Christmas Dinner Wine Pairings Made Easy

There's plenty of room for creativity when pairing wines with holiday fare. (Photo: Sandra Cunningham/Shutterstock)

At this point in the holidays, the only thing I have left to do is a little food/wine shopping. I tend to leave buying the wines for a holiday dinner to the last minute (so I don’t drink the special bottles I’ve chosen and have to go out and buy more). If you are still looking for some bottles for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinner, my recommendation this year is Bonterra’s organic or biodynamic wines. (If you don't have access to these particular wines, the pairing advice is still applicable to the wines you have on hand.)

When I started purposely buying sustainable wines, Bonterra was one of the first I discovered. One of my earliest wine recommendations here on MNN was Bonterra’s Zinfandel, made from organic grapes. I’ve been a Bonterra drinker ever since. I recently had the opportunity to attend a Bonterra wine dinner where I was introduced to the winery’s biodynamic wines, and I’m just as impressed with the biodynamic wines as I am with the company's organic wines.

Plenty of wonderfully drinkable varietals at various price points and the fact that the wines are easy to find at wine shops around the country make these wines great choices for Christmas dinner. The only decision that remains is choosing the right varietal. Here are some guidelines based on the main course that Bonterra helped me develop.

Turkey: Two of Bonterra’s organic wines come to mind for a traditional turkey dinner. The Viognier has a nice richness on the palate and fruity peach/apricot notes that would complement turkey's delicacy plus plenty of acidity to balance the gravy. On the red side, many people like Bonterra Zinfandel with a turkey dinner because all the "fixin's" have such a variety of flavors.

Lasagna: The meaty flavors in lasagna would go well with biodynamic wine The Butler, which is a Rhône-style blend: predominately Syrah with a bit of Grenache, Mourvedre and Petite Sirah. It has ripe plum and cherry with a hint of violets. For vegetarian lasagna, you can't go wrong with the Chardonnay made with organic grapes.

Roast beef: Bonterra's Biodynamic The McNab has the richness and black fruit character from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and old vine Petite Sirah that makes especially well-suited to juicy roast beef. A lower-priced option would be the Bonterra Cabernet.

Vegetarian: Bonterra Riesling is refreshing and versatile with many kinds of dishes, especially any with Asian or Indian spices like a vegetarian curry. For reds, try Bonterra Merlot, which is also flexible enough to go with anything from quinoa pilaf to enchiladas.

Ham: I didn’t get any ham recommendations from Bonterra, but several years ago I recommended Bonterra’s Viognier with my brown sugar-glazed Easter ham.

I hope these recommendations make picking wine for Christmas dinner easy for you and make your trip to the wine shop a quick one during the busy holidays.