It’s the holiday season, which means your diet probably resembles a cross between Buddy the Elf and Ron Swanson: candy, cookies, assorted meats, more cookies. Your go-to-light wine? With this much sugar and spice, it may no longer be the most palatable option.
So, Vogue asked distinguished wine critic Antonio Galloni all our questions about what wines work best for these last two crazy weeks of December—no matter what seasonal treats you’re scarfing down.
A good roast ham is all about playing off the tension between saltiness and sweetness. Riesling has enough vibrancy and energy to cut through the natural richness of ham. Try a bolder red, such as a Zinfandel, to bring out the lustier side of a roast.
Pinot Noir is a classic choice with turkey. Pinot’s red cherry fruit works beautifully with white meat. Captivating signatures of rose petal, tar, cherry, plum and licorice make Nebbiolo based wines from Italy’s Piedmont another excellent choice.
Bordeaux-variety wines are ideal for pairing with juicy roast beef, as they have enough depth, power and structure to match the intensity of the meat.
What type of wine would you recommend for vegans?
Winemaking can involve using small amounts of products that are from animals, including egg whites. Some winemakers skip these steps to make a purely vegan wine, often with mixed results. This champagne [below] is delicious, vegan and a good value.
Galloni’s recommendation: NV Tarlant Brut Nature Zero, Champagne, France ($45)
You’re hosting a dinner with family members with wildly different dietary preferences. What’s a crowd-pleasing wine for all involved?
Champagne is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Beyond that, California Chardonnay and red Bordeaux are classics that never go out of style.
Galloni’s recommendations: Roederer NV Brut Premier, Champagne, France ($40), NV Gosset Brut Grand Rosé, Champagne, France ($64), 2014 Walter Hansel Winery Pinot Noir The South Slope Vineyard, Sonoma, California, USA ($39), 2014 Belle-Vue, Haut Médoc, Bordeaux, France ($19)
Should you choose a different type of wine for dinner, versus a cocktail party?
For all the discussions about pairings, ultimately the perfect wine for you comes down to personal preference. You might love champagne, in which case you’re in for a treat over dinner because it works wonderfully with almost any dish and is much more than just a cocktail hour wine. You might love drinking a hearty red over dinner. There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying that at a party too.
Important: what kind of wine goes best with Christmas cookies?
Christmas cookies are sweet and spicy, so you’ll be well served to choose a wine that is itself sweet or at least rich enough to stand up to the bold seasonal flavors. Moscato d’Asti, from Italy’s Piedmont region, is a moderately sweet sparkling wine that also pairs nicely with fruit-based desserts. Sauternes is a classic that never disappoints.
Do you have any sparkling wine recommendations for New Years?
Nothing is more festive than a glass of rosé champagne to ring in the New Year.
This article was originally posted on vogue.com