HOLIDAY TEXAS WINE PAIRING GUIDE
The holidays are upon us, and that means soon homes will be filled with family members, cheer, and quite a bit of food! Whether you’re hosting a holiday gathering this year or looking to be the favorite dinner guest, knowing how to pair the right wine with the right dish will elevate your holiday experience. Lucky for you, we live in the 5th largest wine-producing state, Texas! With no shortage in Texas Hill Country Wine options to choose from, you’re bound to create the perfect wine and food pairings. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve created this simple guide to ensure you impress this holiday season!
THE BASICS OF FOOD AND WINE PAIRING
It can seem daunting to pair wine and food successfully. The truth is there are a few golden rules to follow. Great food and wine pairings create a balance between the elements of a dish and the aspects of the wine. Once you’ve mastered these fundamentals, then you can start to have some fun and be creative!
- The wine should not be more acidic or sweeter than the food.
- Acidic wines pair nicely with fatty and sweet foods. The acidity helps to cut the richness or sweetness of the dish.
- Bitter wine (mostly red wines) are balanced best with fat.
- Saltiness and acidity should never be competing with each other. If you have a salty dish, opt for a mild to low acidic wine.
- Similar to acidic wine pairing nicely with sweet foods, a sweet wine needs a little acidity from the dish.
- Red wines typically pair best with bold-flavored meats like red meat.
- White wines typically pair best with light meats like fish or chicken.
- White, Sparkling, and Rosé wines often create contrasting pairings. A contrasting pairing is one that creates a balanced flavor profile by contrasting tastes and flavors. Think of this as salty with sweet, like maple bacon.
- Red Wines often create a congruent pairing. A congruent pairing is one that creates balance by amplifying shared flavor elements. A creamy mac ‘n cheese could pair nicely with an equally rich Syrah or Merlot.
FIND YOUR PERFECT TEXAS HOLIDAY WINE IN THE HILL COUNTRY
Time to start pairing your holiday favorites with some local Texas wines! From rich, balanced whites to earthy, fruit-driven reds, we’re letting you in on where to look for local wines. No matter if you are looking to choose one wine to carry you from appetizers through desserts or opting for several wines to accent different components of the meal, we have you covered!
- Herbed cheese ball or cheese plate: Serving cheese is a great and easy way to help keep guests’ tummies full while the entree continues to cook. Some cheeses go better with white wines while others go better with red wines, but almost all cheese pairs well with a dry rosé. Dry rosé has the acidity of white wine while also having the fruit character of a red, making it the perfect option! Give Pedernales Cellars’ 2018 Over the Moon Rosé, William Chris Vineyards’ 2018 High Plains Rosé, or 1851 Vineyards’ 2017 THP Rosé a try!
- Turkey: Chardonnay might be considered the classic pairing for a delicious turkey, but this year we urge you to try a Viognier. The juicy stone fruit flavors and floral honey undertones of a Viognier make it an ideal match for a tender turkey. Haven’t tasted a Viognier yet? This Thanksgiving could be a great time to start! Becker Vineyards was one of the first wineries to bring the Viognier to the Texas region, so give their Viognier Reserve 2017 a try! If you’re a fan of the classics and want to stick with a Chardonnay, you can’t go wrong with Texas Hill Vineyards’ Chardonnay 15 Estate or Fall Creek Vineyards’ Chardonnay Certenberg Vineyards Terroir Reflection Texas Hill Country 2017.
- Ham: Nothing says the holidays quite like a ham! But ham can be a little tricky to pair since there are so many different ways to prepare it. Whether you’re going salty or sweet with your ham, we think a Zinfandel is the right choice. Cut through the fatty sweetness or saltiness of the ham with a Zinfandel, which also has good fruit notes. Pick up a bottle or two of Bent Oak Winery’s 2017 Zinfandel Russian River or Kuhlman Cellar’s 2016 Zinfandel.
- Roast: When pairing wine to a roast, you’ll want to consider what kind of meat the roast is. A pork roast is typically juicy and rich, so pairing with a creamy Chardonnay, like Stone House Vineyard’s Special Reserve Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2018, it will create a congruent paring. If you’re making a beef roast, try serving it with a Cabernet Sauvignon, which similarly produces a rich congruent pairing. Bending Branch Winery’s 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is a great choice!
- Brussel sprouts: Move over green beans, brussel sprouts are here to stay! Over the last few years, we’ve seen brussel sprouts move from a trend into a table favorite. Whether you’re adding bacon, a maple glaze, or just lightly roasting your brussel sprouts be sure to grab a Chardonnay. We recommend Driftwood Estates Winery’s 2018 Chardonnay.
- Mac ‘n Cheese: The most decadent dish on your holiday table calls for an equally rich pairing. Anything too acidic might clash with the dreamily creamy flavor profile of mac ‘n cheese. At the same time, you don’t want a wine that is too buttery, so grab a lightly oaked or unoaked Chardonnay. Messina Hof’s Unoaked Chardonnay would be a perfect fit! If you prefer red wines over white wines, another great option is a Merlot. 4.0 Cellars has a rich 2017 Merlot or try Bingham Family Vineyard’s 2016 Dirt Farmer, which is a red blend of Tempranillo, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, and Petit Verdot.
- Pies: We saved the best for last! The holidays open up an endless amount of options for pie flavors. If you are enjoying an apple based pie or dessert, you’ll need a wine that has an element of sweetness and the same intensity as the dessert. Going with a Riesling, like Grape Creek Vineyards’ 2018 Riesling, or a Chenin Blanc, like Westcave Cellars Winery’s 2016 Chenin Blanc, will create a great balance. If pumpkin pie is more your flavor, a Port brings some sweetness to this holiday favorite. Maybe you’re sticking with your southern roots and will be serving a pecan pie. Sweeter reds work well with the rich and nuttiness of pecan pie. Similar to pumpkin pie, a Port is also a great pick for pecan pie. Both Fredericksburg Winery and Texas Legato Winery have excellent Port wine options!
If you’re still feeling unsure of how to perfectly pair your holiday dinner with the right wine, don’t fret! Stop by one of the many Texas Hill Country Wineries for a tasting and chat with the knowledgeable staff who can assist you in finding the right wine pairing for your dinner. Don’t be intimated, get out there, and start expanding your Texas wine knowledge! The added benefit of selecting a locally made wine is that what grows together, goes together. Source all of your ingredients locally, and you’re bound to have an exceptional meal!
Have a favorite holiday food and Texas wine pairing we didn’t mention? We’d love to hear from you! Tell us in the comment section below.