Pairing American Sparkling Wine
with Food for the Holidays
This Holiday season treat yourself to American Sparkling wines. As we discovered in preparing our upcoming 52nd report American Sparkling Wine, American sparklers have come of age. At no time in the history of American wine have there been so many skilled winemakers producing elegant sparkling wines inspired by the rich fruit of the New World and the exciting cuisine that is being prepared across the country.
Sparkling wines are among the most versatile of wines offering dry, high acid, and lively mouth filling flavors to accompany food. Moreover, many of the top cuveés and older vintage sparkers provide rich textures and complex flavors that are most enjoyable with intensely flavored dishes. American sparkling wines are generally more fruity than Champagne and thus pair best with dishes that are themselves bold and flavorful such as those served with turkey on Thanksgiving. But there are also many other occasions for enjoying American Sparkling wine throughout the year.
In the following table, we offer recommendations on pairing a variety of sparkling wines with different dishes ranging from Hors d’ ouvres to desert and cheese. The list includes both simple and complex dishes, both American and international. In general, dishes which have relatively simple flavors, such as eggs, are best paired with Brut Nature, Blanc de Blancs, and Brut. The more complex dishes require sparkling wines that are themselves complex, such as Prestige Cuvées which spend at least five years on the lees and exhibit hints of oak and oxidative notes. Dry rosés generally pair well with meat dishes like venison or roast duck, while the sweeter styles work well with creamy cheeses, fruits and wedding cake.
Readers are urged to experiment with the pairing of different styles of sparkling wine in order to identify those which best suite their palates. Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners offer especially attractive opportunities for pairing American Sparkling Wine and food. We can’t imagine having Thanksgiving turkey or ham without American Sparkling Wine!
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler