Ten festive cookie and wine pairings for the holiday season

December is the season to eat, drink and be merry. Cookies and wine are both quintessential parts of any holiday gathering, so what better way to celebrate than combining them? Wine and cookies can be a heavenly match if you choose the right bottle to complement your sweet treats. This guide offers ten suggestions for pairing wine with the perfect, homemade cookie for a truly festive experience. 

Gingerbread and Semi-Dry Riesling

The gingerbread man is a welcome guest at any holiday party. So, let’s start with the wine that pairs best with this sweet, spicy classic: a semi-dry riesling. According to Real Simple, a higher acid wine with residual sugar will accentuate the ginger and molasses in the cookies. They also feature notes of citrus, which complement the floral tones of Riesling. The light, crisp flavor of a Riesling may also help balance out the bold flavors of the cookie. 

Chocolate Chip and Cabernet Sauvignon 

There are several great options to pair with a gooey chocolate chip cookie, but our top pick is cabernet sauvignon. In this case, opposites attract. The savory flavors of a full bodied cab provide a delicious contrast to the sweetness of a chocolate chip cookie. While it has a dryer profile, cabernet Sauvignon has undertones of fruit, vanilla and caramel that pair perfectly with chocolate. You also can’t go wrong with a nice port or pinot noir. 

Jam Thumbprints and Merlot

The best part of the jam thumbprint cookies is, of course, the jam! You’ll want to match them with a wine that brings out the fruity flavors of the filling. For this, a fruit-forward Merlot is a great choice. For the best pairing, serve a light bodied merlot alongside cookies made with red jam, like raspberry, cherry or strawberry. If using a lighter jam, like peach or apricot, try swapping the merlot for a white, such as a riesling!

Sugar Cookies and Chardonnay 

Nothing screams Christmas like a frosted sugar cookie in the shape of a reindeer or a tree. For this holiday favorite, try breaking out a rich and buttery bottle of chardonnay. Sugar cookies are light in flavor, so a crisp white wine is their best companion. Choose a chardonnay with some fruity undertones to really play up the pleasant, delicate taste of the sugar cookies.

Fudge Crinkle Cookies and Zinfandel

As Fine Dining Lovers points out, the fudge crinkle cookie is rich, chocolatey, and decadent, and it needs a wine that can keep up. A full-bodied red zinfandel should be up for the task. This bold cookie will taste best when served with a clean red wine that complements its profile. Just try to choose a wine with a similar sweetness level to your dessert. If you have no zinfandel on hand, try a pinot noir instead.

Oatmeal Raisin and Shiraz

This next pairing, oatmeal raisin and shiraz, is a symphony of flavors. Oatmeal cookies are a dense mix of sweet and savory, so they’ll go beautifully with a full-bodied shiraz. Look for a dark shiraz with a peppery aftertaste to weigh out the slightly fruity, spiced cookie. Syrah, or cabernet sauvignon, will also work just as well.

Peanut butter and tawny port 

Hello Vino describes Tawny Port as a Portuguese sweet wine made with notes of caramel, cream, vanilla and almond. Just from its description, it should be easy to see why this wine pairs so well with peanut butter cookies. This smooth dessert wine and this classic cookie have a lot in common. Other dessert wines, like madeira and banyuls, also make fine accompaniments for peanut butter cookies.

Pinot Noir and Snowball Cookies

Snowball cookies, traditionally made with nuts, vanilla and powdered sugar, are a beautiful addition to any holiday spread. If you want to pair them with a good wine, you can’t go wrong with a classic pinot noir. Any pinot noir that delivers undertones of white pepper and dark fruits, such as cherry, boysenberry or blackberry, will mix wonderfully with this light, sweet cookie. Snowballs are very versatile, so they’d also be good with a madeira, or even a light white like pinot grigio.

Snickerdoodles and Moscato

Snickerdoodles are a sugary, cinnamony standby for the holiday season. This tasty cookie, with its fun name, needs an equally fun wine. Crave Local suggests pairing them with a bubbly moscato, and we couldn’t agree more. This crisp, refreshing wine is the perfect counterpart to the crunch of a fresh baked snickerdoodle. Pretty much anything light and carbonated, like champagne or sparkling rosé, will do the trick.

Chocolate Peppermint and Sauvignon Blanc

Chocolate, peppermint and white wine might not be the most obvious combination, but you’ll be surprised at how sauvignon brings out the best in this iconic holiday cookie. Peppermint is famously difficult to pair with wine, so some outside-the-box thinking is required to find this cookie’s best match! Chocolate peppermint cookies have a bold flavor. The light and buttery taste of sauvignon blanc will make for a pleasant, but not overwhelming, addition.

This winter, branch out from the tired milk and cookies combo. From pairing a creamy port with a salty peanut-butter cookie, to serving up fruity thumbprints with a glass of smooth merlot, there are all kinds of ways to unite your favorite wines and desserts. No matter what kind of cookies you have cooling on your oven this year, adding the right wine to the mix will make for an even better treat.

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