Pair Your Wines Like a Pro This Holiday Season
Categories: Cocktails

Pair Your Wines Like a Pro This Holiday Season

You’re planning a holiday dinner with your pals and, so far, you’ve really impressed yourself. You’ve got some exquisite appetizers lined up, a seasonal salad to kickstart dinner, and an entree that guests will be gushing about for dayyyyyys. All is dandy until you start thinking about wine. What do you pour to go with that shellfish? Can you stray from reds if you’re serving beef? Let this handy wine pairing chart guide you through your holiday entertaining and beyond!

Wine Pairings With Seafood

Fish is delicate, so you don’t want anything heavy coating your palate. There are some light reds and rosés that go swimmingly with certain fillets of fish, but when you’re new at acting as a sommelier, it’s better to play it safe with whites. A sparkling cava will work wonderfully with halibut; if you’re looking to pair something with that rich and oily salmon, a full-bodied white like oak-aged Chardonnay will do the trick.

Wine Pairings With Poultry

When it comes to poultry, your options widen up quite a bit, but there’s an easy trick to help you out. Just think: light to light, and dark to dark. White meat from chicken and turkey will pair better with whites like Sauvignon Blanc and an oaked Chardonnay (though you could easily enjoy a light red like Pinot Noir with this as well); darker meat, like duck and other game, go well with light and medium-bodied reds like Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.

Wine Pairings With Beef

It probably isn’t necessary to point out, but red wine was basically made for beefy dishes. Medium reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot love anything rich and savory, so remember this next time you serve up braised meats and potatoes. If you’re leaning toward lamb or some kind of stew, a bold red like Malbec or Syrah will do your mouth some good, thanks to the bold and fatty flavors.

Wine Pairings With Pork

Though pork can still be rich, it’s way less fatty than steak — so avoiding bold-bodied wines is smart — but there are exceptions! Smoked fatty pork would work well with a bold red because of its fatty flavor. But normally, a rich white like Chardonnay, or lighter reds such as Pinot Noir, are a good pairing for your chops.

Wine Pairings With Sweets

We obviously couldn’t leave you without pairing dessert wines. Anything rich, sweet, or nutty (think chocolates and walnuts) deserves a glass of Sherry or Port. These two reds also pair well with a deliciously pungent stilton if you’re going the cheese board route for dessert. If your post-dinner indulgence is on the fruitier side, pour some Moscato d’Asti or pop some demi-sec Champagne.

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Design: Marisa Kumtong