Choosing wines for the holidays is a challenge. Holiday foods are richer and quite varied: rich, savory appetizers, dishes that combine sweet and savory flavors and many different desserts. So what wines can you pair with all these foods? And how can you make sure the wines appeal to everyone?
Italy offers fabulous wine choices for the holidays. From sparkling prosecco to sweet moscato and brachetto to spicy Valpolicella, Italian wines make any holiday meal a success.
Prosecco: A universal pairing
Prosecco, from the Veneto and Friuli regions in northeast Italy, is by now the favorite of anyone who likes sparkling wine. Light, crisp and fun, this affordable bubbly appeals to many different palates and often starts a dinner party. But this fun sparkler is also the perfect wine pairing for many foods, from appetizers to brunch foods to anything fried.
The bubbles in prosecco also make it a good pairing for richer foods. The palate needs to be refreshed after a bite of food, so prosecco is perfect for party fare like puff pastry appetizers, cheese and fruit. So, next time you’re looking for the perfect party wine, choose a prosecco. Not only does the wine pair well with food, but it will help everyone feel more festive.
Sweet pairings: Moscato and brachetto
Holiday celebrations often involve sweet flavors, whether in desserts or in stuffings and side dishes with sweet ingredients. But dry wines disappear next to sweet foods. The sugar in the food overwhelms any dry wine, making our taste buds unable to appreciate the wine. Enter sweet wines!
Moscato, a white, slightly fizzy sweet wine, and brachetto, its red cousin that’s also slightly fizzy and sweet, are the perfect pairings for sweet foods. Because of the low alcohol (5-6 percent) and light sparkle, both are perfect wine pairings for food. The bubbles and acidity cleanse the palate, and the sugar complements the sweetness in the food. Both moscato and brachetto are also perfect pairings for desserts and cheese, especially aged cheeses or cheeses with strong flavors (think Gorgonzola).
For red wine lovers
No matter how good of a match sparkling and sweet wines are for holiday foods, some wine lovers insist on red wine. Not a problem! Introduce red-wine-loving friends to Valpolicella and they will thank you. This red blend from the Veneto is one of the most food-friendly wines of Italy. It is light to medium in body, with red fruit flavors and some spiciness. It has high acidity so it pairs well with food, especially richer holiday foods. It is also a perfect wine pairing for younger cheeses and appetizers. And because Valpolicella is also great on its own, every party will benefit from this spicy, intriguing red.
So, whether you are going to a holiday gathering or hosting one, now you can choose wines that will make it a success.