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The Definitive Guide to Pairing Christmas Cookies With Wine

Maximum enjoyment is the name of the game with all pairings — that’s the rule, and really the only rule. But that’s especially true when it comes to matching up wine with something as whimsical and nostalgic as Christmas cookies.

That said, general wine-pairing wisdom recommends that your chosen wine should be sweeter than what you’re eating, as more saccharine food can accentuate harshness or unwanted bitterness in your glass. So, if you’re choosing between two bottles of the same style of wine, the sweeter option is almost always the right way to go when it comes to drinking with dessert.

That means that enjoying wine with your favorite holiday bakes — whether they be peanut butter blossoms, gingerbread, biscotti, or anything in between — offers a chance to delve into the woefully out-of-fashion world of dessert wines. Despite some of the world’s priciest, most sought-after wines being dessert wines (think vintage port or Sauternes), much of what’s on the market is undervalued and priced as such, making them an easy add to your holiday spread.

Read on for our recommendations on the best wines to pair with Christmas cookies.

Cranberry Orange Cookies and Rosé Prosecco

A frosted cranberry cookie is standard issue on a holiday cookie plate, and sweet rosé Prosecco will meet that citrusy berry fest with its own bramble party. Each brings a bit of tartness to the pairing, and the bubbles complement the cakey texture of the cookie.

Almond Spritz Cookies and Moscato d’Asti

Crisp almond spritz cookies are on the more ethereal side of the Christmas cookie spectrum, and they deserve a similarly delicate pairing to match. Consider Moscato d’Asti, which should not be confused with generic Moscato. Unlike its still-wine sibling, Moscato d’Asti is spritzy, and comes from Italy’s Piedmont region. Its notes of mandarin oranges, white florals, and sage will bring out the cookie’s more savory almond flavor, and its acidity and bubbles will help cut the richness of the super-buttery bake.

Magic Cookie Bars and Marsala

Magic cookie bars may not be as elegant as some of the other options on this list, but they sure can crank up the nostalgia. Everyone’s got their own recipe, but they generally consist of a graham cracker crumb crust, sweetened condensed milk, chocolate or butterscotch chips, coconut flakes, and chopped nuts. To balance all those components, we recommend sweet or semi-sweet Marsala, the historic Sicilian fortified wine. Its notes of brown sugar, vanilla, and stewed stone fruit will complement each element of the cookie, and its acidity will help cut the sweetness. Marsala also tends to have a tropical fruit note, which will bring the coconut front and center.

Peanut Butter Blossoms and Cream Sherry

While several styles of sherry could be lovely with this holiday staple, we’d go with the widely available and affordable cream sherry. A blend of oloroso and Pedro Ximénez, you’ll find notes of roasted nuts, dried tart fruits, and tinge of salinity all, of which play well with the cookie’s nutty flavor and obligatory chocolate kiss.

Chocolate-Dipped Biscotti and Cabernet Sauvignon

If you’re looking for a not-so-sweet option to bring to the party, here’s your answer. Cabernet Sauvignon, especially from Napa, is famed for its rich notes of berry and dark chocolate. Though it’s not a dessert wine, it does tend to do well with chocolate. Biscotti isn’t all that sugary to begin with, and its typical almonds or hazelnuts will only further enhance the Cab’s earthy notes.

Snickerdoodles and Rainwater Madeira

We recommend snacking on cinnamon-dusted snickerdoodles with Rainwater Madeira, which is beloved for its affordability and more ethereal body. Its notes of light caramel and roasted cashew will bring the cookie’s butter flavors to the next level, and its hint of orange zest will add an extra winter oomph to the cinnamon.

Gingerbread and Orange Muscat

Orange Muscat, especially when made in a sweeter style, has notes of clementine, honey, orange blossom, and ginger. So what better to pair it with than gingerbread, which boasts its own spicy, honeyed bite? Neither the varietal nor the cookie usually veer into cloying territory, and their overlapping flavor profiles make this pairing a no-brainer.

Rainbow Cookies and Vin Santo

Vin Santo, the beloved Tuscan dessert wine, is traditionally paired with biscotti. While we’re all for that ritual, we also think this wine is perfectly suited to another Italian classic: rainbow cookies. Vin Santo’s nutty-fruity-floral profile, generally with big notes of hazelnut and caramel leading the way, will bring out the florality in the almond and raspberry flavors of the three-layer sweet. Its rich, syrupy character will also mellow out the cookies’ bittersweet chocolate finish.

Linzer Cookies and Demi-Sec Champagne

Were there a Christmas cookie beauty pageant, a linzer cookie would almost certainly be crowned the winner, with its colorful jam middle peeking out from beneath a powdered sugar-dusted top. That charming marriage of fruit and shortbread could perhaps only be made more charming by a flute of demi-sec Champagne. Its vibrant notes of berry and citrus zest give the jam extra dimension, the bready notes enhance the cookie element, and the powdered sugar and bubbles make each other feel even more ethereal.

Snowball Cookies and Late-Harvest Chardonnay

Though snowball cookies may not be the most photogenic, their beauty is in their simplicity. Dusted in powdered sugar, rich in butter, and brought to the next level with pecans, they hit that sweet spot of being both very satisfying and easy to make. Bring out those rich pecan notes even further with a late-harvest Chardonnay. Its notes of marzipan, honey, and ripe peach will add opulence and roundness, and any buttery character in the wine from oak aging will just make the pairing even more harmonious.

The article The Definitive Guide to Pairing Christmas Cookies With Wine appeared first on VinePair.

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