Historically the last few days before Christmas are when a large chunk of America gets engaged in the buying spirit. As millions of people frantically spend the last hours before the red suited jolly guy comes sliding down the chimney looking for that perfect gift, millions more will be preoccupied with what comes after the house is covered in bits of torn wrapping paper.
The big holiday meal.
And as anyone who has ever had the in-laws over for Christmas dinner can tell you, like gift giving, this meal, with all of the innumerable side dishes also comes with lots of expectations and tension.
In that spirit, hoping to lower your stress level a few notches, I reached out to Ed Draves, a member of our team here at Dave Miller’s Mexico, and Wine Manager for Premier Wine and Spirits in Buffalo, New York, where he has worked for over 20 years.
I asked Ed for a little advice on wine pairings and that Christmas meal. Hopefully, with the suggested pairings below, you’ll be able to do a better job of getting the right wine for whatever you are planning on serving for the big meal.
Rather than ask for a specific wine or brand, I gave Ed a range of the classic food items that might be served in the US and asked him to think generally. That way you can look for what is locally available to fit your meal. With that, I think we’ve got you covered.
Here’s what Ed recommends to help you out.
The Famous Rockwell Turkey Dinner… Look for champagne or a nice sparkling wine. These will pair well with what typically tends to be a rather dry main course. If you are going to serve your turkey with a Oaxacan molé to give it a little kick, go with a Merlot.
Pork Loin… Look for a full bodied Pinot Noir or an Alsatian wine. Remember, you are not trying to overpower your main course, but to complement it. Both of these will fill that role.
Prime Rib… for many this is the boldest meal of the year so you want this done right. For this main course look for a Bordeaux or a Meritage blend. These darker wines will stand up well next to a nice cut of beef.
Christmas Ham… if you are going this route you need to be looking for a Riesling or a Gamay if you are looking for a red. Ed says both of these will do a great job alongside the more salty flavored ham.
Tamales… that’s right tamales. This is the go to meal for a great Mexican fiesta. Again, you can’t go wrong with a Reisling, or to mix it up, try a Beaujolais.
But what if you are making the newest rage, the Turducken? In that case go for a full-bodied Shiraz. There’s a lot of variety out there so get a young one that has some nice peppery hints.
And what should you do if you are avoiding meat products and maybe have that Tofurkey ready to go? Ed says match your sides and remember, wine is a complementing beverage for your meal.
Finally, don’t forget about dessert. If you want to top off a great meal right, get the classic, a Port wine. Or, if you are lucky enough to live in the Northeast, try one of the local ice wines. Both are perfect alongside the sweetness of your dessert.
So there you have it. A quick how to guide on buying wine for whatever you may be serving come Christmas Day.