Welcome to the holiday party season, people. Now, finally, is your chance to make up for last year’s bag of chips pot-luck faux pas. This year will be different. This year party guests will be begging for your appetizer recipe and your wine expertise. Say what? Oh yeah, this year you will be showing up at the party not only with a home-made appetizer, but also with a paired bottle of wine.
General Wine Rules
Let’s talk about simple wine rules to keep in mind:
- When in doubt, go with a crisp, white wine. It won’t overpower your food.
- If you’re serving up something salty, pair it with a sparkling wine.
- If you’ve got a sweet dish such as a dessert, your wine needs to be sweeter. If it’s less sweet than the food, the food strips the sweetness from the wine.
- For fattier foods like meat and dairy, there are a lot of rules involving tannins and acids that I’m just not going to try to get into right now. Just visit the link and start memorizing.
For a low key get-together, try a simple crostini. Top your crostini with fresh wild sautéed mushrooms and Italian Fontina cheese to produce a quick and easy crowd pleaser. Wines: For a rich, cheesy dish like this, try a dry rosé or a Riesling.
- Zesty, with a touch of sweet, a dry rosé wine will elevate your simple crostini to superb.
- If you want to go with a Riesling, choose a semisweet one rather than the more common sweet Rieslings.
Who doesn’t love cheese? A nicely accessorized cheese tray is a great appetizer for a small party. And, coincidentally, cheese and wine are BFFs. Add an assortment of bread and crackers and some jarred condiments such as mustards and honey and garnish with grapes. Pretty and tasty. If you’re pairing your cheese tray with wine, stick with softer cheeses because bleu cheese and its pungent buddies can overpower many wines. Wines: For your cheese tray try sweeter, fruity wines to balance the flavors.
- Pinot Noir pairs fantastically with a brie.
- Got Gouda? Go with a Beaujolais.
Asparagus & Artichoke Pizzettes
Let’s step up the veggie pizza appetizer game with this delicious twist on the regular veggie pizza. Wines: With the earthy flavor of roasted veggies, consider some of the lighter reds.
- Try a light-to-medium body Cabernet Franc with a light spice flavor.
- Dolcetto — meaning “little sweet one” — wines offer a hint of blackberry and plum.
Let’s wipe the smirk off Pinterest Queen’s face. Oh wait, I mean let’s show our true holiday spirit with a simple, yet fancy dish everyone will love. I’m talking Roasted Pears with Herbed Goat Cheese. Be careful to make sure your guests don’t overindulge on this one, or they might be headed straight to their own addiction intervention. Not only is this an easy recipe, you can plate it up to look extra impressive. Wines: With a dish this savory you’re going to want to grab a nice sweet wine.
- A good bottle of Port, with its full body and oaky sweetness, will pair well with the goat cheese and bacon in this recipe.
- Consider grabbing a bottle of dessert Icewine. This sweet wine is made while the grapes frozen on the vine.
Now you’ve got your recipes and your wine pairings it’s time to start RSVP-ing to those holiday parties. Get ready to be very popular! Savannah Marie is a food and wine enthusiast and writer for her blog, Mixios. When she isn’t writing you can find her in the kitchen trying out a new recipe, hitting the local farmer’s market, or sampling her way through the reds and whites at the nearby wineries.