Winter Wine Pairings With Easy Appetizers and Meals

Comfort food cravings, rich and hearty meals, warm snack foods – eating in winter takes a turn from the lighter fare of summer. But that doesn't mean that you can't still enjoy a nice glass of wine with easy appetizers and simple winter meals this season.

Typically white wines evoke notions of light, crisp foods. Yes, they are best when served with certain dishes but there are winter recipes that will bring out the best in a Pinot Gris, a Chardonnay, or even the lighter reds. Pairing wines with winter food is fun. We considered some of our own favorites and found some ideas to help you prepare some easy appetizers and meals for pairing with the right wines.

Comfort food is a winter staple. Love being wrapped in the gooey goodness of mac-n-cheese? Have a glass of buttery Chardonnay or a clean tasting Chenin Blanc. Both are good with any cheesy dish, so go ahead and have some with easy appetizers like cheese dips too. Or try this recipe for fried ravioli with a glass of Lambrusco, a red Italian wine best served young.

  • 1 bag frozen ravioli
  • 2 eggs
  • Seasoned bread crumbs
  • Canola oil
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce (optional)

Wine-Pairings.pngOver medium heat, warm about an inch of canola oil in a shallow frying pan. Meanwhile, beat 2 eggs on a plate and sprinkle a layer of bread crumbs on another plate. Coat raviolis on both sides with egg, then breadcrumbs. Gently place in hot oil and flip when edges turn golden brown. When both sides are golden brown, remove from pan and drain on paper-towel lined plate. Serve with tomato sauce for dipping and sip on Lambrusco.

Palate Press recommends the following matches to maximize your comfort- food experience.

  • Meatloaf with Bordeaux Superieur
  • Beef Stew and Cotes Du Rhone
  • Braised Short Ribs paired with Rioja Crianza
  • Hamburgers with Zinfandel
  • Roasted Chicken and Pinot Noir
  • Mashed Potatoes served with any red or an un-oaked Chardonnay

One thing you'll find in abundance in the winter are root vegetables. Try this dish of Honey Roasted Root Vegetables from My Recipes, paired with a Viognier, a rich creamy wine with crisp fruit flavors.

  • 2 cups coarsely chopped peeled sweet potato
  • 1 ½ cups coarsely chopped peeled turnip
  • 1 ½ cups coarsely chopped parsnip
  • 1 ½ cups coarsely chopped carrot
  • ¼ cup tupelo honey
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 shallots, halved
  • cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Combine all ingredients (except cooking spray) in a large bowl; toss to coat. Place veggie mixture on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450 for 35 minutes or until vegetables are tender and begin to brown, stirring every 15 minutes.

So don't think that wines should be reserved for fine meals, go ahead and pair one with the goodness of winter comfort foods and easy appetizers and feel wrapped in the warmth.


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