The holidays are underway and, while Thanksgiving has passed, the holiday food season is not over yet. We picked some of our favorite holiday dishes, then asked the Vineyard Team for some recommendations for SIP Certified wines that would pair well with each holiday favorite.
(FYI, SIP Certified wines are wines from vineyards and wineries that meet sustainable fruit production standards and care for workers’ well-being. They’re from vintners and growers who value and prioritize habitat conservation, energy efficiency, humane pest management, water conservation, economic stability and human resources.)
Vineyard Team connected me with Riverbench Winery’s Laura Booras, who offered some pairings with our favorite holiday fare.
1. Pair Turkey, gravy and cranberry sauce with Pomar Junction Vineyard Syrah Rosé.
While you have a lot of options to go with the classic turkey, gravy and cranberry sauce, Laura recommends a rosé, which can liven up a turkey meal and complements cranberry well. And the clove, cinnamon undertones with read fruit like raspberry and cranberry will counter the gaminess of the turkey.
Try Pomar Junction’s SIP Certfied Syrah Rosé. Or you could go a different route and try Laura’s favorite: Beaujolais Nouveau. This is your classic Thanksgiving wine made from gamay that’s meant to be released and drunk a few months after harvest. She said it has a “really neat bubble gummy and bright red fruit flavor profile, so it’s great with turkey and thick gravy.”
2. Pair Glazed ham with Ampelos Cellars Grenache – Delta.
It’s a bit odd, but a lighter Rhone wine like a Grenache or an oaked Chardonnay can pair perfectly with glazed ham. Laura said Grenache pairs well because its “zippy bright fruit” plays along with the glaze. Ampelos Cellars’ Grenache – Delta is SIP Certified with an aroma of leather, pepper and anise and the gentle fragrances of strawberry and blueberry.
And Laura said an oaky chardonnay also pairs well with glazed because it adds a toasted component to the meat.
3. Pair Brisket with Niner Wine Estates Sangiovese.
Sangiovese is a wine that begs for food, and its full body pairs perfectly with a smoky brisket.
Niner’s version has food-friendly aromas that include malt chocolate, hot cocoa mix, a dried woody character and tart cran-cherry.
Vanilla, caramel and nutmeg baking spices round out the velvety flavor profile, with big texture and good tannin structure. In true, Italian-style, this Sangiovese simply begs for food!
4. Pair Green Bean Casserole with Cass Marsanne/Roussanne.
Because green bean casserole is creamy, it can handle a lighter wine. Cass Marsanne/Roussanne would pair well because its acidity would cut through the creaminess and match nicely if the casserole is topped with almonds.
5. Pair Sweet Potato Casserole with Ancient Peaks Winery Merlot.
This is a tougher dish to pair with wine, but Laura recommends a medium-bodied merlot. The folks at Vineyard Team say Ancient Peaks Winery Merlot is just the ticket for this challenging dish. Its silky fruit flavors of black cherry and luscious texture and spiciness will play well with the sweet root vegetable dish.
6. Pair Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Riverbench Vineyard & Winery Bedrock Chardonnay.
Brussels sprouts often have a slightly bitter bite, but a crisp white wine like a are a tough pairing because of the slightly bitter bite and green character they have. Try Riverbench Vineyard & Winery Bedrock Chardonnay with this dish. The SIP Certified wine is light and crisp from being aged in stainless steel, but it goes through partial malolactic fermentation and is aged “sur lees” so it’s a bit richer.
“Plus it’s even better if you add bacon, because the salty bacon is awesome with a crisp and fruity white wine,” Laura said.
7. Pumpkin and/or apple pie with Laetitia Vineyard & Winery XD.
These are great desserts to pair with sparkling wine because they’re sweet without being cloying, and Laura recommends pairing these dishes with something bubbly.
“I love pairing [our Demi Sec sparkling wine] with apple dishes because it has a melon-apple undertone that is enhanced with a touch of brioche from the barrel,” Laura explained. “It’s only slightly sweet, so it matches well with dessert.”
And try the pumpkin pie with Laetitia Vineyard & Winery XD, a delicate Pinot Noir that’s blended with Chardonnay fruit to make a subtly sweet sparkling wine.
So there you have it! Consider drinking SIP Certified wines year-round to support the wineries and vineyards that take care of our environment and communities.
What’s your favorite holiday food and wine pairing? Tell us in the comments.