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5 Pro Pairing Tips for the Holidays


1- Palate-friendly wines

Use wines that are classically well-made and crowd-pleasers in the non-pejorative sense. Maybe not the time to experiment with orange wines and unfiltered wines. Choose wines that are medium, medium-tannins, medium-acidity, medium-bodied. That way you should strike some tasting consensus.

Some ideas for white: take chenin instead of sauvignon blanc or chardonnay. It’s right in the middle

Some ideas for red: Go for a smooth sangiovese or a fruity yet feisty red.

2- Potluck Flavor bonanza

You may tackle your catering as a holiday autocrat. In that case you can easily pair your wine with your menu. But some families and friends divide the chores. What you end up with is a feast with many different side dishes. You’ll have to provide wines that are versatile pairing wines. Riesling and chenin (again) are flavor chameleons. They can handle a lot of food. For reds choose gentle tannins and bright acidity, think of pinot noir, primitivo or zinfandel.

3- It’s all about that base…

There is a lot of science behind pairing wine with your main dishes, but don’t forget the sauces and cooking preparations. They often have a bigger impact. Are you making chicken with a lemony sauce or a gravy? Are you steaming, grilling or frying your fish? All these cooking methods and condiments will influence your choice. Take our Food and Wine pairing course to discover all the secrets.


4- Bitter sweet symphony

It is not uncommon to prepare leafy green veggies or oven baked root vegetables. You need to eat your greens, but you should also be aware that they will have an effect on your wine. Bitterness in wine comes from tannins. Bitter veggies and bitter wine will not sing in your mouth. Leave the caterwauling for the drunk karaoke and create harmony by choosing high acid wines for whites like a sauvignon blanc (the herbaceousness of the sauvvy will actually work beautifully with your greens) or a low tannin red like a delicious Oregon pinot.

5- When in doubt, drink champagne throughou

Or any other sparkling wine really. Some courses are just difficult to pair, some people are difficult to please. Who doesn’t like bubbly? If your guests don’t like champagne, consider unfriending them:) Champagne’s effervescence makes it super versatile. Even with your sweet dessert (for which the wine should - chemically speaking - be sweeter to work) champagne could do the job.

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