‘Tis the season for list after list of wine pairings: Christmas dinner / brunch / Kwanzaa / tree trimming / Winter Solstice… Pretty sure I’ve written “What Wines to Pair to Turkey Dinner” 50 times. Hint: Cru Beaujolais.
But we are not grinches here at Wine Anorak. Far from it. Here is our own pairing guide to make your hols merry and bright. Fa la la….
Frosty the Snowman = Icewine
This is a natural – a jolly, happy top hatted snowman leading people through the streets would not be drinking coffee. Nope – Frosty would much prefer a glass of chilled icewine. Sugar rush bonus too.
White Christmas = Rich, White Wine
Whites pair fabulously with chilly temperatures, you just need to select the right one. Fuller, richer styles that rely on lees and time for richness can take on all your bigger holiday dishes, and often shine when they’re just slightly chilled or at room temperature. Heady and spicy VRM with baked ham? Might be cosmic.
Jingle Bells = Chardonnay
There is no more ubiquitous Christmas carol than Jingle Bells. Everyone knows the tune and everyone can string together a line or two. It’s universally merry. And there is no grape more recognizable than Chardonnay. These two are a match made in the North Pole.
O Tannenbaum = German Riesling
German Riesling is the perfect pairing for trimming the Christmas tree – especially if you’re jingling in German. Bonus – German Rieslings are lower in alcohol, so fewer lopsided tinseled trees will happen.
The 12 Days of Christmas = a Big Red
This must be the longest Christmas carol in existence – and that’s only if someone in your group is lucky enough to remember all the words. So get yourself a big, gutsy red wine, pour it into a decanter, and aim to finish both the wine, and the complete carol, within 24 hours. Result!
Deck the Halls = Asti
Seeing as every second line of this song is “fa la la la la, la la la la”, it’s not meant to be challenging. Neither is Asti. Fun, bubbly, likeable, a touch sweet, and safe for all audiences. Same goes for the wine.
Little Drummer Boy = Spiced Rum
Are you really telling me the words here aren’t “Come they told me, pa rum rum rum rum?” It seems like a natural for someone drumming in the cold of winter. Necessary deviation from wine is called for here. Spiced rum easily warms hands and other parts this season.
I Have a Little Dreidel = Galil Mountain Wine
Galil Mountain Winery is renowned as Israel’s leading winery, with production over 1 million bottles per year. They have a number of kosher wines available on the market. I keep hoping to find one made out of clay.
Baby It’s Cold Outside = Tawny Port
You won’t feel the cold much after a glass or two of tawny port, fortified with spirit and tamed by time in wood. Tawnies pair especially well with roasted chestnuts. Nuts + nuts.
Feliz Navidad = Garnacha
You’ll be able to roll your R’s much better after a few glasses of Spanish Garnacha. Salud to your Spanish speaking amigos with a bottle of this juicy, lively and rustically gusty red.
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer = Zinfandel
What pairs with reindeer? I landed on zinfandel. Plush, jammy dark berry fruit, savoury spice, vanilla to work with the tender and lean meat. Also – consume enough ripe Cali Zin and your nose will turn as crimson as Rudolph’s.
Joy to the World = Champagne
No wine brings so much joy to my world than Champagne. No matter how grinchy you are feeling, a flute of Champagne can make it better. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and all points between and beyond… pop the cork and spread some joy. This is the one hols rule we recommend keeping year round.
Silent Night = Pinot Noir
You may need to relax to a silent night with a glass of calming, mellow pinot noir after finishing this list. Both the carol and the wine are classics, require some maturity to master, and inherently soul satisfying.