On the days after Thanksgiving, we find ourselves in the run-up to New Year’s Eve with some yuletide in between. After seamlessly pairing wine with the cornucopia of Thanksgiving flavors (because you read VinePair and are dialed in), after you’ve impressed friends and family alike with skills as smooth as your silky homemade cheddar mashed potatoes, and as we say goodbye to the height of pumpkin spice season (VinePair CEO Adam Teeter’s favorite time of year), it’s time to think about snacks.
Sure, there are holiday-time dinners, but they don’t really have the same focus revolving around that one meal on the last Thursday in November. Everyone has their individual traditions during this time of year. I feel like the focus during this time of year is all things sweet: chocolate, kugel, boozy fruit cakes, jelly-filled donuts, and that one dessert your family makes every year around this time that has been handed down through the generations (my Italian side makes a plethora of holiday cookies … FUHGETTABOUTIT).
Usually, we are all over the place between turkey and “Auld Lang Syne” — hopping from one event to the next. Maybe we host a party or two, but definitely with wine and homemade pastries or party mix in tow. This year, it seems like Thanksgiving was our trial run. We all figured out how to do this thing online and are ready for a very Zoom-y or podded continuation of the holidays.
So what wine makes sense for this time of year with all the sweets and savory snacks? BUBBS! Whether you’re splurging from France’s Champagne region, keeping it local with an American Sparkler (still want this to be a thing … DM’s are open), or drinking Prosecco all day (Mimosas for breakfast, Bellinis for lunch, and straight-up in a flute for dinner), there is a bubbly that will not only match the snacks, but even the more savory side of this time of year — whether it’s brisket, duck, more turkey, latkes, roasted veggies, or salty ham.
Sparkling wine heightens our perception of acidity due to the persistent bubbles.These often-tart wines are also touched up with some kind of sweet depth, giving sparkling wines a diverse pairing benefit. They can hold up to all the sugary, acidic sauces as well as any snack tinged with citrus peel. Rather than amplify, they accompany chocolate confections (I love bubbs with buckeyes … I’m also half hillbilly), and they complement any fried or baked food.
Below are some bottles I have come across lately that will help you ring it all in.
The soft, persistent bubbles, as well as the subtle aromas of honey and fresh-sliced pears, are comforting. This wine has a slight depth to it that is unique. This is not a Prosecco I would normally mix with peaches and OJ, but during the holidays, it’s time to level up. #feelme?
Case-buy alert! This is a great, low-priced bubbly. It’s very easy to sip, with soft bubbles and tart fruit that is tempered with a slight kiss of sweetness. It goes down easy and is a great match for anything fried.
This is such a balanced and beautiful American Sparkler. It has a soft, creamy mouthfeel, with a weight that is just right on the palate. It has a nice, subtle fruit that is tart and round at the same time. This is awesome on its own or with a cheese course.
This is not your grandparents’ Lambrusco. This is a bright, refreshing bubbly. It edges on sweet, but is balanced out by a subtle whiff of herbs and lean white pepper. This is a great wine for lazy lunches of leftovers, cozied up on snowy days.
As Champagne is the primary go-to this time of year, I thought it would make sense to mention two wines from the region at two different price points ($45 and $59, respectively). This Cuvée Brut has soft bubbles swimming among tart fruit, balanced by a touch of sweetness. There’s a comfy roundness on the palate that makes it very crowd- (or Zoom mosaic view) pleasing.
This is a classic style of the more focused wines of Champagne, but still not crazy on price. It’s deep and rich on the palate, and smells like fresh bread and baked apples. It has such persistent bubbles, it’s almost angular, and it has a structure that it can hold up to meat dishes, as well as the more casual sweet or savory snack.