While turkey is common at Christmas, gobblers do not have the roost they enjoy at Thanksgiving.
Suggested wine pairings for a non-turkey holiday repast:
• Ham is Christmas tradition in the South. Because of ham’s sweetness and saltiness, the wine should have a touch of sweetness, good acidity, and bold fruit flavors. Extra dry riesling, moscato, chenin blanc, lambrusco, grenache, zinfandel hang with ham.
• Beef brisket is a Texas favorite, also a traditional Hanukkah meal paired with potato latkes and sour cream. Beef tenderloin pleasures Christmas carnivores who balk at brisket fattiness. Prime rib roast is English tradition. General red rule: richer the meat, bolder the red; leaner the meat, lighter the red. Cabernet sauvignon and Chianti go with brisket and prime rib; a merlot or a Bordeaux is better with leaner tenderloin.
• Lamb is long-established for variety of ethnic cultures, including those who join the season celebration from differing religious traditions. Bolder reds with smoother tannins work with lamb’s delicate texture and strong flavor. Australian syrah or Argentinian malbec melds well.
• Italians celebrate Christmas with feast of seven fishes, inspired by seven sacraments of Catholic Church. This can get complicated. Flaky, lean fish such as sea bass, flounder, tilapia, sole call for refreshing whites—pinot grigio, grüner veltliner, vinho verde, Chablis, Champagne, cava.
Medium-texture fish—catfish, trout, red snapper, redfish, Chilean seabass—do well with medium body whites such as un-oaked chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, dry riesling, pinot gris.
Meaty fish—salmon, mackerel, mahi mahi, tuna—pair with rosé wines and with rich whites packed with flavor such as oaked chardonnay, viognier, dry rosé, Provence, white Burgundy, vintage Champagne.
• By Dickens, Tiny Tim enjoyed goose and you can, too. If you take a gander at darker, richer, gamier, fatter fowl, pinot noir is the pairing, especially if the goose or duck is prepared in subtle manner. If the bird has spicier flavors, go with gewürztraminer.
If you trot out turkey, we provided pairing strategies for that before Thanksgiving. If you need default wine with turkey: pinot noir.
Whatever you eat or drink, may your Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/family gathering be a feast of love and joy.
Last round: The weather outside is frightful, but the wine is so delightful. Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow.