Your Holiday Pairing Guide

Executive Editor Susan Kostrzewa and Food Editor Nils Bernstein share their favorite holiday dishes and perfect wine pairings.

Wine Enthusiast Executive Editor Susan Kostrzewa and Food Editor Nils Bernstein sat down for a Facebook Live segment to share popular holiday dishes and their perfect wine pairings. If you missed it, don’t fret. Here’s your handy guide to planning a scrumptious holiday soirée this season, from start to dessert.

A wine for when guests arrive

Bodegas Eidosela 2015 Ethereo Albariño (Rías Baixas); $15, 90 points. Lime and grapefruit aromas are a touch pithy and feline but don’t go overboard. Citrusy and minerally on the palate, this tastes of lime, green melon and green banana. A pure, tangy finish holds firm. Best Buy. —Michael Schachner

The Dishes

  • Simple seafood appetizers, such as oysters, crab toast and seared scallops
  • Indian or Thai spiced dishes or curries

A white wine for lighter fare

Boeckel 2015 Riesling (Alsace); $13, 90 points. A reticent nose on this wine tells only of earth and faint citrus at this point. The uncompromisingly dry palate however, is perfumed with conifer and citrus zest around a fluid, concentrated center. The tart, super-clean lemon finish tingles enticingly. Best Buy. —Anne Krebiehl MW

The Dishes

A white wine for heartier fare

Shea 2013 Shea Vineyard Chardonnay (Willamette Valley); $35, 95 points. Here is an utterly irresistible wine—spicy, sensuous and layered with beautifully ripened citrus, tree and tropical fruits. A whiff of pine needle continues as a flavor thread, along with vanilla, buttered nuts, lemongrass and macaroon. This wine just keeps on going. Editors’ Choice. —Paul Gregutt

The Dishes

A juicy red for pork and poultry

Langmeil 2013 The Fifth Wave Grenache (Barossa); $53, 94 points. Grenache is being treated with more and more respect around Australia, which means more bottlings are reaching the variety’s potential. Gentle herbal notes intertwine with bunches of black cherries and a hint of vanilla in this medium- to full-bodied example. Hints of red peppercorn capture a unique combination of fruit and spice, while the finish is long and crisp. —Joe Czerwinski

The Dishes

A bold red wine for richer fare

G D Vajra 2012 Ravera (Barolo); $60, 94 points. Intense and well structured, this offers scents of wild berry, blue flower, chopped herb and a balsamic note. The firm palate boasts juicy black cherry, crushed raspberry, pipe tobacco, licorice and clove alongside a backbone of polished tannins. A mineral note lifts the finish. Drink 2020–2027. —Kevin O’Keefe

The Dishes

  • Goose
  • Standing rib roast
  • Truffles

A sparkling for dessert

Schramsberg 2007 Reserve Sparkling (North Coast); $120, 96 points. Made from 76% Pinot Noir and 24% Chardonnay, spice-tinged fruit aromas and toasted baguette complexity make a grand entrance on the nose. It then gushes bold and complex flavors, like toasted walnuts and almonds, poached pears and a touch of ginger. Although big and broad in flavor for a sparkling wine, it’s very well structured and a good bet to age through 2022 or longer. Cellar Selection. —Jim Gordon

The Dishes

  • Gingerbread
  • Fruitcake
  • Hard cheeses, such as aged gouda, manchego and Parmigiano-Reggiano


Published on December 20, 2016
Topics: Pairing Recommendations

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