Deck the halls with boughs of holly! The holidays are about spending time with friends and family. People gather together to celebrate the ending of one year and the beginning of the next. The fireplace is going. There’s a happy commotion in the kitchen and in the family room.
Tis the season to be jolly! One of the best parts of the holidays is eating. Don’t you just love the food around the holidays? Yeah, you might add an extra inch or two to the old waistline, but it all seems so much fun! Turkey! Ham! Roasts! Sweet potatoes! Apple and pumpkin pie! Cookies! And lots of fantastic other foods! And, of course, it’s time for a few holiday craft beverages, because nothing says special like mixing a little local into the liquid that accompanies your meal.
But sometimes it can all be so overwhelming. So many foods, so many wines. Heck, you’ll need a glass of wine just to get through it all! Forget it! You don’t need to invite a sommelier over just to get through the holidays. We’ve got everything sorted out for you right here. Here’s a little cheat sheet that will make your holidays easier to get through.
The Hudson Valley produces a great number of wines and ciders to pair with your foods. The main whites are Riesling, Traminette, Chardonnay, and Seyval Blanc. And the main reds include Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Baco Noir.
Keep your holidays sparkling...
Sparkling wines of the Hudson Valley include Brotherhood, Clinton, Hudson-Chatham, and Whitecliff.
Local sparkling hard ciders include Aaron Burr, Bad Seed, Brookview Station, Johnny Mash, Naked Flock, Orchard Hill, True Believer, and Warwick.
Holiday Shopping Tips
Lighter-styled fare usually requires more delicately styled wines, while the heavier foods get the bigger wines.
Light foods pair well with Riesling and Traminette or Pinot Noir and Baco Noir or with sparkling wine and cider.
Medium-bodied dishes usually go well with Seyval Blanc and Cabernet Franc.
Heavier repasts usually require Chardonnay, Merlot, or bigger red blends.
There is no question that for an assortment of appetizers, the best and right wine selection during the holidays is sparkling! A number of wonderful local sparkling wines exist. Another great selection might be a dry sparkling cider. You could even serve a Kir using either sparkling wine or cider with some Hudson Valley cassis thrown in to make it that much more special.
Who Makes What?
Palaia, Robibero, Tousey, Whitecliff
Baldwin, Benmarl, Brotherhood, Hudson-Chatham, Millbrook, Tousey, Whitecliff
Cascade Mountain, Clearview, Clinton, Glorie, Hudson-Chatham, Stoutridge
Brotherhood, Hudson-Chatham, Millbrook, Tousey, Whitecliff
Brimstone Hill, Benmarl, Hudson-Chatham, Warwick Valley
Benmarl, Brimstone Hill, Clearview, Glorie, Hudson-Chatham, Stoutridge Vineyard, Tousey, Warwick, Whitecliff
Benmarl, Brotherhood, Hudson-Chatham, Palaia, Stoutridge Vineyard, Whitecliff
Great Dessert Wine Producers
Baldwin, Brookview, Clinton, Hudson-Chatham, Warwick
Ham: There is nothing like a great bourbon-glazed ham for the holidays. Always a family favorite! Pinot Noir, Baco Noir, and Gamay Noir are our best local wine choices here.
Goose, Turkey, Pheasant, or Duck: Pinot Noir, Baco Noir and Gamay Noir are you best choices here as well. If you must have a white, Seyval, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Traminette will all work fabulously.
Pork Roast: This was made for Pinot Noir, Baco Noir, and Cabernet Franc!
Leg of Lamb: Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and even some of the bigger wines, such as a Cabernet Francs, are the best things to try here!
Roasts: Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and robust blends pair nicely with roasts.
Pasta Dishes: A Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or a Cabernet Franc are the options here. They can stand up to the big, spicy, or meaty sauces, but also counter the lighter sauces as well. Cabernet Franc or Baco Noir is perfect with a light marinara.
Vegetarian: This is a tough one, not knowing the dish. If it’s spicy or grilled, you might want a bigger red or a bigger white, such as a Merlot, Cabernet Franc, or Chardonnay. But if the dish is a light one and more delicate, I would recommend Pinot Noir, Baco Noir, Gamay Noir, Riesling, or Traminette.
Desserts: Pumpkin Pie deserves a lovely white dessert wine, or an apple dessert wine. On the other hand, a pecan pie deserves some local Hudson Valley bourbon.
We Three Kings of Orient Are! Some folks go the other way during the holiday, eschewing more famous seasonal foods and indulging in more exotic cuisine. Chinese, Thai, Indian and Japanese are becoming more and more part of the holiday experience. In most cases, the easy rule above applies. However, it must be said that Riesling and Traminette seem to be able to pair almost universally with most dishes from these rich culinary traditions, especially since they have such wonderful, complex flavors. Rieslings and Traminette are an almost surefire bet and will be a fabulous addition to your holiday repast.
Cheese Course: The Hudson Valley makes some of the best cheeses in North America. And there are a ton of wines to try with them. Lovely Rieslings and Traminettes and Chardonnays go beautifully. I also like Pinot Noirs and Baco Noirs for those as well. Unless you have a big, hard, crusty wedge of Parmigiano—then you need a Merlot or a Cabernet Franc. For a nice change of pace, you could try some great Hudson Valley hard ciders or one of the beautiful dessert wines of the valley, like cassis or raspberry wines; any of these are a nice little sweet touch if you are offering a cheese course after one of your celebratory meals.