Be the perfect host by expertly pairing wines with your holiday meals. The right wine can take a great dish and make it excellent. Even if you aren’t the main host, with this simple guide, you’ll know what style wine to bring along with you to compliment the dish being served.
With Red Meat: Red meat always goes with red wine. The leaner the meat, the lighter the wine.
Lean Beef: Lean beef depends on what part of the cow the meat is cut from. Some examples are top sirloin, eye of round, top round roast, and bottom round roast. You’ll want to look for medium bodied red wines to compliment the lean cuts. A red blend, a medium bodied Pinot Noir, or a Sangiovese will go well with these dishes.
Fatty Beef: The fattier cuts of meat are filet mignon, ribeye, New York strip, T-bones, and porterhouses. These steaks are tender with lots of flavor. Darker, full bodied red wines have a higher tannin amount, which works as an astringent to cleanse the palette of the fat. Bold wines that are great to pair with these cuts are merlots, cabernet sauvignon, and a Petite Sirah.
Lamb: Lamb is more delicate in flavor than other red meats. It can take on the flavors of the sauce, and tends to have a acidic taste. You’ll want to pair this meat with medium to bold reds with a smooth tannin profile. Wines such as Syrah, Malbec, and Petit Verdot are good options.
Veal: This is one of the few red meats that can be paired with a white or rose wine. It’s very tender and mild taste makes it palatable for lighter wines. Be mindful of oil and sauce that is used to fry or prepare the veal. It can greatly transform the taste of the entire dish. Try pairing it with light pinot noirs, and zinfandels.
Serve: Aerate the wine with a funnel or pourer to allow more oxygen to come in contact with the wine. Serve the wine at room temperature in a stemless or wide rimmed wine glass.
With Poultry or Fish: White meat goes with lighter white wines, while dark meats go with medium bodied reds and whites.
White Poultry: White meat poultry is chicken, Cornish game hens, poussin, and quail. Poultry takes on the flavors and spices that you add to it. If you stick to traditional spices, then oaked Chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and chenin blanc are all great options that will pair nicely with your dish.
Dark Poultry: Darker poultry cuts have more fats and more flavor. These typically come from turkey, duck, pheasant, goose, and ostrich. You can pair deeper whites and medium reds with these. Rieslings, roses, pinot noirs, and zinfandels, usually work well with darker meats.
Fish: There are several types of fish. You can have a flaky fish, or a hearty steak fish. Both, however, typically go well with lighter, acidic white wines. Tart wines compliment the flavors of the seafood bring out the subtleties of the fish. Try wines like pinot grigio, champagne, unoaked chardonnay, and sauvignon blanc.
Serve: Chill the wine to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit and serve in a stemmed glass. Champagne should be served in a flute to prevent the bubbles from escaping too quickly.
The purpose of the wine is to bring out all of the nuances and flavor profiles hidden within the dish. By choosing the right wine, you can enhance any meal, impressing all of your guests. Use this simple guide for the holidays and afterwards to always know which wine to serve with your special meal.
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