Festive Wines

Christmas, Christmas, Christmas! The marathon of lunches and dinners starts here and ends with New Year's greetings. And if you too have been 'volunteered' into the ranks in the kitchen, you know that choosing the right wine is a decision that must be taken with care and attention. There are many factors to consider, such as the basic ingredient of the dish, the type of seasoning, the spiciness and, last but not least, the guests' tastes. And if during the festive season anything goes, from a traditional recipe to something more original, it is also true that the wine pairing is often a delicate matter.

Here are a few ideas to inspire you for your festive table. From aperitif to dessert, here you will find dishes as well as our tips for perfect pairings.

Let's get started!

 

Aperitifs and appetisers: let the games begin

First impressions are always important: the aperitif and starter pave the way for the success of what comes next, so choosing the right combination is extremely important (as well as satisfying). If you are going for a traditional menu, there is nothing better than starting with a classic Prosecco DOC, the bubbly par excellence of Venetian tradition. Thanks to its pleasantly crisp, harmonious and delicate flavour, it will be the king of the aperitifs. If your starters include canapés, vegetarian dishes, fresh cheeses and, in general, lighter recipes, then you can opt for a Rosé Millesimato: hints of currants and raspberries, combined with a fine and persistent perlage, characterise this highly refined and elegant bubbly.

 

First courses: three suggestions for guaranteed success

The first courses are the official starting point for lunch and dinner. We recommend three great classics that are always popular and will guarantee success with all your guests.

Our first suggestion is the obligatory lasagne, an elaborate and tasty first course, the pride of Emilian and Bolognese cuisine. And staying in that area, accompany them with a good Lambrusco, with soft tannins and a pleasantly fruity aroma.

Another typical dish for a festive table is cannelloni stuffed with ricotta and spinach. In this case, a soft white wine with good alcohol content, such as a Fiano, is called for. Its intense floral and fruity aromas are just what is needed to enhance the rich flavour of this dish.

If you love risotto, a tasty sauce with sausage and mushrooms always pleases. Try it with a Barbera d'Asti, a structured and decisive red wine, with well-presented tannins, able to clean the palate after the fattiness of the dish.

 

Main course: red or white?

Second courses are also played out to the last bite. As a general rule, a red wine should be paired with a meat-based menu and a white wine with fish or lighter, vegetable-based dishes.

With roast veal, for example, try a fruity Cabernet Sauvignon or a clean, light Bonarda dell'Oltrepò. If, on the other hand, you are planning a tasty stew, then go for an intense and complex wine such as Barolo.

For a traditional Mediterranean seafood dish, such as octopus with potatoes or scallops au gratin, try a delicate and pleasant white wine such as Pinot Grigio, capable of accompanying the dish without overpowering the flavours.

Desserts, from Pandoro to Panettone

And you've reached the grand finale! Whether you are a lover of Milanese Panettone or a big fan of Pandoro, look to Dry or Extra Dry sparkling wines for your pairing, i.e. those with a higher residual sugar than their Brut and Extra Brut versions. In this case "sweet calls for sweet": an excessively fresh bubbly would create a contrast that is not particularly pleasant on the palate. Our advice? A Spumante Blanc de Blancs Dry, soft and well-structured (especially necessary when accompanying your slice of pandoro with the classic mascarpone cream!).

 

But to really round off a meal like a king, the digestive liqueur is one of Italy's favourite rituals. Time for limoncello, grappa or bitters: you know you need them, especially after the festive binge...