The holidays are a time of sharing and caring, family and friends, shopping and cooking. Don’t stress out. You’ll get through it – with a little help from wine!
When choosing wine for a group, it’s hard to know how to please every individual palate. There are a few wine varietals that tend to appeal to the broadest spectrums – Pinot Grigio/Gris, Vouvray, and for reds, Zinfandel and Grenache blends. Of course, you can’t go wrong with bubbles. For many wine drinkers, it’s simply an easy-drinking wine they are looking for, and not a specific flavor component to go with each dish served. Of course, there are nerds like me who choose the wine first, then make the food to best enhance the bottle. But don’t worry, your average holiday house guest won’t feel the same way.
Of course, I can’t hit every holiday dish, but I’ll touch on the ones that I most often see at a southern dining table during holiday celebrations. If you’d like the wines you serve to shine just as much as your dinner, consider serving a couple of appetizers, each paired with a wine. Then, sit down for a salad just before the main course is served, and pair the main course and all of its delicious side dishes with an easy-going wine that appeals to a lot of different palates.
Traditional Southern Deviled Eggs and Sparkling Wine
By the 1940s, deviled eggs were a staple at nearly any large gathering from picnics to birthday parties, to holiday gatherings.
The creamy texture and slightly tart taste of the yolk filling makes a lovely companion to a sparkling wine, which just happens to be a great starter as guests arrive to your holiday feast. Look for Hilmy Cellars Sparkling as a welcome wine and a nice compliment to this well-loved appetizer.
Waldorf Salad with a bright, crisp Chenin Blanc
The Waldorf salad was introduced in 1893, and across the U.S., it remains a popular first course at the holiday table. Not only does it add a nice pop of color to what can often be a very beige array of foods at the holiday table, but it’s also a fresh and crisp starter that pairs nicely with the easy-drinking Chenin Blanc. The lettuce, green apple, celery, and walnuts have a complexity that balances nicely with McPherson Cellars Chenin Blanc.
Honey-Baked Ham with Mashed Potatoes and a dry Rosé
Pretty pink wines can be made from all kinds of different grapes and at varying levels of sweet to dry. Not only will the wine look lovely on your table, but rosés can also appeal to many different drinkers and an off-dry to dry version pairs nicely with the sweet meatiness of a honey-baked ham. Adega Vinho makes fantastic rosé (from any vintage and any grape!) that will be a nice compliment to ham on your holiday table.
Roasted Turkey and Dressing with Grenache
Grenache can be made into a rosé, a light bodied red wine, or a Spanish-style Garnacha red. Many of the Texas examples are a lighter red color but are big on flavor and complexity. These wines fit well with the range of tastes on a plate of roasted turkey and dressing (with gravy, of course). Whether you like cranberry sauce or not, Sandy Road Vineyards 2022 Grenache is a great fit.
Prime Rib with Bacon Green Beans
This tender, juicy, flavorful cut of beef is often the choice for an intimate holiday celebration. I especially love the leftovers on a sandwich with brie, cranberry sauce, and a hint of horseradish. A rich, juicy, flavorful Zinfandel is a perfect wine alongside prime rib. Look for Spicewood Vineyards 2019 Zinfandel.
When it comes to the wine to serve with your desserts, it’s smart to go with something just as sweet as the cakes, pies, and candies. Val Verde Winery’s Don Luis Tawny Port will compliment anything with chocolate, cream, caramel, or nuts. If you like lemon or tropical flavors in your desserts, pour more of the sparkling wine you started the evening with, and everyone will be happy.
No matter your holiday dinner traditions, the key is to drink what you like! Be sure to serve plenty of water and non-alcoholic beverages to keep everyone hydrated and safe on their drive home. Texas Wine Lover wishes you and yours a very Merry Christmas!