What do people usually drink for the holidays? Check out the most traditional and classic holiday wines for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s. By learning the classics you can either adopt them or pave your own holiday wine drinking tradition. We also included several value-priced alternatives
Not everyone eats turkey on Thanksgiving or roast beef on Christmas, but the theme of winter seasonal vegetables and roasted foods are common. So what are the best wines for the holidays? Instead of listing brands, this article focuses on the food pairing methodology that leads to the best pairings. You’ll be able to choose your holiday wine like a pro!
Thanksgiving Wine (or Friendsgiving)
There are basically 4 fundamental components that go into a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
- Protein usually Turkey
- Dry spices including cinnamon and clove
- Roasted dishes anything that’s prepared in the oven
- Winter Fruits & Vegetables including potato, onion, cranberry, squash and Brussel sprout
When you add all four elements together, you start to realize each food eliminates several wines. For instance, a white wine won’t pair with roasted foods as well as say, a Rosé wine or a Red wine. Additionally, turkey pretty much eliminates a Full-bodied red wine, because of it’s more subtle flavor. If you want a wine that pairs well with exotic spices or baking spices, it’s great to seek out wines with similar tasting nuances. For example, many Barbera wines have nuances of nutmeg, vanilla and anise.
Selected Thanksgiving Wines
Keep your eyes peeled the following wines, perfect with a classic Thanksgiving dinner
- $ Barbera Will do very well with meals that include meats other than Turkey such as roast beef, venison and roasted pork. Learn about Barbera wine
- $ Gamay Will pair perfectly with turkey, chicken or other lighter proteins. An ideal wine with cream and cheese-based dishes. Look for Cru Beaujolais
- $ Zinfandel or Primitivo Will pair perfectly with Turkey and spiced cranberry sauce or other dishes with dry spices. Find out what regions make the best Zinfandel
- $ Lambrusco Will pair awesome with turkey. Slightly sweet Lambrusco will hold up to sweet side dishes such as yams or the saccharine American classic: sweet potato marshmellow casserole
- $$ Pinot Noir Will pair perfectly with turkey, chicken or other lighter proteins. An ideal wine with cream and cheese-based dishes. Read up on Pinot Noir
- $$S Châteauneuf du Pape Will pair nicely with turkey and ham. Will work wonderfully with roasted root vegetables. Learn about wines from Côtes du Rhône
- $$$S Amarone Will pair nicely with turkey and ham. Amarone works great with dry spice like cinnamon and clove and dishes with inherent sweetness. Learn more about Amarone wines
The origin of Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving is a holiday to celebrate the year’s harvest. In it’s first iteration at the Plymouth plantation in 1921, Thanksgiving included corn, wild turkey and venison. It was enjoyed by about 90 people; both Native Americans and Pilgrims.