The season of swanky holiday parties is upon us, and you're just dying to don a smoking jacket, put on a Burt Bacharach vinyl, and impress your friends with your knowledge of fine wines and food pairings.
Problem is, if you're like us, you don't know the first thing about "good" wine – and you don't want to go broke serving fancy Christmas dishes.
Luckily, our friends at Bright Cellars have helped us put together a list that solves both problems. So read on, and learn how to pair great wines with classic holiday snacks you can find on any grocery shelf.
1. Turkey + Circa 33 Rosé
Turkey is plentiful and relatively inexpensive, so no holiday meal is complete without it. Be sure you're ready with the right wine for this classic centerpiece.
Rosé, it turns out, is the time-tested answer.
As Hillary Higbee of Bright Cellars says, "you can't go wrong pairing your main dish with this balanced and trendy favorite." And in fact, she adds, a dry rosé is one of the most versatile wines for pairing with "(virtually any) food."
2. Green Bean Casserole + Forty Winks Chenin Blanc
Love it or hate it, green bean casserole is a staple of the holidays, so much so that your table might look weird without it. Luckily, there's a wine that takes this dish to the next level.
Higbee recommends a "light and fresh white," specifically Chenin Blanc. Its acidity, she says, "helps cut through those rich, savory flavors" of the crisp, salty fried onions and the "gooey base" underneath.
3. Stuffing + White Willow Shiraz
Ah, stuffing. It's a must at Thanksgiving, but thankfully totally edible – and best of all cheap. So why not give it a little class with a splash of Shiraz?
"Shiraz always brings a spicy edge to the table," Higbee tells us. "With a complexity of flavors from jammy to smoky, this red wine pairs perfectly with herb and spice-infused stuffing."
4. Cranberry Sauce + Obscura Zinfandel
It comes out of a can. A can. So how can it possibly have a wine pairing?
Zinfandel. That's how.
"Zinfandel is also known for having complex notes of black pepper and baking spice, so it'll add some dimension to your meal between bites of rubbery, canned jelly," Higbee said.
5. Sugar cookies + Burrasca Moscato
If you put this combo out for Santa instead of the usual "milk and cookies" routine, the big guy might show up and gobble down your offering for real.
"When it comes to wine and dessert, you should always match the sweetness of your vino with the sweetness of your treats," Higbee advised us. Hence her fine recommendation of the sweet and aromatic Moscato.
"Moscato is the epitome of a ripe and fruity white, making it the ideal match for sugar, spice, and everything nice."
Wine expertise lies ahead
We'd like to think this list has made you a more knowledgeable oenophile than you were before (we certainly learned a lot just writing it).
But it's only the beginning.
Bright Cellars has a fun and super-easy quiz (seriously, just seven quick questions, including which kind of chocolate you prefer) that matches you with the wines that fit your palate. That means no more aimless wandering through the wine aisle, completely unsure of what to pick.
And if the above wine pairings only made you thirsty for more, don't worry. Bright Cellars has a full team of Wine Concierges who are always happy to share recommendations and tips like these for your upcoming holiday parties.
Follow this link to get started, and get 50 percent off your first order.