As the smell of pine, cinnamon and peppermint permeates the air, we start rushing to prepare for the holiday season. December calls for indulging in the company of friends and family – and in our favorite foods and drinks.
Planning a menu and cooking up a feast during the holiday season can be daunting. To help you entertain your guests and bring your loved ones together in high spirits, we put together a list of crowd-pleasing holiday dishes and the perfect German wines to pour with them.
Get ready to dig in, celebrate the season, maybe loosen your belt a notch (or two), and toast with delicious and versatile German wine varietals!
- Dry Riesling & Glazed Ham
A refreshingly acidic Riesling will help cut through the richness of a juicy ham with pomegranate molasses glaze. A Trocken style will be dry enough for the savory slices of ham, but still supplies fruity flavors like apple, lemon, and peach to complement the glaze and highlight the citrusy notes of the pomegranate.
- Pinot Noir & Pot Roast
Cater to meat lovers with decadent German Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder) and a tender beef roast. The key to pot roast pairing is a wine that’s bold enough for your flavorful feast but without too much tannin – In cool-climate Germany, Pinot Noir has the ability to be delightfully lighter and lower in tannin than reds from other regions. Enjoy the luscious berry notes and kick of spice in this full-bodied German red wine.
- Pinot Gris & Lox
A full-bodied, dry and crisp German Pinot Gris (Grauburgunder) harmonizes well with salty cured salmon. You’ll most often find Grauburgunder vinified in stainless steel, resulting in a more delicate wine than when aged in oak. The zesty notes in this white wine highlight fresh seafood flavors, delighting your guests with this match made in heaven! Pinot Gris is also a dream with creamy cheeses, so go ahead and serve on a bagel with cream cheese for a festive New York-style brunch.
- Pinot Blanc & Crudité
Keep the ranch dip and get adventurous with baby fennel, endive, and broccolini in a creative twist on the hallmark start to a dinner party. Pour a subtle and fruity German Pinot Blanc (Weissburgunder) with refreshing acidity to match veggies without overpowering the platter, offering an irresistible combination that leaves the palate craving more.
- Silvaner & Roasted Asparagus
For those vegan-friendly holiday sides or an elevated salad course, you can combine crunchy roasted asparagus with Silvaner. Asparagus is considered tricky to pair due to its bitterness, but it meets its match in dry, powerful Silvaner. The unique-to-Germany varietal has subtle aromas and is mild in acidity yet hearty and earthy. Silvaner is prized for being herbaceous and mouth-filling, which enriches the freshness of a well-seasoned side of greens.
- Spätlese Riesling & Gingerbread
After you build a gingerbread house (or castle or stadium), you can munch away at your architectural marvel while sipping on some off-dry to sweet German Riesling. The warm spice of the ginger and sweetness of royal icing will pair deliciously with a luscious yet supremely balanced and vibrant Spätlese or Auslese Riesling, enhancing the flavors of both the cookie and wine. These styles can suit dessert but are never cloying thanks to the high acidity that is a trademark of German wine, creating a complex combination of rich minerality and notes of honeysuckle, apricot, and lemon.
- Riesling Sekt & apple pie
What is a celebration without bubbles? Pick your favorite refreshing, light-bodied Riesling Sekt (the German term for sparkling wine) and serve it with a slice of apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream. For bonus points with your friends and family, drizzle caramel sauce on top. Just like its still counterpart, Riesling Sekt will be a burst of fresh apple on your taste buds, layered with stone fruit flavors and floral aromas. Second fermentation introduces a creaminess and toastiness perfect for baked goods, and the bubbles bring an elegance to lighten up any night.
Find more pairings here!