This article is contributed by Gregory Dal Piaz of During the holidays, many of us have family traditions when it comes to decorating, celebrating and, of course, eating. Every family has their own unique holiday routine which could include anything from a smoked ham to a roasted pheasant. But no matter what goes on your holiday table, there’s a wine out there that goes with it.

Smoked Ham

photo by Food & Fire
A smoked ham might be the most traditional of all Christmas entrees. Since a sweet coating, like honey or cherry and pomegranate, usually accompanies the ham, wines with smokiness or oak aging would be a good complement.

Try Syrah, a traditional pairing for baked ham or a Grenache which has a sweet fruit flavor that will work with a glazed ham.

Two to try:

  Roast Beef

Photo by Canadian Beef via Flickr

Whether a prime rib eye of round or rump roast, the common theme of soft texture and intense beef flavors are the hallmarks of roast beef. The wine you choose to pair with this dish should mirror those characteristics as best as possible.

The texture calls for mature wine or one with naturally moderate tannins, such as Zinfandel or Italy’s Negroamaro. These wines are all also fairly rich, like roast beef.

Two to try:

  Roast Goose

Photo by jayneandd via Flickr

Roast goose is a traditional holiday dish that is often a great partner for wine. But the pairing can depend as much on the stuffing and sauce as it does on the goose. One thing is for sure, this bird is richer and more flavorful than your typical turkey, so try and find a rich and flavorful wine to match.

Chardonnay, especially a white Burgundy or a Pinot Gris, from Alsace, France would both work well.

Two to try:

  Roast Duck

Photo by Mark's Daily Apple

Roast duck is a good dish for a small gathering. It takes very well to fruity glazes and marinades, making it a happy match for fruitier wines. Since duck can be fatty, the best pairing will be with a wine that combines fruit with acidity.

Cabernet Franc definitely has this balance. Another solid fit would be a California Pinot Noir.

Two to try:

  Pork Tenderloin

Photo by ugod via Flickr

Pork tenderloin can be looked at a bit like a blank slate. Keeping the other flavors on the table light and fresh makes it easier to pair a complementary wine.

Once again, you can’t go wrong with Pinot Gris, which is both fruity and spicy. In addition, Teroldego, a red wine from Northern Italy, has a lovely combo of wild berry and spice.

Two to try:

Find more great articles and resources on Snooth!

Feature photo: Oakland Magazine

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