Maryville Wine Store – Wine for the Holidays

December 7, 20180

Maryville Wine Store

Wine for the Holidays

Pairing wine with Christmas dinner is different from other kinds of pairing. You might do for a wine tasting party. In a tasting party, you’ll pair your food to your wine. This ensures that the ideal balance of flavors comes through in both. But on Christmas day, you’re at the mercy of your family’s traditions and their dietary restrictions. The food comes first, and the wine comes second. The best wine for Christmas dinner will have a lot in common with the wine you served at Thanksgiving. It needs to be bold enough to compete with the intense flavors of the food. The wine should have enough acidity to cut through some of the fattier, creamier dishes on the table. Yet the wine shouldn’t be so bold that it completely overtakes the dishes. You should also consider age when you pick out wine for Christmas dinner. Wines that are too young tend to have raspy tannins and near-unpleasant acidity. That will only taste harsh when paired with supple mashed potatoes or candied yams. Consider whether these wines have reached their ideal maturity or if they could use another five years in your cellar.

The Best Wine to Serve with Appetizers

Start the meal with your lightest, brightest wines first. After that, move on to darker, richer varieties. Then finally bring out your ultra-sweet dessert wines. For appetizers, a crisp, chilled white wine will excite the palate. This will prepare your guests for the meal to come. Dry vintage Champagne is an especially great choice as an appetizer. Your guests can appreciate the bready, nutty flavors of the wine before their palates get too exhausted by the main Christmas dishes. Here are a few wines that pair well with two classic Christmas appetizers:

Assorted Cheese Plates

Creamy Champagne and full-bodied white Burgundy pair well with the fattiness of the cheese.

  • Pair with a champagne or Rose Wine

Savory Flatbread or Cracker Bites

A flatbread or cracker-based appetizer usually contains a combination of herbs, salted meat, and cheese, and will pair well with citrusy white wines, or slightly fruity reds.

  • Pair with Chardonnay or Pinot Noir

The Best Wines to Serve with the Main Course

By and large, meat-based dishes tend to be at the center of Christmas dinner celebrations. Many different types of complex, bright acidic wines will pair well with beef, pork, or poultry. Some varieties match these dishes better than others. An intense, fruity Rhône Syrah is a much more natural match for an intense prime rib than it is for a more delicate roasted turkey.


Ham is the most difficult dish to pair with wine, since it is very salty and has a strong flavor. You need to balance out these characteristics with a touch of sweetness in your wine. Grenache and Gamay are great options, as are certain sweeter bottles of Zinfandel.


A turkey will be a beautiful pair with a light, fruity red like Pinot Noir. The strawberry and cherry notes in these wines tend to lift the more savory, herbaceous flavors in the turkey. It does this without overwhelming it.

When in Doubt, Choose Italian Reds

If you’re serving something other than ham or turkey this holiday season, many styles of red wines are excellent choices for a wide range of foods. These types of wines are usually light enough to play well with delicate foods. Foods like brie. Yet they’re acidic and full-bodied enough to compete with heartier ones like gravy.

Choose Wines That You and Your Guests Love

The key to finding the best wine for Christmas dinner is to think about which wines you and your guests enjoy most. As long as you choose wines that won’t overpower your food, you can enjoy any bottle of wine with Christmas dinner.

If you’ve got questions, the staff at The Wine and Spirits Cellar in Maryville have answers! Come by and shop our wide variety of wines!

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