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3 Holiday Food and Wine Pairings for Sparkling Wine

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When it comes to prepping your holiday menu, sometimes finding a wine that pairs well with everything can be challenging because there’s such a wide variety of foods on the table. The good news is that sparkling wine pairs well with a variety of dishes, especially some of the decadent ones you might have in your spread. Keep reading for some fun, bubbly wine pairings that you can bring to the table this holiday season.

Sparkling rosé holiday food pairings

First up, we have sparkling rosé. This is a fun one because you can find a sparkling rosé from just about anywhere now. Prosecco DOC recently released rosé Prosecco, there is rosé Champagne, and of course sparkling rose from California and other regions around the world. Most commonly, sparkling rosé tends to be fruit forward giving off notes of red fruits and citrus like cranberry, pomegranate, and lemon. Those bright fruit notes make this wine easy and fun to pair with different dishes – for example, summer BBQ staples and sweet holiday favorites.

For a starter, try a cranberry and goat cheese crostini. This recipe is super simple and you can totally make it your own. I like to start with a fresh baguette, but you can use the store bought crostini too. Start by cutting the bread into small pieces, drizzle some olive oil on top, and broil in the oven until the pieces are golden brown. While they’re warm, top with goat cheese and cranberry sauce. To make it extra sweet, drizzle some honey in a decorative zigzag pattern. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

There’s nothing more traditional than a glazed ham as the main holiday entrée. My mom always made the most incredible ham with a sweet orange glaze. This is my first time hosting Christmas and I will be using this glazed ham recipe I found. The saltiness from the ham really brings out those fruity notes in the sparkling rosé, while the orange glaze is matched by that citric acidity and effervescence.

Holiday food and wine pairings for Champagne

When you’re in doubt about what to serve for the holidays, you can never go wrong with serving Champagne. There is something so festive about pulling out a classic Champagne with a multitude of flavors and fine bubbles. Since Champagne can be complex and pronounced, it only makes sense to pair it with a flavorful and rich dish.

photo by carolyn pifer

One of my favorite appetizers is baked brie! I recently made this delicious blackberry baked brie which is always a crowd pleaser. The puffed pastry matches the complexity of Champagne’s biscuit and bread notes, while the fine bubbles and bright acidity cuts through the creamy brie.

Let’s be honest, no holiday dinner is complete without some kind of potato dish. I love a good mashed potato, but when I’m really in the mood for extra cream and cheese (which happens often) a go-to side dish of mine is potatoes au gratin. Serving this warm dish with a chilled glass of Champagne is truly harmonious. Dishes that are creamy, cheesy and fatty pair well with Champagne because champagne is complex enough to stand up to it.

Image by Carolyn Pifer. Try Carolyn's go-to blackberry baked brie and potatoes au gratin recipes.

Sekt holiday food and wine pairings

Last on our list of holiday food and wine pairings is Sekt and dessert – plus bacon-wrapped dates, too. Sekt is less popular than Champagne or sparkling rosé, so if you want to impress your guests during the holidays, try and get your hands on a bottle. You can find Sekt from Germany or Austria with a range of sweetness and quality levels. In Germany, Sekt is primarily made from Riesling and German Sekt b.A. or Winzersekt are the highest quality levels and both are done in the traditional method. In Austria, the primary grape used is Grüner Vetliner and Sekt Reserve is aged on the lees and also done in the traditional method.

Sekt pairs great with sweet treats and, luckily, we can’t celebrate the holidays without dessert. Sugar cookies or Italian lemon drops are a great match for Sekt. If you opt for a traditional method, the brioche and bread notes, bright citrus flavors and fine bubbles complement these traditional holiday cookies..

A really fun appetizer to serve is bacon wrapped dates. Since this dish is a little fattier and sweet, I love pairing it with a nicely chilled Sekt with acidity that can stand up to the richness of the bacon and match the sweetness of the date.

Carolyn Pifer was born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota and grew up with parents that loved wine, sparking her curiosity at a young age. After attending college at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, studying abroad in Italy, then working in event design in Los Angeles, Carolyn moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, and completed her WSET courses 1-3. On The American Wine Girl, she inspires millennials and those just coming of drinking age to drink good wine on a budget. Follow her on Instagram, @americanwinegirl.