredients can also help you create delicious yet balanced pairings. If you’re serving spicy dishes, consider a full-bodied dry wine like a Shiraz. If you’re planning on a lighter dish, consider a sweeter wine like Champagne or a sweet Riesling to bring out the richness of the ingredients

Think about regions and cultures as well as flavors

You can also consider the cultural background of each dish to create a more interesting combination of food and wine. When pairing the wine with your chosen dish, consider the cultural background of each one in order to create a more interesting combination. For example, a French or Italian red would be an ideal accompaniment for a Mediterranean-inspired dish. Likewise, an Australian Riesling or a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc could be perfect for seafood options. Ultimately, careful selection of both the food and the wine will result in an unforgettable experience for you and your guests.

Consider who will be at the table

It’s essential to consider the preferences of your guests when selecting a wine for holiday gatherings or special occasions. Look to see what type of wine they normally drink as well as any special holiday favorites that they may enjoy. With vintage wine or full-bodied reds, make sure the taste isn’t too strong for the group of guests. Have some fun and experiment with the types of holiday wines you can serve this season but make sure you have something for everyone in attendance.

 

Pairing Champagne with Holiday Meals

Why is Champagne so popular during the holidays?

Sparkling wines like Champagne are typically popular during festive occasions and make a great pairing with appetizers or desserts. Champagne adds an extra bit of sparkle and brings holiday cheer. When paired correctly with a meal, Champagne is a welcome treat. But consider what you’ll be serving before making your final selections.

Should Champagne always be your go-to?

Sometimes, but not always. It is important to understand the different flavors of food and Champagne so you can make informed decisions when pairing them together. When it comes to Champagne, there are a variety of Champagne types and flavors that could pair well with different dishes. While Brut champagne usually pairs well with savory appetizers such as spiced nuts or cheeses, sweeter champagne can make a good addition to desserts like macarons. 

When to avoid pairing food with Champagne

The acidity, tannins, and alcohol content of both food and wine should be considered when deciding which combinations to avoid. Champagne’s dry nature can result in a sharp contrast when paired with particular foods. It’s best with creamy cheese, slightly sweet desserts, and certain nut flavors, but it’s a big no-no to pair Champagne with overly sweet treats or extremely strong cheeses like bleu cheese. Remember, Champagne can enhance many flavors, but already bold flavors tend to compete with Champagne and won’t pair well.

 

Our go-to holiday picks 

Looking for the perfect bottle to serve or gift this holiday season? Check out our 2022 Fine Wine Gift Guide!

Final thoughts

Pairing food and wine can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right knowledge and a willingness to experiment, you can put together the perfect pairings for your holiday celebrations. Keep in mind that you don’t have to stick to old rules about what goes with what. Taste is subjective, so don’t be afraid to mix things up and find out what works for you. Happy holidays!

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