As we get closer to those big holiday meals, I find myself wondering what wines to pair with each type of recipe. Since meals vary from time of day to type of dish, I thought it’d be great to have a guide to holiday wine pairings that gives you an option for what varietal of wine pairs best with each type of dish as well as a specific brand to look for. Each of these wines is from Trader Joe’s and all under $11 per bottle – some under $6!
Holiday Wine Pairings for Every Meal
Some of the wine pairings I knew going in, but I also asked for some help and was pleasantly surprised with the help from the ‘wine guy’ on staff at Trader Joe’s. I told him what I was looking for and he directed me first to a varietal and then gave me a few suggestions in each, depending on price and flavor profile.
I don’t love anything too sweet, too dry, or too peppery, so if any of those things are your jam, then you might look for a different brand from these below. Without any further ado, here are your holiday wine pairings for every meal from brunch and starters to brisket and roast…
What Wine to Serve at Christmas Brunch?
If you’re doing a Christmas or New Year’s Brunch, there are two great options depending on what you’re having. If you’re having a savory dish, then I suggest this brunch sangria made with chardonnay, seasonal fruits, and orange juice. It’s a sweet accompaniment that’s perfect for a special brunch (or any brunch for that matter). If you’re having a sweet dish, then I’d just serve a Chardonnay – a drier, not overly sweet libation that will compliment it perfectly.
Trader Joe’s Wine to Serve at Christmas Brunch: Big Churn Chardonnay ($6.99)
Photo + Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper Quiche
What Wine to Serve With Holiday Party Appetizers
Every holiday party has small bites and appetizers. As an early part of the meal, you’ll want to start with a lighter wine. Pinot Grigio is one of my favorite wines to serve with appetizers because its bright flavor mixes well with just about anything and it’s an easy wine for people to enjoy. It’s lightly sweet but still holds its own – great with salty snacks, charcuterie, and breads!
Trader Joe’s Wine to Serve with Holiday Party Appetizers: Contadiner Vivace Pinot Grigio ($5.99)
Photo + Recipe: Charcuterie Plate w. Meat, Cheese, + Fresh/Dried Fruit
The Best Wine with Turkey/ Pork Roast or Tenderloin
Holiday wine pairings for turkey and white pork meat are likely numerous. The ways we cook turkey vary so much, I can only imagine all the possibilities.
No matter how you cook your turkey or pork roast, however, I think a Sauvignon Blanc white wine is an easy choice. This is a lighter choice for turkey or pork roast for wine lovers probably, but I also want to be cognisant that not everyone around the table will want a full-bodied wine with the meal. I don’t think you can go wrong with this selection!
Trader Joe’s Wine to Serve with Turkey: TuaTea Sauvignon Blanc ($5.99)
Photo + Recipe: Tart Cherry Cranberry Glazed Turkey
What wine goes with Christmas ham?
Oh Christmas Ham! My mom always used to make ham at Christmas even when my dad insisted on having roast or rib. Since we sometimes ended up with both for our big crowd, it was a win-win for everyone!
Ham walks a fine line between a white or red wine. You could do the Sauv Blanc if you preferred a white wine, but I would opt for the red. I tend to pick reds during colder months anyway since chilled drinks make me cold. And since this is a lighter meat, a simple Pinot Noir is the way to go.
Pinot Noirs are my go to wine since they tend to be flavorful without being overwhelming. When I don’t know the dish or haven’t tried the more intense red wine options, this is always a good call. Trader Joe’s sells a few great Pinot Noirs, but this Angeline is my recent find that’s been a repeat purchase!
Trader Joe’s Wine to Serve with Christmas Ham: Angeline Pinot Noir ($8.99)
Photo + Recipe: Bourbon Honey Glazed Ham
What wine goes with Tamales?
Living in California, I know a lot of people having tamales at Christmas. I’ve always thought it’d be fun to make tamales from scratch, though I understand it’s a time intensive process to make as many tamales as needed for a big, hungry family!
I figure every family has their own tamale recipe, so I found a tamale pie recipe for those of us who don’t. Tamale meals tend to have acidic tomato sauces and a decent amount of spice.
Whether your tamales are meat or cheese-filled, a good red wine will hold up to all that delicious flavor. My new best friend in the Trader Joe’s wine section suggested a red blend for the meal. I thought that was a great idea.
He also mentioned, before he told me not to tell too many people (oops!), that this was one of their sleeper wines that only some people know about. But he claimed it’s one of the best ones they sell. Sorry to let the cat out of the bag, but with such a fun label, it was too great on so many levels to resist!
Trader Joe’s Wine to Serve with Tamales: Jebediah Drinkwell’s Meritage Red Blend ($5.99)
Photo + Recipe: Chicken Tamale Casserole
What wine goes with Prime Rib, Roast, and Brisket
And finally. The last of these holiday wine pairings is what wine to serve with prime rib, roast, or brisket. These heartier red meat meals that are always such a treat and so delicious.
Regardless of your recipe, you’ll need a wine that can hold up to all the flavor of the red meat and any accompanying seasonings/sauces.
I’ve also found that side dishes for these meals tend to be on the heartier side too. So a Malbec wine is absolutely in order since it is a full-bodied varietal (i.e. perfect for a full-flavored meal).
Trader Joe’s Wine to Serve with Prime Rib, Roast, + Brisket: Gascón Malbec ($10.99)
Photo + Recipe: Prime Rib Recipe