Too many people stress out over what kind of wine to serve during holiday celebrations. It’s a stressful time of year anyway, so why add to it?
The reality is that everyone has different preferences when it comes to wine, and some have no preferences whatsoever. So the goal is to please as many people as possible — which need not be as daunting as it sounds.
Here are five tips for holiday food-and-wine pairing… and making guests happy…
- When you send out invitations, include a “wine preference” line on the RSVP cards. You could simply ask the guest to place a check mark next to either “White” or “Red,” or you could list several specific varietal wines. This will give you an idea of what type of wine — or at least how much of each color — to have on hand.
- If you are planning a smorgasbord-type event, with lots of side dishes, consider handling wine the same way. Set up a side table with several different bottles and lots of glasses, and allow guests to serve themselves.
- If you use that side table idea, consider placing a small card next to each bottle with wording such as, “Goes great with turkey,” or, “Have this with ham.” That will take the intimidation out of the equation for those who drink wine only occasionally.
- Try to choose wines that are food friendly. Among reds, that means selections that are not high in tannins and relatively light on the palate. Among whites, it means selections that aren’t too “oaky” or buttery. You can still serve Chardonnay, but opt for an “un-oaked” bottling.
- Break out the bubbly. Perhaps the most versatile “food wine” of all is Champagne (or Prosecco or Cava or any dry sparkling wine) because of its high acidity (which makes it refreshing) and relatively neutral flavor profile (which means it won’t overpower the flavors of any dish you may be serving).
It’s good to have sparkling wine on hand during the holidays for another reason: toasting the good fortune we have had during 2018. If you follow my personal mantra of always being grateful for what we have, and not dwelling on what we don’t, you’ll need a lot of Champagne around the house for your holiday parties and meals.
For specific wine-and-food pairing suggestions for the holiday season, click here.