Holiday Food/Wine Pairing with Joseph Grillo

Photography Daniel Håkansson / Styling Kaitlyn DuRoss

By Joseph Grillo
Northside Discount Liquors and Wines
105 Berry St

(718) 963-9463

Christmas, and the holidays in general, is a tricky time to start pairing wines when meals are smorgasbords of food jumping all over the map—from turkey to ham, to yams to carrots—that one yearns for a simple and balanced wine with just a hint of acidity, that stays out of the way while keeping your palate fresh. Here are a couple of my favorites for this time of year:

Pinot Gris: Austere and bright, this counterpart to the often more weighty Pinot Grigio usually holds a touch more acidity and crisp mineral finish at the end that acts as both a refreshing enjoyable wine and a palate cleanser.

Beaujolais: Using the Gamay grape, this famous region makes exquisite wines that often have hints of sour apple and earthy moments of spice over soft cherries. Not to be confused with the popularly advertised George Dubuff Beaujolias Nouveau, a.k.a. alcoholic grape juice.

Sangiovese; in particular, Rosso De Montalcino: Sangiovese grows in many parts of Italy, but nowhere does it have such beauty and nuance as in the hills surrounding the town of Montalcino in Tuscany. Famous for their Brunellos, these Rossos are the same wine, just not aged as long in oak (two years as opposed to four) and not attached to a killer price tag. In fact, some years Brunello makers who think their four-year aged wines are not up to snuff will “declassify” them as Rossos, making this a wine category that really can have the golden ticket a la Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate bars. Rich earth with savory olive and rosemary moments as well as delicate finishes of pepper are often hidden in these perfectly elocuted wines.

Enjoy the holidays safely with friends and family.

All the best, Joseph Grillo