Learn how to pair your favorite food and wine for Christmas with these tips from sommelier Hillary Zio! Pour a glass, serve up your favorite dishes, and get ready to celebrate the holiday season in style.

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Easily one of the most fun parts of the season is enjoying all the delicious food. And of course, you can’t toast to a happy holiday without something in your glass! Here are my recommendations for the perfect wines to pair with whatever’s on your plate this Christmas.

Wine for Christmas Brunch

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A family brunch is a wonderful start to any celebration, be it Christmas or New Year’s Day. There’s a host of delicious foods you can serve! Some of my favorites are quiche or roasted vegetables like asparagus. Vegetable-forward dishes like these pair phenomenally with Harry & David’s sparkling wine. It’s refreshing and light in body without an abundance of fruit notes that would compete with the vegetables. Prefer red wines? Try Pinot Noir, which bears earthy characteristics that shine especially with mushroom dishes. Both of these wines also have the right acidity to be stellar complements to baked brie.

harry and david quiche
If you’ve got something sweet in your spread, like lemon coconut cheesecake bites, you may want to skip the red and stick with the sparkling wine—its crispness will pair best with a decadent dessert!

Wine for Christmas Dinner

Your main course will drive your drink of choice for the evening. Leaning towards something heavy, like a prime rib or beef tenderloin? Harry & David’s Reserve Cabernet is a full-bodied wine with notes of blackberries, leather, cocoa, and coffee beans. Its complexity means it does well with big, hearty meals.

ham and wine food and wine pairing
If you’re serving up something like a Christmas ham or lamb chops, the Royal Crest Red blend will be your best choice. It’s not too light and not too full, with a lovely profile featuring red fruit, cedar, and a hint of vanilla. It truly is a crowd-pleaser!

Celebrating with the Feast of Seven Fishes

On Christmas Eve, many families observe The Feast of Seven Fishes. It’s a predominantly Italian-American tradition that comes from Southern Italy, commemorating the wait for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus. Typically, families refrain from meat meals until their Christmas Day feast but enjoy seven different seafood dishes on Christmas Eve, such as salted codfish, halibut, or salmon. Chardonnay pairs great with these dishes. It isn’t too overpowering in its trademark butter flavor, plus features just a hint of French oak. If you’re serving shellfish, like a clam pasta, sparkling wine will help each flavor stand out brilliantly.

You’re ready for a gourmet Christmas now! No matter what pairings you decide on, the important part is sharing the special time with family and friends. Happy holidays!

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Author

Hillary Zio is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and holds an Advanced Certificate in Wines and Spirits with the WSET. Originally from Aspen, Colorado, her passion for wine has lead her all over the world. She has taught hundreds of classes and continues to be fascinated by the never-ending world of wine. Her book "The Unfiltered Guide to Working in Wine" was released in 2016.

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