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Holiday Wine Pairing Advice

Holiday wine pairings, a la SAS

Back in October, I spoke with Niagara Life magazine about wine pairing suggestions for their Holiday Issue


"When it comes to Christmas dinner, I think a lot of us want to go down to the cellar and pick up the biggest, fullest red wine we have down there, and really that's not the right strategy."


You want to bring out the best in both the food and the wine when pairing them together. While I encourage fearlessness when it comes to wine pairing (just trust your instincts and have fun!), here's a good basic rule of thumb for matching proteins and wines:


"If you can chase the meat, pair it with a white. If, on the other hand, the meat can chase you, go for the red." 


So, for chase-able mains like poultry or fish, Chardonnay and Riesling immediately come to mind. For beef, bison or elk, Cabernet blends and Cabernet Franc are a great choice. And for meats like pork and game birds which, frankly, can go either way (geese are mean!), the choice is yours! 

For vegetarian and vegan guests, the playing field is even wider! Think of the seasoning and "weight" of your entrees when picking wines. Dishes that include woody-stemmed herbs like thyme and sage will welcome big, structured reds. Dishes with more delicate flavouring or fresh cheeses ask for lighter wines. And as for root vegetable dishes, well, much like pork and game birds, you can go a number of directions ;)

Here's a few suggestions to get you started:

Roast Turkey, Poached Salmon, Herb & Endive Salad
Elisha's Chardonnay
Robert's Block Riesling
Luminescence Sparkling Riesling Demi-Sec
Fancy Farm Girl Frissonesque Sauvignon Blanc

Prime Rib, Venison Roast, Vegan Mushroom Wellington
Gritstone Cabernet
Chestnut Tree Cabernet Franc

Baked or Smoked Ham, Roast Squash 
Riesling Loved by Lu
Mabel's VCR Viognier Chardonnay Riesling
Rubinescence Brut Rosé
Fancy Farm Girl Flamboyant Red

Roast Goose, Seared Duck, Root Vegetable Slab Pie
Louie Pinot Gris
Bank Barn Baco Noir
Windsock Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé