The Holiday Wine Pairing Cheat Sheet

Take the guesswork out of holiday food and wine pairing as you plan your traditional or Latin-inspired holiday feast.
    Christmas Wine Pairing Cheat Sheet
    StockFood

    Whether you’re serving tamales or turkey, pozole or pecan pie, Christmas food and wine pairing is about to become as easy as click, save and print! This holiday pairing cheat sheet has you covered with classic grapes and lesser-known varietals to add some serious wine flair to your fiestas navideñas. We've even given you a head start by highlighting some of the recipes from our kitchen that might work well with these selections. 

     

    Traditional Christmas Dinner

    The ham is sliced, the pies are out of the oven, and everyone is seated around the table. Although you don’t have to serve a different wine with each course, you may want to start the meal with a Champagne toast. The bubbles cleanse the palate and signal celebration.

    You’re making:                             Pair with:

    Roasted Ham or Turkey                 Pinot Noir, Riesling

    Green Bean Casserole                  Sauvignon Blanc

    Pecan Pie                                      Tawny Port, Moscato

     

     

    A Puerto Rican Navidad

    Oregano, a Mediterranean herb, is one of the seasonings in pernil, a traditional Puerto Rican roasted pork shoulder. Make a transatlantic connection and pair this Christmas favorite with an Italian classic such as Chianti, made with Sangiovese and other red grapes. “Sangiovese’s fine tannins, clean acidity and roasted coffee bean notes pair nicely with oregano and thyme,” says Giammario Villa, a Los Angeles-based wine specialist, wine educator and U.S. representative for the Italian Sommelier Association.

    You’re making:                               Pair with:

    Pernil                                               Sangiovese, Rioja tinto

    Arroz con Gandules                       Viognier, Chardonnay, Friulano (or Tocai Friulano)

     

    Christmas a la Mexicana

    Villa opts for unique wines when it comes to Latin American food pairings. He recommends a Basque semi-sparkling wine known as Txakolina (chak-o-leen-a) to pair with tamales. Lambrusco, an Italian sparkling wine, “works well with savory meat and broth,” Villa notes, which is why it’s his choice for pozole.

    You’re making:                 Pair with:

    Tamales                            Sparkling wine, off-dry Riesling  

    Pozole                               Grenache, Malbec

     

    Venezuelan Favorites

    A traditional Christmas dinner in Venezuela centers around hallacas, a pork and beef pie with capers, raisins and olives wrapped in cornmeal dough and cooked in a plantain leaf. Villa pairs hallacas with the Italian sparkling wine, Vernaccia di Serrapetrona. He favors its “fruity and floral aromas with fine bubbles and a zesty acidity.”

    You’re making:                               Pair with:

    Hallacas                                           Sparkling wine, Moscato d’Asti

    Ensalada de gallina                         Albariño, sparkling wine            

     

    Sabor Peruano
    Peruvian cuisine is influenced by the country’s diverse immigrant communities. Arroz árabe is a Peruvian spin on a Middle Eastern rice dish with angel hair pasta, curry and golden raisins. Panetón, a sweet bread with candied fruit, originated in Italy and pairs beautifully with Prosecco. Villa recommends a Spanish Priorat Blanco for the lechón, or roasted pork in a citrus, garlic and cumin rub.

    You’re making:                  Pair with:

    Lechón al Horno              Chardonnay, Viognier

    Arroz Arabe                       Gewürztraminer, Torrontés                                               

                                                                                     

    Christmas in El Salvador

    Tamales take on different flavors depending on where in the Americas you’re celebrating Christmas. In El Salvador, they are cooked in banana leaves. Panes con pavo, another holiday favorite, are turkey sandwiches with watercress that bring out the toasty, vanilla notes in Chardonnay.

    You’re making:                                 Pair with:

    Tamales in Banana leaves                 Cava, Vernaccia di Serrapetrona           

    Panes con Pavo                                 Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Grigio        

     
    Here's an easy guide to help find the perfect wine accompaniment for your next special occasion.