Holy smokes, when did December get here? Between Thanksgiving arriving so late this year and the Dolphins miraculously winning we all lost track of time. Boom! It’s time for gift shopping, gift giving, holiday parties, holiday meet-ups and an extra 5-10lbs on your hips! Now to top it all off we need to get together with our families again and make sure our children act grateful when they receive some extremely questionable gifts. Thank God these events all come with wine!
Christmas and Hanukkah completely intersect this year giving everyone just a couple minutes to come up for air before 2020. So before you get New Year’s Eve Whiplash, take a moment and consider some of these wine and food suggestions for the holidays. There’s a little something there for all of us here in Miami and if you’re truly blessed with friends you just might get invited to more than one of these gatherings.
Hanukkah Wine Pairings
What to drink with latkes, sour cream and apple sauce? Well, Champagne of course! The bubbles will cut through the fatty oil in the latkes and make an excellent complement to the tart sour cream and sweetness of the applesauce. Even better if your aunt Rachel springs for caviar! If your family really goes the distance and roasts a brisket then I say you break out a bottle of Syrah. The deep cherry notes and spiciness are an excellent pairing with the richness of the meat. If any of my Jewish friends want to invite me over for one of your 8 Crazy Nights this little goy promises to bring some good booze! L’chaim!
Noche Buena Wine Pairings
Oye, vamos a comer!!! I feel confident in saying that at a Latin Christmas Eve (aka Noche Buena which translates to the “Good Night” or “Drunken Throw-Down”) any alcohol of any kind is absolutely acceptable and permitted. We’re not drinking to pair wine with our superb plate of food but actually to mute out the incessant bickering and loving criticism of our families. However, my family happens to get along oddly well for Cubans and we’ll start our evening off with some Rosé and then move on to Spanish Reds. Roasted pork, black beans and rice, fried plantains and yucca need a little acidity to cut through the fat and tannins to complement the complex flavors. When in doubt always go with a wine from the same region as the fare you’re eating. Food with Spanish roots most likely pairs best with a Spanish wine. Ta Bueno ya!
Traditional Christmas Wine Pairings
Turkey, ham, roast duck, goose or lamb! For turkey and ham pairings I’m going to advise you re-read my Thanksgiving suggestions. However, duck, goose or lamb are three of my favorites! Unlike Thanksgiving turkey, these are extremely flavorful meats so it’s a safe bet to pair your wine selection to the protein and not the side dishes. When it comes to duck or goose I love to drink Pinot Noir! These not so white birds bring in a powerhouse of flavor and have much fattier skin than chicken. Pinot Noir’s deep fruit notes make an excellent complement to the often sweet glazes that accompany these birds. As for lamb it really depends how it’s prepared but you’re safe with a Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or a Bordeaux Blend. The rich gaminess or the lamb needs a bold wine to bring out all of its flavor.
If you’re picking up a bottle to take to a friend’s house remember to shop from the upper shelves in the wine store where the higher quality wines usually reside. Don’t be a cheap guest when you don’t even have to do the dishes after you leave!
While the holiday season is likely going to pass in the blink of an eye I hope you all take a moment to enjoy the blessings you have in your life and reflect upon the health of your liver and its ability to carry through like a decorated soldier! Happy Holidays!