What could be better than a cookie exchange? A cookie exchange with wine pairings! Wine pairing is an exercise in identifying key aspects of a food, and choosing a wine that either contrasts with or matches the elements of the dish. Below are a few of our favorite holiday cookies, along with their pairings.
Sugar Cookies – Riesling
Sugar cookies, as their name implies, are all about sweetness and subtlety. Pair them with a wine that has a clean, simple taste, and slight sweetness. Riesling is great. Good examples can be found around the world, with the best coming from Germany and the French region of Alsace.
Pizzelle – Prosecco
The charm of Pizzelles lies in their simplicity. Why not pair these Italian cookies with an Italian wine? Prosecco is a sparkling wine from northern Italy, made from a grape called “Glera.” It has subtle notes of apple and pear, and often a faint sweetness that not only complements the simplicity of the pizzelles, but adds a festive touch as well.
Italian Ricotta – Pinot Grigio
This is another Italian cookie to pair with an Italian wine. The richness and creaminess of ricotta lends itself to the contrast of a light crisp wine. Pinot Grigio is also subdued in flavor, so it won’t cover up the deliciousness of these soft-spoken cookies.
Shortbread – White Burgundy
Chardonnay makes a second appearance on our list, but this time from the Burgundy region of France. White wines from Burgundy are made from Chardonnay, and are usually drier and less oaky than those from California. White Burgundy has a richness and creaminess that pairs nicely with shortbread.
Coconut Macaroon – California Chardonnay
The appeal of these cookies is based around the pure goodness of coconut. The slight bitterness and subtlety of coconut makes it a good pairing with California Chardonnay, since it’s often aged in oak barrels, which can contribute a coconut flavor to the wine.
Gingerbread – Gewürztraminer
Gewürztraminer is a wonderful and under-appreciated white grape that produces wines with slight sweetness and hints of baking spice, honey, and ginger. All these elements harmonize well with gingerbread.
Mint Chocolate Cookie – Australian Shiraz
Red wines from Australia are famous for a flavor note commonly described as “eucalyptus,” which makes for a great complement to mint. Additionally, Shiraz has a rich, full texture, with soft fruits to match the strength of the chocolate.
Peanut Butter Blossom – Côtes du Rhône
Red wine is a popular pairing with chocolate. Côtes du Rhône is a wine from France usually made from a blend based on the Grenache grape. It often has a bright, fruity taste, with a slight earthiness that works well with peanut butter.
Snickerdoodle – Rioja
The defining characteristic of the snickerdoodle is cinnamon sugar, which is also a characteristic imparted to wine by oak barrels. Rioja is a red wine from Spain known for spending a significant amount of time in oak, and therefore goes great with a snickerdoodle. Try bottles labeled as “Crianza” or “Reserva.”
Snowstorm – Merlot
The snowstorm cookie is essentially a chocolate cookie dusted with sugar. Following the idea that red wine goes with chocolate, Merlot is a good choice due to its smooth and rich texture.
Chocolate Chip or M&M – Cabernet
Cabernet is called the “King of Wines,” so it seems fitting that it should go with the king of cookies. As stated previously, it’s a red wine, and pairs well with the chocolate chips or candy, while the tannins in the wine help cut the butteriness of the cookie.
Turtle – Zinfandel
The most decadent cookie on the list needs a decadent wine. Zinfandel has a full body, with intense, ripe fruit flavors that stand up to the caramel and nuts of the turtle cookie.
Making a cookie that’s not on our list? Let us know on our Facebook page and we’ll get you our wine recommendation!