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In Good Taste

Best Wines to Pair with Your Holiday Meal

Best Wines to Pair with Your Holiday Meal

Sip Your Way Through a Merry Holiday!

Undoubtedly, like every other month this year, the holidays of 2020 will be different than in years past. While we keep our families close virtually rather than in person this year, the same basic challenges will arise when we are planning our holiday menus. What dishes will be prepared? And once the food has been decided, what wine will be served with our holiday dinners? If you are lucky enough to join a dinner and not have to do the cooking (or cleaning), you can still contribute to the festivities by showing up with the perfect Thanksgiving wine or the perfect wine to complement Christmas Dinner. We have insight, hints, and tips to look for when choosing the perfect holiday wines, whether you’re vying to open that special occasion bottle or try something new!

Sparkling Wines

Whether you are celebrating with two or 10, a bottle of bubbly can spark a great toast to the evening. Sparkling wines set a festive mood. They should be chilled before serving, as guests arrive or as you're wrapping up the cooking. A glass of dry sparkling wine, such as Cava from Spain, is a great party starter. Typically found at a moderate price point, you have a nice dry, lively sparkling wine that will prep your palate for a night of delicious culinary delights. If you are looking to impress the host of your dinner with a nice sparkling wine, Franciacorta is a great sparkling alternative to Champagne.  Franciacorta is Italy’s highest-quality sparkling wine, made in the Champagne style with Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco grapes. Some may call it a classier alternative to its better-known sister, Prosecco. Franciacorta is a dry, medium-bodied, sparkling wine that boasts a drier, yeastier, and more complex bubbly. Franciacorta is made in the Champagne style, meaning the second fermentation happens within the bottle rather than in steel tanks. When aged using this sur lie method (French for “on the lees”), white wines remain unfiltered and in contact with the dead yeast cells, a similar technique to bottle-conditioned beers, resulting in smaller bubbles and a finer quality of sparkling wine. Your holiday dinner host will be blown away by your wine knowledge as well as the delicious Franciacorta.

Holiday Meal Outdoors

Light- & Medium-Bodied Reds

During the meal, some great wines that complement a heavy Thanksgiving dinner are lighter- to medium-bodied reds. Look for red wines that have light tannins, nice notes of red and black fruit, and moderate acidity. Wines from the Beaujolais region in France are a great go-to wine to pair with turkey, no matter how it is being prepared. Another great lighter-bodied red wine option is Red Tide Wines Grenache, which can be served slightly chilled or at a nice cellar temperature. This wine features beautiful flavors of tart cranberry and ripe cherry that will cut through the smoke and fat of your turkey or ham, and complement most side dishes. If you are looking to bring a bottle of wine, Pinot Noir wines from California are always a great addition to the table and the cellar.

Hearty Red Wines

If you prefer a wine with a little more oomph, a hearty Red Zinfandel is a great option, especially as the fall weather sneaks in and begins to cool things down across the country.  Zinfandel has lush velvety tannins, approachable and balanced out by nice, jammy dark fruit and notes of cinnamon and clove. Always a crowd-pleaser, especially among the big red lovers, Zinfandel is a hearty red wine that will complement them all, from turkey to ham to game meats. Fun fact: these wines are made from the same grape, but the different regions produce vastly different results! Zinfandel’s traditional cherry-forward flavor balances with the notes of licorice and black pepper prominently displayed in this delectable Red Blend.

Friendsgiving Meal with Wine

Light White Wines

We cannot leave out the white wines! White wine varietals, such as fruit-packed Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling all make a great addition to your holiday table. Another great, food-friendly wine is Sauvignon Blanc. This grape is grown all over the world and can taste vastly different depending on the climate, topography, and other regional phenoms, also known as the terroir. Lovingly nicknamed Sauvi B, La Pluma Sauvignon Blanc is light and crisp, with mouthwatering notes of lemonade, smoky grapefruit, and citrus.

Chardonnay is another great white wine that varies according to its region. Chablis is a great alternative to the rich oaked Chardonnays that California is known for. These medium- to full-bodied wines are full of crisp green apple notes, peach, and pear, along with Chardonnay's signature minerality. They are not aged in oak for very long, if at all, so the bright acidity really shines through, making them pair great with poultry and your vegetable side dishes. It is always fun to surprise your ABC (anything but Chardonnay) friends with this highly revered white wine. Surprise! It is a chardonnay! These wines are more than worth the hefty price tag. A Grand Cru makes a great gift. A Chardonnay that is partially oaked Chardonnay may be ay safer option than traditional oaked Chardonnay. If you have tried In Good Taste’s Chardonnay, you know that a partially oaked is the best of both worlds and makes a great complement to festive meals. Notes of baked fruit balance with subtle vanilla and touch of oak. These wines are not overpowering and work well with everything from turkey to classic apple pie.

Sweet Endings

When it comes to dessert, keep in mind that sweet will cancel out sweet. Serving chocolate cake with a dessert wine, like Tawny Port or Banyuls, will slightly downplay the sweetness in both wines while bringing out other elements such as spice, earthy cacao, and vanilla. Banyuls is a red dessert wine from the Roussillon region of France. Alternately, Italy’s famous Moscato d’Asti is great on its own due to its lively effervescence and refreshingly sweet apple and honey flavors.  Enjoy it chilled or with a slice of apple pie a la mode. Dessert wines are a great way to end the night on a sweet note, and they tend to have a lower alcohol content which can come in handy after a day of great food and wine. 

Holiday Meal with Wine, Pumpkin Pie and Braided Bread

With bright acidity and moderate alcohol levels, Rieslings are some of the most food-friendly wines available. They carry notes of apple, citrus, pear, and peach, along with honey and floral notes – balanced with a touch of minerality, this great white wine complements turkey, ham, stuffing, and even dessert! To find a dryer Riesling wine that displays pronounced fruity notes and lower levels of sweetness, look for a bottle with a higher alcohol content. This will mean that the extra sugars have been transformed into alcohol during fermentation.

Whether you are joining close family and friends or hosting the festivities, the best part of the holidays is being able to share stories, food, and drink with those you love. Round out your crazy year by trying a wine you have never had before, adding a new side dish to your Friendsgiving table, sharing a laugh, and leaving with great memories.

Rosé of Sangiovese


Sangiovese can be found in both the Chianti and Montalcino regions of Tuscany (it all sounds so romantic, right?) and is known for producing classic medium-bodied wines. Rosé wine is actually made from red grapes, and this is where the Rosé of Sangiovese comes to play. Crisp, fruit-forward, and easy-to-drink, it's everything you want in your bottle of Rosé and more.



Big, bold, and full of flavor—exactly what you’d expect an Italian wine to be! This classic Italian grape produces some of Italy’s most straightforward red wines and is often used as a blending grape. Not here, though. We let Montepulciano do the heavy lifting as a heavy red wine and shine on its own. If you enjoy the smell of leather bound books, nibbling on dried fruit, and complementary notes of bitter, dark chocolate and sweet plums, you will love this Italian wine. No need to pair it with any certain dish—Montepulciano tastes great with all the Italian classics.

Cabernet Sauvignon


If Pinot Noir is the light and juicy queen of reds, Cabernet Sauvignon is her bolder, heavier, meatier sister. Often referred to as just “cab,” it’s the wine of France’s Bordeaux and California’s Napa Valley. There’s nothing subtle about Cabernet Sauvignon—high in alcohol, full-bodied and robust, you can usually find this red served with a ribeye, New York Strip, or filet mignon (re: carnivores love cab). Classic cabs usually offer tasting notes of chocolate, coffee, and darker fruits like prunes and plums. The Unprecedented Cabernet Sauvignon is as classic as they come, and we highly recommend letting the bottle sit and mellow until your next red meat and potatoes dinner!

Pinot Grigio

La Pluma

If you’re looking for more zest in your life, a bottle of Pinot Grigio can provide that. We included a classic Pinot Grigio in the La Pluma collection because we’re all about light and easy here, which is exactly what this grape from Italy is. It has that dry sense of humor that seems so effortless with a punchy acidity to keep you on your toes, all while offering notes of lemon, limes, green apples, and honeysuckle. Long story short; when it’s been a heavy day and your soul is seeking light things only, you’ll be happy to have this bottle on hand.

Pinot Noir


We couldn’t create the In Good Taste Unprecedented collection without the Golden Retriever of wines: Pinot Noir. Pinot is likable, it’s easy, and its natural state of being is simply charming. It’s an incredibly easy red wine to love, which is why so many people do. The grape itself is from the Burgundy region of France, but has made its way to California, Oregon, Australia, Italy, Argentina, and Germany since. Our Pinot Noir has no surprise twists—it’s a classic light red with just the right amount of sweetness to keep you coming back for another glass (or two).

Coteaux Bourguignons


The Burgundy region of France is home to their best Pinot Noirs, but we took the grapes into our own hands to create something extra special with our Coteaux Bourguignons. It’s a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, which results in a French red that’s light in body but full in flavor. The ripest blueberries and freshest herbs can be easily detected in this French burgundy blend. May we suggest pairing it with some creamy brie and freshly baked bread? It’s a oui-ning combo.



A little sweet. A little tart. A little salty? You truly get it all with this white Italian wine. If you're into that biting acidity, Verdicchio will probably be high on your list of most-loved wines from our Andiamo collection. Citrus fruits like mandarin, lemon, and grapefruit are at the forefront, but what really sets this Italian wine apart is its distinct notes of almond. While our Verdicchio can start out tasting a bit tart, the more you sip, the smoother it becomes. In fact, we suggest approaching it as an aperitif (Italian for an alcoholic drink sipped before a meal to stimulate the appetite) to experience its full effect.


Côtes du Rhône White


This was one of our first French wines to join the Passport collection and one sip will explain why. Some background on the Rhône Valley in France: While this region is known for its dark, juicy reds, a very small amount of special white wines are made in the Rhône Valley. Our Côtes du Rhône is packed with French-perfected, floral flavor and Old-World charm. Its natural tang paired with the weighty Marsanne grape and aromatic Roussanne grape results in a crisp, savory sip that’ll transport you to a sunbathing chair by the Rhône itself.


Bordeaux Rouge


When you picture medieval folk sitting around a feast with goblets of wine, chances are they were drinking Bordeaux. This wine has been made in France since forever and is arguably the most classic French wine out there. Bordeaux is known for its full body, smoky notes, and rich, oaky taste. If you love cabs, chances are you will adore Bordeaux. For our Passport wines, we had to include this classic French red for you to sip and enjoy to your heart’s content. Best savored over a rich meal like lamb ragu, ratatouille, or BBQ.

Ventoux Rosé


You probably know that the Tour de France is held on Ventoux Mountain in France, but did you know that the same area is known for its high-altitude rosé? This is the kind of quintessential French rosé that you don’t need to spin your wheels over—it’s simply delicious, crisp, and perfect for warm weather. Despite its delicate, pale pink color, each sip is lush with flavor, from tropical passionfruit and zesty citrus to refreshing melon. This has the potential to be your new summer go-to, so we’d suggest stocking up.



Wild Child

Say “¡Hola!” to Spain’s main grape: Tempranillo. This red grape put Rioja wine on the map and is un vino tinto classico. It’s best compared to a classic cab, but with a bit more unique magic that’s hard to put your finger on, which is why it’s a part of our Wild Child line. This medium- to full-bodied wine with its relatively higher tannins usually offers complex notes of cherry, fig, cedar, tobacco, and dill. This is the type of red wine you want to buy and pour for a Latin-infused meal; think carne asada, tacos al carbon, or just perfectly cooked steak fajita meat.


La Pluma

We knew the only red in the La Pluma collection had to be exceptionally good and exceptionally light. That’s why including a Grenache was a no-brainer. If smooth, fruit-forward, light-bodied reds appeal to your tastebuds, this could be your new favorite. The grape itself is tricky; depending on the climate of where its grown, Grenache wines could be light, dense, or somewhere in the middle. La Pluma’s version has all the airiness and flavor notes we wanted in our Grenache, which is how we know you’ll love it. Get the most of this red by pairing it with roasted meats, spice-heavy vegetables, and Mexican-inspired dishes with lots of cumin.




This grape goes by different names in most European countries, but what remains the same is its fruity floral nature. Delicate in every way and extremely quaffable, this wine is as dainty as they come.



We really try not to play favorites at In Good Taste, but there is just something about an Italian Barbera that hits different in the best way. Barberas are the perfect wine for pizza night; they're low in alcohol, and medium-bodied but taste super light, and their berry and plum flavors pair incredibly well with savory tomato sauce and cheese! Another fun thing about Barberas? They actually taste great when chilled, which is not something we're in the habit of suggesting for our red wines. Our Italian Barbera lies somewhere between the body of a cab and a pinot and is the ideal choice for a "ladies who lunch" kind of afternoon.


Wild Child

We couldn't not have a weird white in the mix, right?! The Vermentino grape is native along the coast of Italy on the island of Sardinia (yeah, like the fish). Because of its origin, this grape offers a salty, crisp flavor that's incredibly easy to drink and enjoy. We say it's "weird" only because it's not widely known by name, but chances are you've probably had it before if you've ever ordered white wine in an Italian restaurant. If you love peaches and lemons and get a kick out of anything that reminds you of the sea, our Vermentino is the perfect Italian white to experience on a sunny day outside.




For the Chardonnay lovers who are looking to dig a bit deeper in the world of bold whites, a Viognier (pronounced vee-own-yay) could be your next big adventure. Viogniers tend to have more range; while they can be creamy with hints of vanilla like their Chardonnay counterpart, they also offer lighter, fruitier flavors like tangerine, mango, and honeysuckle. It’s still a more full-bodied white wine, but unlike Chardonnay, it’s softer on acidity and more perfumed. Spend an afternoon with a glass of Viognier amongst the flowers and it’ll all make sense.


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