We all know holidays can already be stressful with the house full of extra dogs, people, opinions and your Aunt Susan's gluten allergy, without having to pick wines that will make each person happy at the table. Here we take the guess work out of choosing wines for your Holiday table in a few easy rules of thumb and some suggestions from our wine shop!
Pair the Preparation!
The general rule here is to pair the wines with the preparation of your menu. Using big, bold flavors in your sides and stuffing? Choose wines that will stand up to these flavors. Are you using lots of herbs, citrus or sweeter ingredients? Choose wines that have similar characteristics. Here are some examples we love here at Bartlett's.
Beaujolais, a Holiday Tradition
- Wines from Beaujolais are a natural choice at the Thanksgiving table with their lighter body and fresh, palate awakening style. These wines suit appetizers, turkey, all the fixings, even desserts. The tradition of Beaujolais Nouveau being released just one week ahead of Thanksgiving makes it only natural to celebrate with these spunky, fresh wines! Be sure to chill your Beaujolais down a bit, to about 55 degrees.
Chateau Lavernette Beaujolais Villages, $18- Certified organic with tart cherry and rhubarb aromas. Slightly more complex than Beaujolais Nouveau, this wine will stand up to heartier menu items without being heavy itself.
Duck or Goose is wonderful with the right red wine. Choose something medium in body. A big, tannic cabernet will likely over power these birds so try a fruity pinot noir or a medium bodied Cotes du Rhone to complement your roast.
La Closerie Des Lys- Pinot Noir, $15.99- The wild hillsides of the Pyrenees are expressed here with floral cherry and spice aromas with a silky and expressive finish. Love this wine!
Chateau Montfaucon Ces du Rhone, - A medium-bodied Grenache, Syrah, Carignane blend from the Rhône Valley that is spicy and fruit-forward-great on its own or with food.
Big Bold Wines for Big, Bold Flavors
Skip ahead to Christmas, just for a moment. Many households choose hearty roasts as the holiday centerpiece, such as Prime Rib and Leg of Lamb. Big, juicy reds are the smart choice here, with their spicy, dark berry flavors and palate cleaning tannins. Don't forget a couple of bottles for pizza the night before Thanksgiving!
Eagle Glen Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, $24- Juicy blackberries & plum with touches of vanilla & oak.
Long Meadow Ranch "Ranch House Red", Napa Valley, $33- Certified Organic. A lovely, easy-drinking blend to enjoy with the family.
Trentadue Winery "Old Patch Red #37", $12.99- A rich, fruity blend of zinfandel, syrah, carignane & petit syrah abundant with spicy fruit & a juicy finish. Great on its own, with red meats, pizza, you name it!
-Sparkling wines are the MVPs of the holiday wine arsenal. Bubbles can be paired with a staggering array of foods; Popcorn to oysters, dressed salads, fried appetizers, even BBQ. There isn't much that sparkling can't improve. Steer clear of overly strong cheeses, though. Instead choose a triple cream cheese like Delice de Bourgogne for a pairing that's out of this world!
Bailly La Pierre- Cremant de Bourgogne-Made in the traditional Champagne style, this rich and creamy wine from neighboring Burgundy can be served throughout a meal.
A zippy Riesling is the perfect accompaniment to holiday ham or Chinese take-out for the day after. The richness of the grape will cut through all of that delicious, salty pork, refreshing the palate for a second helping.
Kung Fu Girl Riesling, $11.99- Crisp, fresh and utterly lip smacking. Not all Rieslings are sweet, including this one, which is on the dryer end of the spectrum.
Steer clear of oaky whites with turkey. Instead, try a crisp chardonnay that's been aged in stainless steel for a fresh, fruity version of everyone's favorite grape.
Un-oaked Chardonnay can pair with practically any appetizer then go straight to the table for dinner.
Chamisal Chardonnay, Central Coast, California-$15.99- Rich, clean flavors of apple, kiwi & lemon while the nose is floral and abundant with apricot & citrus.
Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc, $21- Certified Organic. This is a great pairing with turkey; fruity & crisp. Plus it's a great match for the sides too!
The Wild Card- Rosé
That's right. I said it.
Usually relegated to a beach chair and sunglasses, Rosé is an unsung hero at the Thanksgiving table. With its naturally crisp and fresh flavors and aromas, it pairs very well with everything from cocktail hour, appetizers, salads and even the main event. Choose Rosé that is darker in color, usually signifying a bolder flavor, rather than the lighter varieties from Provence which are better for the beach.
Secco Italian Bubbles, Italy, $15- Remember what you learned about Sparkling Wines above? This one is no different, pairing with an array of foods while cleansing the palate for one just one more bacon-wrapped scallop!
Chateau Montfaucon, Rhone Valley, $14- Delicate aromas of violets & peach. Fruity & round with a lingering juicy finish.