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Food & wine

Hanukkah Wine Pairings for Everything on Your Menu

December 10, 2020

Written By Coravin

Sundown tonight marks the first day of Hanukkah. 2020 has brought with it a series of unfortunate events that are shaking up this holiday season but, like many holidays, Hanukkah is one with deep culinary traditions. So, while we might not be able to gather together under one roof, familiar food has a special way of evoking fond memories and blanketing us with comfort.  

The most traditional Hanukkah foods are usually fried in oil to remind participants of the Biblical miracle, in which one day’s worth of ritual olive oil lasted the Maccabees eight days and nights, long enough for more oil to be pressed. Nowadays we have seen the traditional Hanukkah menu broaden to include non-fried foods, but the focus is still on traditional kosher dishes like potato latkes and sufganiyot.

6 Hanukkah Wine Pairings

With traditional food, there must be traditional wine. So, which wines pair best with each of your Hanukkah menu items? Let’s get right into it.

1. Potato latkes wine pairing: Prosecco 

Latkes are crispy potato pancakes that are shallow-fried and often enjoyed with applesauce or sour cream for the more savory palette. Most experts recommend a light sparkling or white wine like Prosecco or Sauvignon Blanc to counterbalance the oily texture and rich flavor.

2. Cholent wine pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon

This slow-cooked stew comes in many variations but most include a few basic ingredients: meat, potatoes, beans, and barley. Cholent is traditionally prepared in advance and served on Shabbat. This Hanukkah food pairs best with a medium-bodied red blend Cabernet Sauvignon to bring out the dense and hardy components of this dish.

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3. Kugel win pairing: Riesling 

Kugel is traditionally made with a base of egg noodles or potato. Despite those two savory ingredients, it’s a sweet dish that comes together like a bread pudding casserole. Kugel is best paired with a light white wine to complement the sweetness.

4. Beef brisket wine pairing: Merlot

Beef brisket, the most popular and traditional meat dish served during Hanukkah, is oftentimes cooked using red wine. If you are cooking with wine, we recommend choosing a bottle you enjoy on its own. A rich red with berry and oak flavors like Merlot will really help the seasonings pop. 

5. Salmon wine pairing: Pinot Grigio

For the Hanukkah menu, succulent salmon is often served with herby seasoning and lemon. A great wine pairing for this savory, citrusy dish is a cool Pinot Grigio with citrus and floral notes. 

6. Sufganiyot wine pairing: Champagne

These are deep-fried, jelly-filled, sugar-crusted donuts that serve as one of the traditional desserts throughout the eight days of Hanukkah. Because they’re so sweet, a glass of sweet wine is the right pairing. Try either a sweeter Champagne or a late-harvest Riesling.

What are you cooking this Hanukkah!? Share your Hanukkah wine pairings with us on social, @Coravin