We are getting closer to the holidays, and before you know it, we’ll all be planning our simple-to-elaborate menus. For some of us, selecting wines to go with our menus can be a bit of a challenge. Narrowing down the food selection helps, especially when whining about which wine to serve with what.
There really is no reason to whine about wine. Over the years, I’ve found that most people (aka guests) enjoy whatever a host or hostess chooses to serve (or they bring their own!).
Here are some useful food groupings and compatible wines for setting up those holiday food and wine tables for open houses, parties, and personal gatherings. Choose a bottle of each of red, white, and blush if you want to cover all your bases, but it really isn’t necessary. Your tastes may vary, so when in doubt, always pick what you prefer. And remember, it isn’t necessary to whine about wine.
Beef, Lamb, Pastas with Red Sauce, Soups, Stews, Chili, Hard Cheeses (Romano) go with:
CABERNET SAUVIGNON (Rich wine with flavors of blackberry, brown spice and vanilla).
Beef, Pork, Stews, Chili, Italian Dishes with Red Sauce, Pizzas, Hard Cheeses (Romano) go with:
HEARTY BURGUNDY (medium-bodied wine with flavors of red raspberries and hints of vanilla).
Beef, Pork, Lamb, Pizzas, Pastas with Red Sauce, Asian, Mexican, BBQ, Rich Chocolate Desserts go with:
MERLOT (balanced wine with bright fruit flavors of raspberry jam and juicy red berries.)
Beef, Poultry, Lamb, Pork, Pastas with Red Sauce, Soups, Stews, Chili, Pizzas, Asian, Mexican, BBQ go with:
PINOT NOIR (a medium-bodied wine with a fresh cherry aroma, red fruit flavor, and a soft finish).
Spicy Asian Entrees, Mexican, BBQ, Soft Cheeses (Ricotta, Brie), Creamy Desserts, Rich Chocolate Desserts, Fruit Desserts go with:
MOSCATO (delightfully sweet medium-bodied wine with flavors of peach, apricot, and hints of citrus).
Poultry, Seafood, Pastas with White Sauce, Vegetarian Entrees & Salads, Soups, Stews, Chili go with:
CHARDONNAY (softly balanced with citrus, ripe tree-fruit flavors, and hints of oak).
Seafood, Vegetarian Entrees & Salads, Pasta Dishes with White Sauce, Pesto or Tomato Sauces, Soft Cheeses (Ricotta, Brie) go with:
SAUVIGNON BLANC (medium-bodied wine with fresh citrus and melon flavors).
Poultry, Seafood, Pastas with White Sauce, Vegetarian Entrees & Salads, Soft Cheeses (Ricotta, Brie) go with:
PINOT GRIGIO (light-bodied wine with green apple and citrus flavors and a crisp finish).
Most Any Food goes with:
CHAMPAGNE (lovely sparkling wine ranging from the sweeter Extra Dry to less-sweet Brut styles more common in the U.S.)
Poultry, Asian, Mexican, BBQ, Vegetarian Entrees & Salads, Rich Chocolate Desserts, Creamy Desserts, Fruit Desserts go with:
WHITE ZINFANDEL (refreshingly sweet with the taste of strawberries, watermelon, and aromas of raspberry and cherry).
Asian, Mexican, BBQ, Creamy Desserts, Fruit Desserts go with:
WHITE MERLOT (medium-bodied wine with aromas of blackberry, raspberry and bing cherry).
Of course, many of the food suggestions above are based on how well the food counters the flavor and quality of the wine. Sweeter wines with spicier foods, for example, offer a pleasant counterpoint to one another, creating a melodic whole. See? Nothing to whine about wine, really.