With the holidays rapidly approaching, many are making their lists and checking them twice—their wine and grocery lists, that is. Most have determined their holiday menus but are left wondering what wines to pair with the meal. What if we told you there are a few key guidelines you can keep in mind that make choosing and shopping for wines easy? Nick Poletto, Director of Education at Kobrand Wine & Spirits, has five top tips that help with exactly that.
5 Holiday Wine Buying Tips
1. It’s as simple as acids to acids.
Italian wines are generally high in acid, making them an ideal complement to the high acidity of tomato-based pastas and sauces commonly found in Italian cuisine. If your holiday menu includes gnocchi, ravioli, or a festive roast, wow your guests by serving Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti Le Orme. This Barbera wine is sure to add an air of elegance to your table with its rich, ripe berry aroma and spicy herbal notes.
2. Serving red meat at your table? Go BIG or go home with your wine pairing.
Tannins in red wine bind with the proteins found in Aunt Suzie’s special holiday roast, which then lowers the intensity of the wine. In turn, the salty and savory flavors of the meat soften the effect of the tannins in the wine. You can serve bold red wines without fear of overpowering the rest of the holiday meal. If you are looking for a wine to try, the Montes Limited Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenère is a delightful choice. It is a seductive and voluptuous New World red blend that features Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère grapes. These grapes have expressive notes of fresh red and black fruits, with added warmth from red pepper, nutmeg, tobacco, and coffee. The wine is generous on the palate with rounded tannins and elegant, juicy flavors.
3. Fight fire with…sugar?
Cuisines packing a punch of spice or heat typically increase your perception of bitterness, astringency, and most importantly, the alcohol burn in wine. If you’re a part of the holiday takeout crowd, pair that spicy pepperoni pizza with a sweeter wine like a Moscato d’Asti or even a Lambrusco that’s on the sweeter side. We recommend Medici Ermete Quercioli Dolce Reggiano Lambrusco. This sweet, vivacious bubbly wine is sure to soothe your scorched tastebuds, while the effervescence will cleanse your palate for the next bite.
4. One Fish, Two Fish…dishes don’t have to be tricky.
When feasting on fish this holiday season, enjoy a glass of Bodega Norton Select Sauvignon Blanc. This light-bodied, crisp white wine is the perfect pairing for fish, pasta, and veggies. If you’re preparing for the Feast of Seven Fishes, the aromatic bouquet of green apple and tropical fruit notes in this Sauvignon Blanc will elevate your meal. Red wine, when paired with fish, can overwhelm the flavors of a delicate dish, and even lead to the fish tasting bitter. If you’ve prepared some of your fish dishes with a red sauce, you can switch to a lighter bodied red wine like Michele Chiarlo Le Orme to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
5. Wine as sweet as pie.
Sweetness in food tends to make wines taste less sweet. Therefore, pairing a dry white or dry red wine with dessert will come across as bitter and astringent. If you’re looking for a fix for your sweet tooth, dust off those oven mitts and try out this holiday cookie recipe. Enjoy these tasty holiday treats with a glass of Alta Vista Brut Rosé of Malbec and good company. The sweetness and bubbles of this sparkling rosé will complement the sweetness of the cookies without tasting too acidic and bitter. Floral notes paired with a soft cherry flavor in this rosé are sure to add to the decadence of any sweet treat you enjoy it with. This versatile wine can also serve as a tantalizing aperitif or can even be mixed to create pretty and pink cocktails (cookies and cocktails? Yes please!).