It’s that time of year again where many of us celebrate our traditional annual holidays, be it Chinese New Year, Christmas, Thanksgiving or simply the welcoming in of 2016 (2016!).
These celebrations are really a time to be with the people you love the most, to eat great food and, of course, to enjoy a little wine along the way.
We’ve picked out a few wine styles or varieties that tend to go well with the traditional meals, and then made some specific selections you might like to try at the bottom of this article.
Our mouths are already watering… here’s to piling on the pounds in the next few months and enjoying every second of it!
Christmas Dinner & Thanksgiving
Both of these delicious festive meals are often based around turkey or goose, ham and beef. There can be any number of sides like potatoes, cabbages, sprouts, cranberry sauce, bread sauce, carrots, parsnips, peas ... we could go on. The point being that there are potentially a lot of flavours, so pairing precisely can be tricky.
My advice is to go lighter on the reds, considering the prevalence of poultry as the main meat. I would head to Burgundy, for both the classic Pinot Noir wines of the region or Beaujolais. You can also consider a Beaujolais or Zinfandel from California. However, depending on your meat, a Bordeaux blend, Stellenbosch (South Africa) or Puente Alto (Chile) Cabernet Sauvignons might also hit the spot!
On the whites, conversely, I would look to something that has a body, concentration and pronounced flavours, but I would steer clear of anything too aromatic and perfumed. I couldn’t think of anything nicer than a well-made white Burgundy, such as a Meurseult for example, to go superbly with your Christmas dinner.
New Year’s Celebrations
New Year’s Eve for most is about popping the corks, so it’s all about the bubbles! It’s great to have a ‘Champagne Moment’ as the clock strikes midnight, but we don’t want to leave it until just then to be in the celebratory mood. As Champagne can typically be expensive, you can start the evening with Prosecco or Cava which provide (delicious) alternatives at a much friendlier price.
A wine that has proved really popular over recent weeks with us is a sweet, sparkling red from Italy. The Lambrusco Reggiano adds the bubbles along with some festive red colour!
Then, at midnight, consider a ‘Grower Champagne’ for something really special. Grower Champagnes are wines made by the same people that grow the grapes, which differ from the famous brands who buy the grapes. What this means is a Champagne with more unique flavours and individuality that will make you fall in love with Champagne all over again.
The feast that's held on the eve of the Lunar New Year is always well prepared and sumptuous. Importantly, the dishes prepared have a significance as to what they represent for the coming year.
Essentials of the feast include fish (representing an abundant year), lettuce (representing prosperity), shallot (representing wisdom), celery (representing diligence), chicken and duck.
However, there are many more items that could be added, meaning a wide variety of tastes and flavours to be enjoyed! Typically a lot of the flavours are more delicate and so we should avoid overly oaked, tannic wines with the red wines, so a New Zealand Pinot Noir or a Chilean Merlot might suit well. For the whites, an Italian Pinot Grigio, a Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc or even a Muscadet Sur Lie would be a delicious pairing.