Posted on by Bonnin Gimenez

Holiday Wine and Gift-Giving Guide

Holidays are here and although not everybody eats turkey on Thanksgiving or roast beef on Christmas, the theme of winter seasonal vegetables and roasted foods has become a staple for these holidays. Whether you are shopping wine for the celebration or giving out wine as a gift to grace the occasion, you can have a wine list of your own to manage everything from party platters to formal dinner parties. Instead of naming brands, this article tries to focus more on the food and wine pairing methodology for you to be able to choose your holiday wine like a pro!

Thanksgiving Dinner

The origin: Thanksgiving also called as “First Thanksgiving” is a holiday that is meant to celebrate the year’s harvest. It is the 2nd most popular holiday next to Christmas. There are 4 fundamental components that completes a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

  1. Turkey and other meat
  2. Dry spices
  3. Roasted dishes
  4. Winter Fruits & Vegetables including potato, squash, cranberry and brussel sprouts

With all these four elements together, it is quite noticeable that some food eliminates several wines. For one, a white wine won’t pair with roasted foods as well as say, a Rosé wine or a Red wine. Moveover, turkey pretty much eliminates a full-bodied red wine because of its more subtle flavor. If you want a wine that pairs well with exotic spices or baking spices, it’s great to seek out wines with similar tasting subtlety.

Selected Thanksgiving Wines

Here are wines selections perfect for classic Thanksgiving celebration.

  • Barbera will do very well with meals that include meats other than turkey such as beef, venison and roasted pork.
  • Gamay and Pinot Noir will pair perfectly with turkey, chicken or other lighter proteins. Ideal wines to pair with cream and cheese-based dishes.
  • Zinfandel or Primitivo, Châteauneuf du Pape and Lambrusco pairs perfectly with turkey and spiced cranberry sauce or other dishes with dry spices. Slightly sweet Lambrusco will hold up to sweet side dishes such as yams or the saccharine American classic: sweet potato marshmallow casserole
  • While Amarone pairs nicely with turkey and ham also great with dry spices like cinnamon, clove and dishes with inherent sweetness.


Christmas Wine

 There are several classic dishes served at Christmas including:

  • Roast Beef
  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Winter Vegetables and roasted sides

Wine Tip: Christmas has a lot of traditional variations so make your wine match the main protein dish.


Christmas Wines Selections

 For roasted beef, here is a list of the wine styles to complement your Christmas dinner.

  • Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, and Aglianico are savory and herbaceous choices
  • Nero d’Avola often compared to Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah
  • Sangiovese Sangiovese goes by other names, keep look out on Montalcino Rosso, Vino Nobile de Montepuliciano and tannic Brunello di Montalcino.
  • Tempranillo look for ‘Reserva’ Tempranillo from Rioja or check out the awesome Spanish wine value region called Ribera del Duero
  • Merlot Blends an excellent alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon is Merlot. Try looking for a 7+ year old Bordeaux Superieur
  • Cabernet Sauvignon blends for value, look into the 2010 vintage for some excellent Cabernet-based blends with any of Carmenere (in Chile) or Malbec (in Argentina)

Wine with Ham

  • Rosé Wine
  • Grenache or Garnacha Grenache has the fruitiness to stand up to inherently sweet ham.
  • Côtes du Rhône Blends This wine is actually a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Look for the 2010 vintage.

Now you have completed your wine list for the celebrations, complement your wine pairings with a special set of wine glasses. If you are planning to give out a wine or two as gift for the celebrations just give this list a second look  for an idea on what you should pick.