The Ultimate Holiday Wine Guide

Perfect options for your festive meal

By Kimberly Pinello, The Galloping Grape

Planning and creating your holiday meal and the magical wine pairing at the holiday table may be a daunting task. Wine pairing –  feared by many host or hostess – doesn’t have to be difficult. After all, what is a fabulous meal without the perfect wine?

If you are unsure of what wine to serve with your pork tenderloin, or whether you need to serve a red or a white wine with your turkey, you are not alone. I have a few holiday pairing tips to help you pick out fabulous wines your guests are sure to love.

Beef pairing options.

Beef roast has the worthiness of being one of the easiest dishes to pair with wine. You can’t go wrong with any medium-to full-bodied red wine that you enjoy. For a classic Christmas roast beef, try a full-bodied red like IronSide Cabernet from California, or one of my favorites – the Magic Door Barolo. This wine features tantalizing aromas of fresh cherries with hints of leather, clove and cinnamon, and is a dry wine that combines the freshness of red cherries with an earthy, savory texture.

Ham entree pairings.

Ham has a high saltiness factor and the dryness of the meat begs for a sparkling wine. Dibon Brut Cava is an incredible value sparkling that will sure to impress your guests. You’ll also do very well with a Rosé like 90+ Rosé from France. For red wine lovers don’t be quick to change your meal plans, because red wines will work with ham as well. Accompanying the traditional ham on my table has always been a pinot noir, specifically, the Ramsay Pinot Noir from California’s North Coast. I can’t help but salivate when I think of the juicy dark fruit of the pinot harmonizing with every bite of the meal.

Pork tenderloin pairing options.

Pork tenderloin is one of the easiest plates to pair with wine. This meat goes brilliantly with a nice dry Reisling such as Fess Parker, which has great juicy apple and citrus notes with lovely acidity needed with the pork. You can’t go wrong with a pinot noir, or even a nice juicy Malbec such as Kaiken Malbec with big bright fruit and hints of walnut. Doesn’t that just make you want to bake a tenderloin tonight?

Turkey pairing options.

Let’s honor Virginia’s most wonderfully grown white grape – Viognier. The turkey will be brilliant with Magnolia Cellars Viognier providing a fruity palate of peach and pear with hints of honey, mango, vanilla and honeysuckle. You may also select Barboursville’s award winning Viognier with floral aromas and flavors of pressed flowers, dried apricot, rosewater, finishing with a mango chutney and lemon yogurt.

Wine suggestions to bring to dinner.

If you are not in charge of the cooking but are requested to bring the wine, here are a few fail safe choices.

For the whites, I would suggest a dry Riesling, crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a fabulous Chenin Blanc such as Badenhorst from South Africa. It has a dry texture, tang and a crisp freshness that lights up the palate with apple strudel and peach crumble flavors, showing a fresh ripeness and zesty acidity. Chose a Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, or Spanish red such as Para je de Titos with a full fruity body and soft tannins that will not overwhelm the flavors in the food.

General food & wine pairing tips.

Pair hearty, heavier foods, with heavier wines and lighter fare with lighter wines. Salty foods need wines higher in acid so a “crisp” Sauvignon Blanc or sparkling wine would be better than a “creamy” or “oaky” Chardonnay.

Sweet foods like desert need a wine which is slighter sweeter – if the wine is as sweet as the food, the wine taste will be lost. Try a bottle of Taylor Fladgates Late Bottle Vintage Port; late Bottled Vintage, as the name suggests, is bottled later and remains in a wood barrel from four to six years. This delightful wine is ready to drink from the bottle – there is no need decant prior to serving – and can be served by the glass alongside your holiday dessert.

About the author:

Kimberly Pinello, the owner of The Galloping Grape, enjoys spending quality time on her ranch with her husband, Frank, and a variety of hooved and furry critters. Her two greatest passions are horses and wine, which compelled her to create The Galloping Grape. She offers a robust selection of lightly-used saddles for every kind of rider, and many of the world’s finest wines. Visit her website ( for more information. Or you may call (540-428-1002) or email her at

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