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How to Choose the Best Wines for Your Holiday Gatherings

The holidays are here. You’ve spent hours planning your menu, but what are you serving to drink? The idea of wine pairing for your holiday meal can be intimidating. The wall of wines at the shop can leave your head spinning. Where do you even start?

A selection of wine and champagne bottles

There are some basic guidelines to follow when it comes to wine pairing— sweet foods are best with sweet wines, delicate foods work better with light bodied wines, salty food pairs well with a variety of wine styles. Even with these basic guidelines, it does come down to a matter of personal taste.

To make your life easier, we’ve come up with some crowd-pleasing pairings for the dishes in our Global Grub Potluck.

Wine Pairings for Desserts and Sweets

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

Christmas brunch is a great way to use up any leftover sparkling wine. A classic Mimosa pairs well with the usual breakfast fare or special treats like these Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls.

Grab a champagne glass and fill it halfway with some affordable Cava — an affordable sparkling wine from Spain. Top off the glass with some fresh squeezed orange juice and add a splash of Triple Sec.

Vanilla Peppermint Pound Cake

Peppermint is a challenging flavor to pair with wine, but a Moscato D’Asti is up to the task. Moscato fans will appreciate the delicate sweetness and the fragrant aroma of this traditional sparkling wine from Piedmont, Italy.

Moscato D’Asti is a low-alcohol option, so it is a good choice for those who are keeping an eye on their holiday consumption. So, pour yourself a glass to go with this Vanilla Peppermint Pound Cake.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Candy Cane Cookies

Chocolate Chip Candy Cane Cookies

If you are lucky, someone will bring you a big batch of cookies this Christmas. If you are really lucky, they will be Chocolate Chip Candy Cane Cookies.

Wine is not a natural fit for cookies, but hot chocolate is. Spike your favorite hot chocolate recipe with some Baileys Irish Cream and dunk those cookies while you curl up by the fire.

Wine Pairings for Main Dishes

Jamaican Curry Chicken

You have to be careful when pairing wine with foods that contain hot peppers. Many wines can amplify the heat and create an unpleasant burn in your mouth. An off-dry Riesling served nice and cold is a more refreshing match for this Jamaican Curry Chicken.

Maple Glazed Pork

This Maple Glazed Pork recipe is mouthwatering on its own, but pair it with bright, fruit-forward, low-tannin red wine and it is out of this world.

Etna Rosso wine made from grapes grown in the Volcanic soil of Sicily is a lesser-known wine that is definitely worth pouring with your holiday meal.

Chicken and plantain recipe

One Pot Chicken and Plantains

A cozy One Pot Chicken and Plantain dish with warm spices calls out for a bold red wine. Petit Sirah wines can have notes of dark fruit, chocolate, vanilla and even black pepper. It’s a big wine, that works well with stews and other slow-cooked dishes made with bold spices.

Flaky, tender, buttery melt in your mouth garlic side of salmon is great for those midweek dinner emergencies. You'll have dinner ready in 30 minutes or less! This garlic butter salmon is also perfect for the holidays or a date night dinner.

Garlic Butter Salmon

Garlic Butter Salmon is a rich combination. You want a wine that can cut through the richness and enhance every bite. A crisp, dry, Pinot Gris from Oregon should do the trick. The refreshing acidity will have you going back and forth from bite to sip.

Wine Pairings for Side Dishes

beer battered cauliflower florets #vegan #cauliflower

Beer Battered Cauliflower

Sometimes, you just want a beer — am I right? Wash this Beer Battered Cauliflower down with an ice cold lager. Bonus! You can use the lager right in the batter and drink while you cook. Efficient!

Vegan mac and cheese

Vegan Baked Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Lambrusco is a playful, sparkling red wine from Italy. It pairs notoriously well with all things cheesy. Lambrusco looks festive in your glass—- the bubbles range from red to pink — and it is easy on your wallet.

Look for “semisecco” on the label for a slightly sweet version that will pair well with this Vegan Baked Pumpkin Mac and Cheese.

Do you have a favorite holiday wine pairing? Share it in the comments!

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