8 Wine and Holiday Cookie Pairings, Recommended by Sommeliers
Need an idea for a simple yet elegant holiday gathering? Pair a nice bottle of wine with your favorite Christmas cookie, and invite some friends over. Not only does wine help wash those delicious cookies down, but the right one also can enhance the flavors of the cookie — and vice versa.
Of course, some wine and cookie pairings are better than others. So we chatted with wine experts and asked them for the perfect pairings. Here are the wines recommended with eight of our favorite holiday cookies — each one suggested by sommeliers who know a thing or two about matching a good wine to the right dessert.
1. Biscotti and Selvapiana Vin Santo del Chianti Rufina 2007
“A classic Italian pairing, this Chianti is a no-brainer. The wine is sweet but still comes off as an acidic dessert wine and easily complements a nutty and crispy biscotti,” says Brennan Sopko, sommelier and assistant general manager at Siena Tavern in Chicago. “The pro tip on this pairing is to dip an end of the biscotti into the Vin Santo to soften the dense and rigid almond-based cookies,” he adds. That sounds pretty amazing.
See the wine: Selvapiana Vin Santo del Chianti Rufina 2007
Make the cookie: How To Make Crunchy Biscotti Cookies
2. Apricot Rugelach and Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec
Champagne and apricot taste great together, so pair those jam-like cookies with some bubbles. “This pairing is perfect for those who do not have a big sweet tooth,” Sopko says. “The combination of the cookie and wine highlights the fruity side of desserts, bringing together the apricots and the ripe fruit of the Champagne,” he explains. Plus, the buttery pastry surrounding the apricot filling works well with the rich pastry and brioche bread notes found in the wine, too.
See the wine: Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec
Make the cookie: How To Make the Best Rugelach Cookies
3. Chocolate Chip Cookies and DAOU Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
A chocolate chip cookie is a match made in heaven for a rich, deep Cabernet Sauvignon. “When you can find a rich, lush, and juicy Cabernet, the wine can pair beautifully with a soft-baked cookie loaded with chocolate chips and chunks,” says Sopko.
“The richer Cabernets, in particular, those from Paso Robles in the Southern California region, are overflowing with baked fruit notes of blackberries and blueberries,” he says, which complement the chocolate well. This wine, in particular, is aged extensively in French oak and has vanilla and chocolate notes that mirror those found in the chocolate chip cookie.
See the wine: DAOU Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Make the cookie: How to Make Chocolate Chip Cookies from Scratch
4. Peanut Butter Cookies and Rare Wine Company “Historic Series Boston” Bual Madeira
This is a dense cookie that is nutty and oily in the best way, so it needs a fresh spike of acidity to balance the richness. “Think of a PB&J — the heaviness of the peanut butter is lightened by the tart jelly. Mimic that experience with the fresh acidity, moderate sweetness, and nutty character of a Bual Madeira,” says Nancy Shapardanis, sommelier of Coda di Volpe in Chicago.
5. Snickerdoodles and Elvio Tintero “Sori Gramella” Moscato d’Asti
Snickerdoodle is the perfect holiday cookie you look forward to every year. “Go for a sparkling Moscato d’Asti. Moscatos are dripping with ripe apricot and pear notes, which will go perfectly with the sweet cinnamon and vanilla character of the cookie,” says Sharpardanis. “The bubbles will mimic the cloud-like texture of the snickerdoodle, taking both taste and texture to a whole new level,” she says.
See the wine: Elvio Tintero “Sori Gramella” Moscato d’Asti
Make the cookie: Super-Soft Snickerdoodle Cookies
6. Sugar Cookies and Westhofen Kirchspiel Riesling Auslese 2017
Look no further than the floral sweetness of an Auslese Riesling when figuring out what to pair with a classic sugar cookie — hopefully one that has some festive holiday-themed design on it, too! “This wine has a healthy dose of acidity to balance its amiable qualities. Sugar cookies can have a one-dimensional sweetness, but the floral and sometimes herbal notes of a Riesling can add interest to the way this cookie crumbles,” says Shapardanis.
See the wine: Westhofen Kirchspiel Riesling Auslese 2017
Make the cookie: The Best Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
7. Butter & Jam Thumbprints and Brachetto d’Acqui
“If you’ve never heard of Brachetto, think Moscato, but made with red grapes. These light, sparkling red wines have the same gentle effervescence and sweetness of Moscato d’Asti, but the fruit aromas are more red fruits like fresh strawberries and raspberries, making a great match for the jams,” says Tony Rossi, sommelier at Enolo Wine Cafe in Chicago. Bugey Cerdon Rose and Moscato d’Asti also get the job done here.
See the wine: Brachetto d’Acqui
Make the cookie: Jammy Shortbread Thumbprints
8. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Moscatel Sherry
“Moscatel is the least-used grape in sherry production, but after being laid out to dry these sweet wines have a dried fruit characteristic making them a favorite of mine to pair with bread pudding or oatmeal cookies, which often includes raisins,” says Rossi. Off-dry Amarone and Passito dessert wines from Italy, where the grapes are also dried, are tasty options as well, he says.
See the wine: Moscatel Sherry
Make the cookie: How To Make Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Cookies