Contrary to popular belief, white wine pairs well with meat and cheese. Its fruitiness and acidity balance a mix of textures and salty flavors better than most reds.
Try This: Affinitás 2018 Tokaji Dry Furmint, Hungary
Furmint grapes, often used in Hungarian dessert wine, also produce a dry, crisp style with notes of pineapple, minerals, and a touch of spice. This pairs well with salty, spicy, and earthy flavors.
Where to find it: The Wine Vault, $20.99
This entrée is a marriage of sweet and savory, so you’ll need a wine that doesn’t get lost in those flavors.
Try This: Roland Minkowitsch 2019 Grüner Veltliner, Austria
Creamy and silky, this wine has a bouquet of pear, apple, and white pepper. Where some Grüners are so light you don’t notice them, this wine has enough body to stand up to the ham.
Where to find it: Bond Street Wines, $19.99
Or this: Varvaglione 2017 Papale Primitivo di Manduria, Italy
This Italian red balances bold fruit with complex, savory notes of walnuts and spice. It’s soft enough to be your glazed ham’s “plus one,” but bold enough to dance with the flavors of the dish.
Where to find it: Reid’s Fine Foods, $35
Try This: Rossidi 2012 Nikolaevo Chardonnay, Bulgaria
This wine balances a savory profile with crisp, apple notes and searing acidity.
Where to find it: Dilworth Tasting Room, $45
Or This: Domaine Fond Croze 2019 Confidence Côtes du Rhône, France
Bright raspberries, strawberries, and a touch of black pepper on the finish complement the sharp cheese.
Where to find it: Tip Top Market, $15.99
Try This: Robert Sinskey 2018 Pinot Gris Late, USA
This dessert wine tastes of apricot, pineapple, and almonds. Light in body and sweetness, it plays well with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove in the pie.
Where to find it: The Bohemian: A Wine Bar, $39.99
ROASTED BRUSSELS WITH CRANBERRIES AND PROSCIUTTO
Vegetables can be a challenge. When in doubt, pair to the sauce.
Try This: Pian dell’Orino 2018 Piandorino Sangiovese, Italy
With notes of cranberries, balsamic, and smoke, this Italian red makes this colorful side dish sing.
Where to find it: Bond Street Wines, $49.99
Or This: Pierre Arnold 2018 Diamant Liquide Riesling, France
This dry Riesling flashes a little honey when you pair it with salty prosciutto, adding a sweet, ginger finale to each bite.
Where to find it: Tip Top Market, $17.50
EDITOR’S TIP If a local business doesn’t have the exact bottle you’re looking for, staff should be able to point you toward a similar wine.
NOT HOSTING? Bring a small gift to show your appreciation for the hospitality. Two ideas:
Wine For Normal People by Elizabeth Schneider,
From the creator of the award-winning podcast, this book is for people who love everything about wine except for the pretentiousness that can surround it.
Traditional Porrón, Bond Street Wines, $20
Not quite a decanter, this traditional glass pitcher from Spain’s Basque Country is meant to pour directly into your mouth (if you want).
KARA DALY is a Charlotte-based freelance writer with a Level 2 Award in wines from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. Find her on Instagram @karaswinestudy