The holiday season is here, and that means that it’s time to plan the perfect gathering for friends and family. From a traditional Christmas dinner with all the fixings to a brunch buffet on New Year’s Day, there are many opportunities to serve up some wonderful food as the year draws to a close. Creating the perfect holiday menu takes some planning, and it’s always a good idea to offer a combination of familiar favorites and a chic, new recipe or two to appeal to a variety of palates.
Choosing the perfect wine to go with a celebratory holiday dinner shouldn’t be a source of stress — it should be fun! It’s a chance to try something new, and choosing a selection of local Ontario VQA wines can introduce guests to the unique terroir of home. Part of the joy of choosing a wine is finding a new favorite, but expert advice always helps, too. For some inspiration, here are some wine choices, along with suggestions of food pairings that will light up any holiday banquet table this December.
While many white wines are light, summery affairs, Chardonnays typically have more body and a slightly higher alcohol content than the average white wine. These characteristics make Chardonnays ideal to pair with rich, roasted poultry dishes like turkey and chicken with herbed stuffing.
– Wayne Gretzky Chardonnay VQA
– Kacaba Unoaked Chardonnay VQA
A slightly sweet, acidic Riesling is the perfect wine to serve with appetizers that include a cheese plate and charcuterie board. The acidity cuts the creaminess of rich cheeses, while the sweetness offers a great contrast to salty, cured meats.
– Cave Spring Riesling Dry VQA
– Sprucewood Shores Riesling VQA
According to Sara d’Amato, a good Viognier is like “Chardonnay’s sultry sister.” This wine may not have the easy name- recognition of the other two whites on this list, but it’s worth seeking out this varietal to add an exotic touch to the festivities. It works with the same pairings as a Chardonnay due to its similar body, but it’s a good choice for those who prefer an unoaked wine.
– Creekside Reserve Viognier 2014
– Pillitteri Viognier 2013
Gamay is a remarkably drinkable red, thanks to its low tannin content. It pairs well with a wide variety of food because it has a light body and fresh flavor. It’s the perfect choice for those who prefer a red wine with poultry, and it also pairs well with strong fish, pork and lean cuts of beef. This is a surefire winner with almost any main course.
– Malivoire Gamay VQA
– Grange of Prince Edward Gamay Noir VQA
A great Pinot Noir offers a sophisticated symphony of flavors that includes a variety of delicate fruit aromas. Though it can be enjoyed on its own before dinner, its lighter body and low tannin profile also allow it to pair well with food. It’s a classic with turkey and pork tenderloin.
– Angels Gate Pinot Noir VQA
– Rosehall Run Defiant Pinot Noir VQA
Cabernet Franc is one of Ontario’s truly special varietals, and it’s guaranteed to dress up any holiday meal. It has a more substantial body and is highly aromatic, so try it with herb-roasted meats like roast beef, braised lamb or a variety of hearty stews.
– Marynissen Cabernet Franc 2014 VQA
– Stoney Ridge Cabernet Franc VQA
These six outstanding suggestions should make any holiday dinner something truly special.