This year Christmas is looking different for everyone. Whether you are planning a big feast or choosing a small intimate dinner, pairing the perfect wine with each course will set the mood for a festive celebration. While wine is all about individual preferences, these wines will sure make for a delectable evening. Having various options during dinner is not only fun and indulgent but also a great way to cleanse the palate between the all-day grazing that goes on during Christmas Day.
Christmas meal planning can get complicated with all the munching that goes on throughout the day. There usually is a wide range of flavors and textures, with appetizers, veggies, seafood, prime rib, lamb, and desserts. This is the handy guide with specific wines to pair with classic Christmas dishes. Choosing the right wines will make all the difference, one that your friends and family will appreciate. With this simple and easy list, spend less time worrying about the wines this year and more time with your friends and family.
Always Start With Bubbles
There is nothing more special than spending the holidays with your loved ones. To brighten and make any celebration sparkle, begin Christmas Day with bubbles. If you are kicking off the festivities early start with Zardetto Prosecco Brut. Slowly transition to Champagne Charles Heidsieck for an aperitif before you begin your feasting.
Zardetto Prosecco D.O.C. Brut Organic ($20)
Located in the heart of the famous Prosecco territory, Zardetto produces vibrant and refreshing sparkling wines made from carefully selected grapes grown in the finest hilltop vineyards. The winery’s dual-layered labels are designed to be peeled back, unveiling an inside layer of colorful artwork that is unique to each wine. Their newest wine, which is being released in the market this fall, is made entirely from certified organically-grown grapes.
Champagne Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Blancs ($96)
Charles Heidsieck relaunched their Blanc de Blancs bottling in 2018, reviving their great legacy of producing remarkable white wines. Made from 75% Chardonnay from the 2012 harvest, some coming from the most prestigious crus in the Côte des Blancs, the blend is rounded out by 25% reserve wines with an average age of five years. After four years of aging on the lees, the result is a wine with traditional aromas and flavors of white peach and citrus with toasty hazelnut, all expertly integrated while staying fresh and delicate.
Cheese and wine bring out the best in each other. Everyone loves cheese and so baked brie for the holidays is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Brie is creamy, nutty and savory and goes well with wines that have nice acidity like Chardonnay and Rieslings. The Ron Rubin Chardonnay and Nik Weis Riesling will be the perfect choice for a delicate baked brie.
Ron Rubin Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2018 ($20)
Soft and creamy notes of apples, pears and spices envelope the senses, with added aromas of vanilla and toasty oak. This Chardonnay is very balanced and approachable with crisp fruit flavors, hints of butter and oak.
Nik Weis Riesling St. Urbans-Hof Wiltinger Kabinett 2018 ($20)
The almost salty minerality makes the Wiltinger ‘Alte Reben’ finish off-dry even though there is natural residual sweetness, which makes this wine such a great food accompaniment.
The Italians have such a love for food and family, and what better day to be grateful for all that we have than on Christmas Day. For the Italians, antipasti is all about eating locally and also drinking locally. So if we can’t go to Italy this holiday season, we can certainly put together a platter that transports us to Italy. I always say, what grows together goes together, so pair your antipasti platter with Italian wines like Vermentino and Montepulciano. The bright crisp acidity on the Vermentino di Monteverro is the perfect palate cleanser if you have a variety of cheeses, meats, olives, and vegetables on your platter. The Garofoli Komaros Rosato’s velvety texture is perfect with Insalata Caprese or homemade ricotta.
Vermentino Di Monteverro Toscana 2019 ($21)
Brilliant pale gold with hints of grey gold. Rich expression of grapefruit, crushed rocks, lychee with touches of lime and exotic fruits. Bright and tonic entrance evolving on white peach, green apple, grapefruit, lingering on fresh almonds and slate.
Garofoli Komaros Marche Rosato 2019 ($18)
Vinification off the skins of Montepulciano grapes gives this wine a rose color with coral-pink veining. The richness of the grapes assures the production of a wine with seductive aromas and a delicate flavor that is exceptionally persistent. Delicately vinous with scents of cherries and white peaches. Full, velvety and balanced, with a rich structure.
Holiday Roasted Vegetables
No longer are vegetables considered a side dish. With a growing population of vegetarians, vegetables have become the main course. If serving vegetables as the main course, choose garlic roasted mushrooms to present a hearty and comforting holiday dish. With their earthy flavors, mushrooms are easy to pair with wine. The silky, full-bodied depth of the Gary Farrell Chardonnay embraces the earthy rich textures of roasted mushrooms. The C.V.N.E. Rioja Rosado is really versatile and will hold up beautifully to most vegetables, it is especially delectable with roasted cauliflower.
Gary Farrell Chardonnay Olivet Lane Vineyard Russian River Valley 2017 ($45)
Inviting aromas of apples, peaches, and pears introduce this Chardonnay from the historic Olivet Lane vineyard. Notes of honeysuckle, jasmine, and beeswax seamlessly integrate with the fruit profile, displaying the intrigue and depth that this site consistently offers. Firm acidity provides an excellent counterpoint to the complex aromatics, shining the way from start to finish.
C.V.N.E. Rioja Rosado Cune 2019 ($14)
Strawberry red in color with rose pink glints. The nose is intense with aromas of ripe fruits such as strawberries, red currants and mulberries, hinting at candy. On the palate, the wine is fresh and shows fresh acidity and good length. Tempranillo’s classic aroma of licorice appears on the aftertaste.
Shrimp Scampi is a classic. Delicately fried shrimp in a white wine sauce makes for the perfect holiday dish. Clean Slate Mosel Riesling paired with Shrimp Scampi is a harmonious match. Shrimp Scampi also comes alive when paired with Barton Clairette Blanche. The slatey mineral notes make is a perfect match for the garlic and lemon notes of the scampi.
Barton Clairette Blanche Paper Street Vineyard Holiday Paso Robles 2019 ($32)
This Clairette Blanche is so delicious! Aromas of chamomile, green tea and a hint of ginger. Dried pear, slate-y mineral notes, with a crème brûlée essence on the palate. This wine is bone-dry with fresh acidity that leads to a clean, crisp finish.
Clean Slate Mosel Riesling 2019 ($12)
This Riesling is sourced from selected vineyards throughout the Mosel region, known for its steep slopes. The exceptional climate and mineral-rich slate soil create the perfect growing conditions to produce a clean, fresh wine with peach and crisp lime flavors. Versatile for food pairing, this Riesling pairs well with a variety of foods making it an easy pick for the Thanksgiving table.
Classic Roast Chicken
A classic roast chicken with all the Christmas spices(star anise, cloves, bay leaf and cinnamon) is always a delight for the holidays, as it fills the whole house with holiday aromas. Donnafugata Floramundi Cerasuolo enhances the experience of roast chicken. The medium body of Floramundi and the fresh red fruit brings alive the chicken. Though roast chicken may be a simple dish, its flavors and spice make it complex, which is why the Mac Rostie Pinot Noir is a favorite. With its soft tannins, the Pinot Noir plays well with the fattiness in the chicken. Another favorite of mine with roast chicken is the Alois Lageder Fórra Manzoni Bianco. The acidity and freshness of the Manzoni Bianco play well with the delicate spices of roast chicken.
Donnafugata Floramundi Cerasuolo Di Vittoria DOCG 2017 ($25)
Brilliant cerasa (cherry in Sicilian), it offers an ample and fragrant bouquet with intense notes of red fruit (raspberries, strawberries and redcurrants) and pink flowers, combined with evident spicy scents of black pepper. The palate is fresh, fleshy and round, thanks to the soft tannins and pleasant persistence. A refined red with intriguing aromatic depth.
MacRostie Pinot Noir Thale’s Vineyard Russian River Valley 2017 ($56)
The Pinot Noir has a dense purple color, and perfumed aromas of blackberry and black cherry that invite the first taste. The entry has lovely weight and presence on the palate, with a texture that underscores the lush dark berry layers. Notes of black licorice and cocoa powder compliment the intense fruit, while adding intrigue to a long, rich finish.
Alois Lageder Fórra Manzoni Bianco 2017 ($32)
Fórra, is an elegant white wine made in small production, a pure Manzoni Bianco wine. The wine has a deep golden color. Aromatic nose of florals, apricots and oranges. Nice fruit and minerality on the palate. The wine is full-bodied, sharp, linear and focused.
Herb Crusted Rack Of Lamb
A perfectly cooked rack of lamb is an elegant addition to a holiday menu. A gorgeous rack of lamb is the only centerpiece you need at your Christmas table. The velvety texture of Zenato’s Ripasso along with its bright fruit brings balance to the spice of the lamb. The Vina Real Rioja’s supple tannins help cut the fat of the lamb. The Poliziano Asinone is a delightful pairing with lamb. Asinone’s richness and structure meld beautifully with the richness of the lamb.
Zenato Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2016 ($30)
Zenato is located in a territory that surrounds Lake Garda in the Veneto, with an extraordinary microclimate that allows for an optimal growing season. Their Ripassa is made from the dried grapes for the Amarone and select batches of Valpolicella wine that are “re-passed” over the Amarone lees, starting a second fermentation that gives the wine deeper color and more complex aromas. This shows intense blackberries and black currants underscored by spice pepper. It’s smooth and rich on the palate, with well-balanced acidity and alcohol – you’ll be sure to impress guests with this wine.
Viña Real Rioja Crianza 2016 ($15)
This wine shows shades of medium to deep shiny cherry color on a purple background. To the nose, intense aromas of ripe fruits (blackberries, blackcurrants) stand out, complemented with subtle hints of oak. To the palate, it shows structured and round with a good integration of fruitiness and oakiness. The aftertaste is marked by very well balanced tannins as well as by persistent spicy, toasty and balsamic aromas. A long stay in the bottle is the finishing touch to this Rioja Alavesa wine’s character.
Poliziano Asinone Vino Nobile do Montepulciano 2017 ($63)
After years of incessant experimentation, we Poliziano identified the vineyard “Asinone” as the best qualitative potential of their grapes. The Noble “Asinone” represents the highest expression of their production and the most complete synthesis between tradition, territory and wine innovation. Made from Sangiovese grapes, it expresses a recognizable style and a defined character, but capable of dealing with the trends of international taste.
Perfect Prime Rib
Make a statement this Christmas with the main course that everyone will swoon over, prime rib. The fresh acidity of Castello di Fonterutoli Vicoregio 36 Chianti will make the prime ribs sing. The red fruit on this Chianti Classico livens the herbs on the prime beef. The iconic pairing of prime rib and Cabernet Sauvignon are a match made in heaven, making the Lapostolle Cabernet Sauvignon the perfect choice.
Castello di Fonterutoli Mazzei Vicoregio 36 Chianti Classico DOCG 2016 ($85)
Vicoregio 36 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione is sourced from the single Vico Regio vineyard, home to 36 different biotypes of Sangiovese deriving from fifty years of research. Concentrated, with an intense color and bouquet, this wine makes a strong match for prime rib.
Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 ($25)
The Cuvee Alexandre comes from an old block of Cabernet planted in 1920 with high density. This wine is 100% hand-harvested, with an expressive and intense nose showing cassis and black currant aromas, and an elegant palate with round and persistent tannins.
Nothing is more festive and celebratory of the season than Christmas cookies. This year, serve your favorite cookies with a few bottles of these luscious wines. Tuscany’s famous Badia Coltibuono Vin Santo and Piedmonte’s versatile La Serra Moscato d’Asti are perfect for sugar and spice and everything nice.
La Serra Moscato D’Asti 2019 ($22)
Straw yellow with greenish reflections. Intense, fresh and fruity aromas with notes of peach and sage. Harmonious, the balance of acidity and residual sugar gives this wine a very pleasant drinkability.
Badia Coltibuono Vin Santo Del Chianti Classico 2011 ($46)
Vin Santo has probably been produced at the Coltibuono Abbey for almost a thousand years, and since 1846 in the family. With its sweet intensity, vibrant acidity, and unique combination of nuttiness and dried fruit notes, Badia a Coltibuono Vin Santo is way more than a typical dessert wine.