Holiday Food & Wine Pairings

The holidays are a time to gather around the table and enjoy the great unifier that is delicious, savory food. If you’re also looking to imbibe in some literal holiday spirits this year, elevate your holiday meals with expert wine pairings to get more out of your favorite holiday flavors.

The Vineyard Wine Shop is celebrating its 45th year in their Cherry Creek North location, and their devoted local following will tell you they set the standard in quality, value, and selection in the area. Wine Buyer Nathan Gordon notes that there are many things you can do with wine pairings around popular holiday dishes.

“Food and wine pairings are about choosing a wine with components that complement the food you’re pairing it with,” says Gordon. “Around the holidays, when several courses hit your plate at the same time, you want a wine that’s nimble and versatile. Choosing a wine that works well with everything on the table makes more sense than trying to go dish by dish with your pairings.”

If your holiday plate is a conglomeration of courses blended in a heap of gravy-drenched delicious, choose a wine with bright acidity, such as a dry Riesling, Burgundian Pinot Noir, or Gamay from one of Beaujolais’ Cru villages. That vibrant acidity will cleanse and enliven the palate, allowing you to enjoy each bite in all its flavorful glory.

Take palate cleansing to the next level and incorporate sparkling wine and Champagne into your holiday meals. Not just for toasting with, Champagne’s bubbles cleanse the palate even more fully, making it a versatile choice throughout your feast.

Craving a hearty main dish? Bolder red wines, like Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa or Bordeaux, or Tempranillo from Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions, pair well with a rib roast or other fatty meats. If you’re spicing things up in a meat dish with North African or Middle Eastern heat, pair it with a wine with savory spice notes, such as Syrah.

For dessert, think about Madeira if indulging in pumpkin pie or anything rich with seasonal spices. Tawny Ports work wonderfully with chocolate or anything with a nutty edge, and a Vintage or Ruby Port is especially delicious with chocolate desserts that incorporate berries. For when you’re frosting sugar cookies or indulging in a custardy treat, try a late-harvest sweet wine from Sauternes or Tokaj.

No matter the dishes you’re prepping this holiday season, take the opportunity to pair it with a carefully selected wine to give your holiday meal a little extra liquid cheer.