With so many flavors hitting the holiday table, what's the best way to go about pairing food with wine? Which grapes are the most versatile? Eater reached out to 10 of the country's leading sommeliers and wine experts to hear what each will be drinking this year with dinner. From red to white to bubbles, below, suggestions on how to stay lubricated, in good taste.
Wine: Hudelot-Noëllat, Chambolle-Musigny, France, 2012
Bright: "I would suggest Hudelot-Noëllat Chambolle-Musigny, 2012. It’s about $60 and is one of the best values for super high quality winemaking in Burgundy. It is great with birds, root vegetables, mushrooms—any one of which you will find at any holiday party."
Wine: Delamotte Blanc de Blancs NV Champagne, France
Leopold: "This year, like every year, I’m opening a bottle of Delamotte Blanc de Blancs NV Champagne for the holidays. Delamotte is the sister house to the great Salon, both are located in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger in the Côte des Blancs, and their Blanc de Blancs is 100 percent Grand Cru Chardonnay. The minerality and purity of this wine is a great way to start the holidays, and the acidity makes it a versatile pairing for all of the assorted family dishes that usually appear. Delamotte is one of the first houses to get me excited about Champagne when I started learning about wine; now it’s still a favorite."
Wine: Dr. Von Bassermann-Jordan, Trocken Riesling, Pfalz, Germany, 2014
Spinner: "This is a very versatile bottle of Riesling. It’s very dry and has high acidity—it’s fantastic with almost everything. I pair it with our beef tartare at The Catbird Seat, but you can drink it with those heavier or lighter dishes. The acidity of the wine will cleanse your palate, making the choice perfect for any holiday gathering where there will be an assortment of offerings!"
Wine: Passopisciaro, Contrada Sciaranuova, Terre Siciliane, Italy, 2012
Mason: "At the moment, one of my favorite wines coming from Mount Etna in Sicily is the 2012 Sciaranuova from Passopisciaro. This wine reminds me of a solid premier cru red Burgundy at a much softer price point. This 100 percent Nerello Mascalese grown at over 850 meters from 80-year-old vines is a concentrated, medium-bodied, mineral-driven red that pairs well with roast turkey and cranberry sauce."
Wine: Domaine Bordenave, Cuvée des Dames, Jurançon, France 2012
Leer: "If you can stomach the notion of being labeled as 'that guy,' then bring a bottle of this Jurançon to your next holiday repast. Upon initial contact, people treat late harvest wines squeamishly. Then mountains of meats 'n' sauces drop on the table and juicy Jurancon be all #wattba! #winerave #ourwinez #hatchethall"
Wine: J.J. Prüm, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Kabinett Riesling, Mosel, Germany, 2009
Bolick: "I love Rieslings with holiday meals. A nice off-dry bottle can go with everything from roast turkey or duck to pork, ham, apples, vegetables, sweet potatoes, sausage, seafood—the list goes on and on. It may be the world’s most versatile varietal, and great bottles can be had from all over the world at very reasonable prices. Riesling’s vibrant fruit makes it approachable for beginners and its secondary and tertiary characteristics charm even the most sophisticated palates. My choice for the upcoming holidays would be a 2009 J.J. Prum 'Wehlener Sonnenuhr' Kabinett, which retails for around $45. There are, however, Rieslings to be found for less than $20 a bottle."
Wine: Ar.Pe.Pe, Sassella, "Stella Retica," Riserva, Lombardy, Italy, 2006
Porter: "Possibly the greatest producer of Nebbiolo outside of Piedmont, here the grape is known as Chiavennasca. Rustic awesomeness loaded with pure strawberry, dead roses, velvety texture, seamless balance, intoxicating fragrance; I generally beg guests to send this bottle back so I can drink the whole damn thing! Infectious because of its texture and acid, it dances with everything on the table including the tablecloth!"
Wine: Proprietà Sperino Lessona, Piedmont, Italy, 2010
Mega: "I love the elegance of Nebbiolo grown in the upper reaches of Piedmont, like the Sperino Lessona that I plan to bring to Christmas dinner this year. Winemaker Paolo De Marchi (of Tuscan Isole e Olena fame) and his son Luca craft graceful, nuanced Nebbiolo at the once abandoned estate of his grandfather in Lessona, nestled in the foothills of the Alps. Aromatic depth of Barolo meets delicate finesse of Burgundy; it’ll be a knockout along side my aunt’s prime rib roast."
Wine: Hirsch Vineyards Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, 2012
Smith: "This is an excellent Chardonnay from the famed Pinot Noir producer on the Sonoma Coast. Besides having great balance and the ability to pair with many dishes on the table, it is thoroughly delicious. This is an opportunity to access one of California’s most exclusive vineyards. It is a micro production Chardonnay that pleases new world wine lovers with its richness, and those fans of Old World wines with its precision and complexity. In addition to having the ability to pair with many dishes on the table, it is also a wine of character and one of my absolute favorites."
Wine: Chanin, Bien Nacido Vineyard, Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley, California, 2013
Peete: "To a holiday dinner I would bring Chanin Bien Nacido Vineyard Chardonnay from Santa Maria Valley, California. The 2013 has a beautiful balance of bright acidity and viscosity. This wine appeals to those looking for a crisp, citrus-driven wine, as well as to those that enjoy a rich, full-bodied style of Chardonnay. The palate is driven primarily by citrus and a touch of stone fruit as well as a distinct mineral tone that is specific to the old vines of this vineyard. I love the idea of pairing a well-made California wine with American holiday comfort food as it seems to add to the homey feel of the occasion. The winemaker, Gavin Chanin, is also one of California’s most exciting producers of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir at the moment."