Best Holiday Wine Pairings and For Special Occasions

woman holding a champagne flute, as in a celebration for parking the best russian river wines from Bricoleur Vineyards

As temperatures cool and days shorten, you can’t help but feel the charm of the holidays and end-of-year season brighten daily life.

Anticipating a bright finale to this year, we’ve put together some thoughtful pairings for classic Christmas, New Years, and other holiday dishes from our growing collection of family wines.

And more than that, we’ll go over why these pairings work, so that regardless of your family traditions, you can make these wine pairings feel right at home with a variety of dishes.

The Versatile Russian River Sauvignon Blanc

2022 Kick Ranch Sauvignon Blanc

Bricoleur Vineyards 2022 Kick Ranch Sauvignon Blanc

The Experience

This vintage of our estate Sauvignon Blanc has a lively, tangy acidity blossoming into fresh tropical notes of passionfruit and honeydew rind, underlined by lime zest. These aspects are especially prominent due to night harvesting, which preserves acidity and aromatics.

Pairing Principles

Sauvignon Blanc works well with a range of dishes, as its fresh acidity makes the wine extremely flexible. It works particularly well with vegetable dishes, even difficult to pair veggies like Brussels Sprouts.

Green bean casserole, especially with a cheddar or mushroom base, or a cozy spinach and mushroom quiche pairs well with this wine, as the acidity brightens the vegetal nature of the dish, and the dish makes the guava notes on the palate and tropical aromatics pop in contrast.

Other Pairing Ideas

Try this Sauvignon Blanc with spinach and artichoke dip, a perfect balance of vegetal, rich and creamy against the tropical acidity of the wine.

Friendly Siblings: Oaked and Unoaked Russian River Chardonnay

2022 Chardonnay vs. 2022 Unoaked Chardonnay

Bricoleur Vineyards 2022 Chardonnay

The Experience

Two distinct styles of Chardonnay offer your holiday feasting two delightfully different routes for wine pairing.

The first, our 2022 Chardonnay, aged in French Oak in classic Napa style, is creamy yet elegant, with notes of apple, pear, and wood spice that nicely highlights the silky body of the wine.

Our 2022 Unoaked Chardonnay, on the other hand, lacks the spice and slight wood char notes. Instead, it’s full of lemon blossom and freshly cut pear on the nose, and ripe honeydew on the palate, with an overall crisp freshness balanced by a soft mouthfeel.

Pairing Principles

Both Chardonnays will go well with classic holiday dishes like scalloped potatoes, mashed potatoes, or even sweet potato casserole.

The Oaked Chardonnay will match the creamy, buttery nature of the potato dishes, adding a little of its own spice to the mix of white or black pepper in each dish.

Our Unoaked Chardonnay acts as a mirror for these rich potato dishes. Its bright, balanced acidity underlines the creaminess of each dish, also showcasing its own fruit notes as a nice counterpoint to the creamy part of the meal.

Other Pairing Ideas

Both Chardonnays pair well, with similar dynamics, to Honey Baked Ham, Turkey (if you’re settling in for round two after Thanksgiving!), or a classic Paella Mixta with plenty of seafood.

A Rare Force from a Prime Zinfandel AVA: Rockpile Russian River Zinfandel

2021 Rockpile Zinfandel

Bricoleur Vineyards 2021 Rockpile Zinfandel

The Experience

We’re very excited to include our recently released, first vintage of Bricoleur’s Rockpile Zinfandel (also available in a magnum!).

The Rockpile AVA produces Zinfandel of rare concentration and complexity – some of the best in Northern California. This Zin is among those great examples, with a nose of blueberry compote, light-roast coffee, chocolate, and hints of shitake mushroom.

Pairing Principles

Pork tenderloin medallions would go well with this expressive Zinfandel, since it’s a leaner, milder dish with moderate richness that matches the balanced, moderate acidity, body, and integrated tannins of the wine.

Any glaze should also be moderate, milder both in any sweetness or herbal notes, making it a nice complement to the rich black and blue fruits of the wine on the palate.

Other Pairing Ideas

This would also do well with a savory, slow-roasted or grilled rack of lamb, or a Crimini mushroom, Kalamata olive, and feta pizza. 

The Prince of Red Wine Pairing for Holidays: Pinot Noir

2021 Pinot Noir

Bricoleur Vineyards 2021 Pinot Noir

The Experience

Our 2021 Pinot Noir is a classic example of the greatness of Russian River Pinot Noir: full-bodied and complex, yet enticingly elegant, with moderately high, mature acidity and integrated tannins.

And that’s nothing to say of the concentrated fruit character of the wine: raspberry, cherry, and hints of thyme and white pepper on the nose, and black cherry, plum, and cranberry brushed with vanilla and baking spices, all tied together harmoniously with each lingering sip.

Pairing Principles

A centerpiece honey-baked ham is a welcome companion to this wine. The wine’s rare, expressive fruit character, coupled with its full body and deceptively structured (yet smooth) tannins, will be tempered by the sweetness in the glaze and the richness of the ham, but not too much.

Other Pairing Ideas

This wine would pair well with a beef tenderloin roast also; our 2021 Founder’s Block Pinot Noir would also be a great alternative Pinot Noir option, as it’s a more dynamic, bold wine with snappy energy and grippy tannins, full of red fruit and cinnamon nuances.

For a showstopper meal on a special occasion, consider boeuf bourguignon, which will require a fair amount of wine to braise the beef – to make up for that sacrifice, our 2021 Pinot Noir Special Selection is a great companion (in the glass!) for this more elegant meal, with more ripe red and black fruit interspersed with notes of malted black tea and baking spices.

The Best Russian River Sparkling Wine (Makes the Best Celebrations!)

North Coast Brut

Bricoleur Vineyards North Coast Brut, Flying by the Seat of Our Pants

The Experience

Special occasions, holidays, New Years Eve all call for celebratory bubbly – the pop of a cork, the fizz of a full glass somehow make a grand time even livelier.

Our North Coast Brut is creamy, rich, and complex; but it’s balanced by a sharp acidity, notes of citrus blossom and berry on the nose, and effervescent guava and mango that linger with a refreshing finish.

Pairing Principles

This is a very expressive wine, great for a special occasion or an intimate, homey dinner – subtle yet bold, it matches with very complex dishes to simple fare.

It’s surprisingly good with a fattier steak like a ribeye or New York Stip steak, as the mature acidity cuts through the rich meat.

Other Pairing Ideas

Roast chicken, fried chicken, or mac and cheese (not too sharp of a cheese, though) can be great options for alternate pairings.

Or, try it with a mixer for holiday mimosas, such as our Cucumber Mint Sauvignon Blanc Spritz.

For parties, collecting, or just for fun, check out our North Coast Brut Magnum, a larger bottle containing the volume of two bottles of wine – an impressive friend for any occasion.

Festive Feasting with the Best Russian River Valley Wines

a holiday dinner set on a festive table, as with Bricoleur Vineyards and Russian River wine and food pairing

Wine makes any occasion all the more special – especially when it’s paired well with food. A nice holiday becomes a memorable one with every balanced sip from our rare suite of Russian River Valley wines.

Don’t forget to put your holiday orders in soon – the end of the year will be here before you know it! Be sure to peruse our holiday gifting guide, or visit our wine shop.

P.S. – Our Cabernet Sauvignon, available in a magnum format is  great as a gift for collectors, or just for a wonderful occasion with a rare wine. Be sure to check out this limited release wine sooner than later!

Frequently Asked Questions For Holiday Wine Pairing

What holiday dishes pair well with Sauvignon Blanc?

Sauvignon Blanc, like the 2022 Kick Ranch, complements vegetable-based dishes, especially those with a creamy or cheesy base like green bean casserole or spinach quiche.

Which holiday meals are best paired with Chardonnay?

Both oaked and unoaked Chardonnay pair nicely with creamy holiday dishes such as scalloped potatoes, mashed potatoes, and sweet potato casserole.

Can Zinfandel be paired with holiday feasts?

Yes, Zinfandel, like the 2021 Rockpile Zinfandel, is suitable for savory dishes like pork tenderloin, roasted lamb, or a mushroom and olive pizza.

What are ideal pairings for Pinot Noir during the holidays?

Pinot Noir, such as the 2021 version, is great with sweet-glazed dishes like honey-baked ham, as well as rich meals like beef tenderloin roast and boeuf bourguignon.

How does sparkling wine enhance holiday celebrations?

Sparkling wines like North Coast Brut are great for special occasions and pair well with rich meats, roast chicken, and creamy dishes.

Which wines are versatile for various holiday dishes?

Russian River Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are versatile, pairing well with vegetable dishes, creamy casseroles, honey-baked ham, and beef tenderloin.

What wines pair well with both turkey and ham?

Oaked and Unoaked Chardonnay are good choices for both turkey and ham, complementing their creamy and sweet flavors.

Can the same wine be used for cooking and pairing?

Yes, using the same wine for cooking and pairing, like Pinot Noir in boeuf bourguignon, creates a harmonious flavor experience.

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