Learn the perfect wine pairings for holiday foods

On top of buying presents for everyone and preparing the feast, choosing which wines to serve at your holiday party can be overwhelming. Chances are you don’t have a personal sommelier at your side to suggest pairings with your favourite turkey recipe. Fortunately, Jane Masters, master of wine offers a few simple insider tips for achieving an expert pairing with every meal.

For salty appetizers. Sparkling wines pair fairly well with salty dishes, so feel free to serve your favourite with an assortment of hors d’oeuvres. “Good sparkling wines are made in many places, with Prosecco from Italy and Spanish Cava being affordable alternatives to champagne. Other great options are sparkling wines produced in other regions of France, such as Alsace, Burgundy and the Loire,” says Masters.

For seafood appetizers. Seafood appetizers like oysters or smoked salmon call for zippy wines, especially when they’re served with tangy dressings. To match that, any Sauvignon Blanc from France or New Zealand should do the trick. You can also go with a lesser-known but equally lively Verdejo from Spain.

For turkey. As a white meat, turkey should call for white wine. But its relative neutral taste makes for a blank canvas. So the ideal pairing will mostly depend upon the accompaniments, especially the sauce. “I think about the flavours, their intensity, and the texture of the dish,” says Masters. “Strong meats and sauces go well with robust red wines while lighter dishes pair better with lighter reds or whites. But there are no hard and fast rules – it comes down to personal tastes and sometimes you can be surprised by unusual combinations.”

For dessert. “You can’t go wrong with a classic Port or a Southern French dessert wine like Sauternes or Monbazillac,” Masters recommends.

Want to learn more about food and wine pairing? As part of their wine club membership benefits, Opimian offers the services of a wine concierge. Available via phone or email, this wine expert can help with pairing inquiries among other things so you’ll never have to worry about which wine to serve at your next gathering. Find more information at www.opimian.ca.

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