The Christmas Dinner Wine Guide

Dec 06, 2010, 05:10 ET from Kenwood Vineyards

KENWOOD, Calif., Dec. 6, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Christmas will soon be here and – as always – Christmas dinner will be a highlight of the day. Whether your tradition is a casual buffet or a sit-down feast, selecting and serving wines to complement Christmas dinner need not be daunting. A bit of guidance and your own good taste will lead you to wines sure to make the meal memorable.

First, relax. Picking wines to accompany a meal – even Christmas dinner – is a straightforward process. Take comfort in knowing that terrific wines to go with your Christmas dinner are available in every price range and the most satisfying matches often can be found among popular, well priced labels like Kenwood Vineyards.

Second, consider the main course. The best way to assure a delicious pairing is to choose a wine that matches the flavor intensity of the food it will accompany. For example, robust Christmas main courses like roast beef, prime rib and leg of lamb pair beautifully with bold, flavorful red wines such as Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon or Kenwood Vineyards Jack London Vineyard Syrah. In contrast, the mild flavor of roast turkey finds a perfect match in elegant, fruit-forward wines like Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Chardonnay or Kenwood Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Roast goose – a Christmas tradition in Great Britain and increasingly popular here – strikes a happy medium in terms of flavor intensity, as does roast duck, and both find tasty partners in smooth, medium-bodied red wines such as Kenwood Sonoma County Zinfandel or Kenwood Sonoma County Merlot. Baked ham is an unusual challenge, combining mild flavor with saltiness from the curing process and – typically – sweetness from the glaze; here again a fine Pinot Noir like the Kenwood Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir works well, complementing the flavor and sweetness without overwhelming them. Salmon – either roasted or poached – is rapidly becoming a new Christmas favorite, one that pairs nicely with the distinctive character and crisp, dry finish of a Sauvignon Blanc such as Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc.

Third, remember that Christmas dinner is more than just the main course. Hors d'oeuvres, soup, salads, vegetables, stuffing, casseroles, cranberry sauce and more may be on the Christmas dinner menu, and asking one wine to pair with everything is asking a lot. So serve two wines; one to pair with the main course and a second to pair with everything else. The key to this approach is a versatile, easy-drinking second wine such as Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County or Jack London Vineyard Merlot, Kenwood Sonoma County Pinot Noir, Kenwood Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc or – for those who want something different – Kenwood Sonoma County Pinot Gris. If the main course is paired with a red wine, the second wine should probably be a white wine and vise versa; it's the best way to assure all your wine loving guests will have their preferences met.

Fourth, allow the wines to show their best by serving them at appropriate temperatures. Red wine should be served at a cool room temperature.  White wine should be served chilled, but not ice cold; about 45 minutes in the refrigerator prior to serving should be about right.

Lastly, enjoy. It's Christmas!

Celebrate responsibly.

SOURCE Kenwood Vineyards