The holiday season is a great time for eating and drinking the most delicious food, surrounded by the people you love. But how do you know which wines to choose to accompany the most intricate meal of the year? Do not despair, we are here to lead you through the maze of wine matching with a simple to follow guide and some basic rules that mean you cannot go wrong.
Wine and Food Pairing
There are two main rules when it comes to matching food with wine. Either you need to find a complementary pairing – bringing similar flavors and weights together, or, you need to find something that contrasts and plays on opposites, so using a wine that is very high in acid to cut through a rich, fatty dish. Just remember, everyone’s taste buds vary in sensitivity – it’s why we all enjoy different foods and have different favorites. So there is no such thing as a perfect pairing. The best plan is to make multiple suggestions of dishes and beverages that should go together and then have fun seeing how the combination works for you.
What a lot of people don’t realize is that certain flavors will also help to enhance the taste of your wine, so it’s a good idea to stick to those so that you are guaranteed a positive result every time. Try to stick to dishes that are high in salt and fat, for example, as they will increase the fruitiness of your wine and moderate the acidity, while foods that are sweet or high in umami are notoriously difficult to pair as they can make wine taste overly bitter or astringent.
To start you off, we’ve made some suggestions of wines that go with some of the most quintessential Thanksgiving Dinner foods. Try them out and tell us what you think!
Parsnip and Apple Soup
A classic appetizer, we see all kinds of soups on the festive table. This winter warmer is fantastic as it is bursting with autumnal flavors, and the parsnips and apple lend a little sweetness to the dish. This lovely fruity and aromatic bowl will go really well with an oaky American Chardonnay, where the malolactic fermentation and aging in oak adds a rich body to the soup that mimics the creamy texture of the soup. The apple notes will also directly parallel those in the soup, giving a beautifully complementary experience in your mouth. A great start to any meal, this wine is versatile enough that you could arguably use it to match with your roast turkey entree too – but where’s the fun in that? Let’s crack open a different bottle for the main course.
Try the Sweet Oaks 2018 Chardonnay
Roast Turkey With All the Trimmings
There are so many elements on the plate of a roast turkey dinner that it can be pretty difficult to pick the perfect wine to pair with them all. However, the experts tend to agree that a lighter, easy-drinking red wine is a good solution to more or less go with everything. On that score, the obvious choice is a Pinot Noir. It is versatile and bursting with fruit, seasoning your dish in the same way that the addition of zingy, bright cranberry sauce does.
Try the Sweet Oaks 2018 Pinot Noir
The classic finish to any Thanksgiving Dinner, we think the best bit about the pumpkin pie is the delicate note of spice. So that’s what we like to pair our wine with – a Gewurztraminer is perfect for this job. Working with desserts and wine pairings can be difficult. For example, if the wine is very dry and the food is very sweet then the wine can taste overly bitter and acidic. Happily, because you can easily make a pumpkin pie that isn’t too sweet, it is possible to pair it with something medium – a medium Riesling. Of course, the simple solution is to reach for a dessert wine, but why not mix things up and try matching with a bottle of sparkling wine instead? Something like a Spanish cava will intensely lift a dense, heavy pie and those bubbles are a fantastic way to end a celebratory meal.
Get Ready for the Holidays
There is a wide range of wine pairing options available to you to pair with your holiday dinners. If you want to open just a bottle of wine, try to find a versatile grape that will offer a good match for a multitude of textures and flavors. We like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for this – they are both classic grapes for a very good reason! However, if you are going to push the boat out and tailor a wine pairing to each course then make sure you are balancing similar flavors. Even further, take the alternative approach and find contrasts in texture that bring out the best in each other. Try Sweet Oaks wine by buying them online from our e-shop.