You know what you're grilling for Christmas dinner. Now all you need are the perfect wines to pair with it. Wine doesn't just make your guests merrier-- it can also highlight the flavors featured in your dinner. So here it is: your pairing guide from appetizers to desserts, featuring wonderful German and Austrian wines picked especially by the Wilde Grilling Team.
WINE PAIRINGS FOR APPETIZERS Your guests will undoubtedly be amazed with your Christmas dinner. But to kick things off right, you'll want to start with a perfect appetizer. Any wine pairs well with Otto’s homemade dry-aged beef— a sure way to impress your guests. Prepare early, as dry-aged beef needs some time before it can be served — check out Otto’s guide for dry-aging beef at home.
Lobster tails + Sekt Start your holiday menu right with grilled lobster tails. Lobster from the grill topped with a garlic butter sauce is a pleasant surprise to starts any dinner party. This delicious dish only deserves the best pairing, and only a dry yet fruity sparkling wine (or Sekt trocken) will do. If you really want to impress your guests, a sparkling rose not only looks attractive in a flute but tastes just as celebratory. Serve them some succulent lobster tails with this festive wine to match.
Lamb filet + Merlot Not your typical cut of meat, lamb filet, especially mouflon lamb, brings a unique flavor to whet the appetites of your guests. A classic, rich, full-bodied and fruity yet peppery wine like Merlot cuts through the gamey flavors of lamb and brings out its juicy tenderness. The ideal wine for making a bordelaise red-wine sauce, instead of serving a saucy starter, serve this tasty lamb filet hot off the grill with a nicely paired glass of Merlot. And, yes, Germany does grow Merlot – quite well, in fact!
WINE PAIRINGS FOR FESTIVE SIDES OR SECOND COURSES Whether you will be plating your Christmas dinner for your guests or letting everyone serve themselves, a perfect pairing can bring out the hidden flavors of terroir in the food and the wine.
Fresh holiday salad with pomegranates and toasted pine nuts + Sylvaner With a fresh holiday salad, both toasty and sweet, a white wine with a well-rounded body, not too sweet and not too tart, will meld the flavors together and cut through any vinaigrette dressing for a balanced finish on the palate. That's why a German Sylvaner, quite like a French Alsace, will balance the many flavors of this fresh holiday mixed salad with pomegranates and toasted pine nuts.
Grilled fennel and butternut squash + Riesling The earthy, spiced flavors of fennel are caramelized with a bit of sweet glaze from being grilled – the Maillard reaction. Served with mashed butternut squash, a beautiful and dry Pfalz Riesling helps to bring out the sweet and herbaceous flavors of this grilled fennel and mashed squash dish.
Chanterelles and potato dumplings + Spätburgunder A holiday meal is always a bit more special with a side of mushrooms, and especially so with tender, sought-after chanterelle mushrooms. Potato dumplings are always an easy way to ensure no one leaves your table hungry, and a wonderous German wine to pair with the both of them is a regional Spätburgunder, a lighter yet fruity red wine full of red berry and currant flavors. This wine tastes just like the holidays and is exactly right for chanterelles and potato dumplings.
CHRISTMAS DINNER WINE PAIRINGS Drum roll please…..It's time for main meal – what everyone has been waiting for! Keep them impressed with a wonderful bouquet of perfectly paired reds and whites. These German and Austrian wine picks are quintessentially festive, embodying traditional holiday spices and thirst-quenching flavors.
Chateaubriand filet steaks + Beaujolais/ Zweigelt Bringing a fancy French steak to the table? You'll need the perfect wine to complement its tender flavors. Typically, the French might choose a newly released Beaujolais, bottled just in November, for its unparalleled softness. The Austrian favorite Zweigelt is also easy-drinking, but offers a bit more of a tannin structure, making it perfect for anything off the grill. It has lovely violets and baking spices in its punch-like profile and complements a fine chateaubriand steak.
Seared salmon + Grüner Vetliner Having fish this year? A delicious seared salmon steak will make any guest's mouth water, especially with the right Grüner Vetliner. This beautiful wine is full of tart apples, fennel spice, and tropical fruits. With a grilled salmon steak, the juicy tender meat is met with the slightly sweet and earthy flavors of this beloved wine.
Christmas goose and red cabbage + Blaufränkisch If you’ve chosen the traditional Christmas goose and red cabbage, you might want to go for the traditional Christmas red. A big and complex Austrian/German wine, the Blaufränkish has the flavor of dark fruits, such as cherry and currant, as well as woodiness to give a nice acidity and prominent tannins. A beautiful mouthfeel with the sweetness of red cabbage and the crispy tenderness of a Christmas goose leg.
HOLIDAY DESSERTS AND GERMAN WINE The finale of the dinner – the crème de la crème – the dessert. This is an important part of the holiday menu; it's the round-up of the whole night where guests expect sweetness and satisfaction. Two of our favorite desserts, made in the 1500°F steak grill, pair nicely with two well-loved German wines, one red and one white, to complete your Christmas feast.
Christmas crème brûlée + Gewürztraminer This dessert takes a creamy custard and sweetens it with grilled, caramelized sugar on top. With all its Christmas spices, it truly embodies the holiday. There's no better wine for this dessert than a light but spicy white wine like Gewürztraminer. With a note of lychee and undertones of ginger and rose, this is a bouquet of beautifully light flavors with low acidity that creates a symphony when paired with your Christmas spiced crème brûlée.
Chocolate lava cake + Pinot Noir A dessert so chocolatey, dark, and velvety calls for a wine that cuts through the richness and finishes even more delightfully. A Pinot Noir offers a pleasant mouthfeel, coating your taste buds with bright fruits and a tiny undertone of tobacco. Nothing goes better with a gooey chocolate lava cake.