What wine pairs with turkey? Which wines should I serve at my holiday party? Should white wine be served with white meat and red wine with red meat? What if I am serving a roast and a turkey at the holiday dinner?
The holidays are meant to be spent with family and friends in celebration, enjoyment, and love—not in anxiety and stress over serving the “straight from the magazine” meal, buying the perfect gift, or most certainly not over pouring the ideal wine at your dinner or party. The truth is, there is no perfect wine (gasp!) to serve with your Thanksgiving meal or your holiday party. My best advice is to trust your palate, choose wines that are versatile and complement a variety of dishes, and always have something on hand that you personally enjoy.
The most versatile white wine is Riesling. It is the most acidic of the white grape varieties, ranging from bone dry to sweet, with a lower alcohol content which won’t overpower your food. The acidity also helps to cleanse your palate in-between bites so you can go from your ham to your sweet potato casserole without missing a beat. My favorite comes from a small winery in Finger Lakes of New York called Boundary Breaks. I recommend their 239 Dry Riesling to serve with your main course. The bright acidity, stone and tropical fruits, and notes of honeysuckle and ginger will match up with turkey, ham, chicken, fish, and most side dishes from the rich and creamy to leafy green. Another great white suggestion is Brotte Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc—a delicious, fuller-bodied yet fresh, white blend from the Rhône Valley of France. It offers flavors of peach and apricot with honey and citrus zest and finishes with notes of hazelnuts.
Pinot Noir is a usual go-to for holiday meals due to its higher acidity and lower tannins making it a multipurpose wine. Barbera and Tempranillo are also versatile reds that can pair nicely with a variety of cuisine. Charles Smith, a renowned wine-maker from Washington State, makes a stunning Barbera called Casa Smith. Casa Smith Barbera has bright acidity and flavors of raspberries and plum, black tea-like tannins, and a lovely baking spice finish. It is perfect on its own or at the table. Tempranillo has become a favorite of mine since traveling to Spain last year. The unoaked versions are so easy to drink on their own or with lighter fare. A Tempranillo with a little oak aging, like Vizcarra Senda del Oro, will be juicy with vibrant flavors of cherries and spice. I love the Vizacarra Tempranillo because it reminds me of a spice cake with hints of floral notes and a silky finish.
When all else fails, you can always grab a bottle or two of bubbly to help make everything feel more festive! Happy Holidays!