It’s not unusual for holiday dinners to be combinations of turkey, ham, pork, beef and game accompanied by an array of dressings, potatoes, beans and casseroles of every description. It may sound like a wine-pairing nightmare but, actually, it’s not. There are three classic wine styles – sparkling, Pinot Noir and Beaujolais – that will complement just such a holiday meal; just remember to consider your guests’ palates when making your selections. It’s always a good idea to begin festive occasions with sparkling wines, and a sparkling Prosecco is easy to drink, just a bit sweet, and will please almost everyone. Serve your sparkler as a reception wine and let your guests carry it to the table for their salad course. As for the entrée, Pinot Noir and Beaujolais will complement ham as well as both the light and dark meats from turkey or other fowl. They are perfect pairings for pork and will stand up to all but the heaviest cuts of beef and lamb. They will even work with fish. Of the two, Beaujolais is the softest and best suited for the more infrequent of the red-wine drinkers. There are many choices within these three wine styles, including Burgundy instead of the American Pinot Noir, so don’t be constrained by the short list below.
La Marca Sparkling Wine, Prosecco DOC, Italy
White Varietal - Prosecco
Notes: On the nose the wine brings fresh citrus with hints of honey and white floral notes. The flavor is fresh and clean, with ripe citrus, lemon, green apple and touches of grapefruit, minerality, and some toast. The finish is light, refreshing, crisp.
A Sweet White – Cost: $$ out of $$$$$
La Crema Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, California
Red Varietal - Pinot Noir
Notes: The wine opens with rich cherry notes, punctuated by sweet tobacco and orange peel tones. A mouth-watering jammy quality is immediately evident, with fresh cherry flavors joined by orange peel and tea leaves. A lovely balanced acidity and sturdy tannins round out the mouth.
A Soft Red – Cost: $$ out of $$$$$
George Duboeuf Beaujolais, Beaujolais-Villages
Red Varietal - Gamay
Notes: There is a marked richness and fullness that makes this wine stand apart. Outstanding bouquet of strawberry and black currant tantalize the nose, combined with the velvety, soft tannins and concentrated fruit flavors that overpower your palate. A simple, yet caressingly soft and infectiously juicy mouthful of fruit.
A Soft Red – Cost: $ out of $$$$$