The Substance Guide To:Holiday 2020 Wine Pairings

Ready or Not, it’s The Holiday Season!

An incredible Thanksgiving spread, on a table, seen from above. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green beans, pumpkins, and most importantly -- wine! Two bottles and some glasses of red/white wine are seen too.

Whether donning a ‘festive’ sweater to get the gang together* or by taping an antler on your pup prepping for Grinch mode, it’s here. No matter how you feel about this time of year, an inarguable perk is a plethora of opportunities to stuff our faces with delicious foods. From traditional turkey and pie to sugar dusted cookies and those weird crab cakes puffs my aunt passes off as appetizers, ‘tis eating season.

You Know What Goes Great with Food, Right?

Okay, fine. Antacids. But, also, wine! Red and white and lots of it, please and thank you.

This does come with certain pressures. What wine do you bring to a dinner party? Which varietal goes best with dessert? How can you spend as little as possible on a mandatory-seeming gift bottle for a neighbor you don’t really like but have to see every damn day no matter how much you try to avoid them and still come off seeming sophisticated even though you obviously don’t care what they think? It’s a lot to think about, especially in times like these where our plates are already – literally and figuratively – overflowing.

Don’t Worry, Friends. Breathe. We’ve Got You

Read on for some pairing suggestions from our team of professional drinkers… err… wine experts.


A plate covered in delicious pieces of freshly-cooked turkey

Ah, the classic holiday supper! A great roast bird stuffed large with stuffing, savory and perfect, ready to smother in gravy and pair with garlic mashed potatoes. Already a massive gastronomic undertaking, the accompanying wine should do just that – accompany, accentuate, and add nuance, not overpower. For this, we heartily recommend our Golden West Pinot Noir, whose mellow body and dark fruit flavors will be the cherry on top of a perfect meal.


A white plate with yellow-crusted American apple pie. A bite on top of a fork, looks tantalizing.

Holidays are pie days, and what glorious days they are. Just as a flaky, buttery crust pairs well with… well, about anything, there’s a perfect wine to complement your dessert of choice. Now, since dessert is everyone’s favorite part of any meal, why not make it a full-on celebration? Perfectly balanced with creamy citrus, sublime minerality, bright acidity, and just enough effervescence to lift up pie’s sweetness, POPUP, our new sparkling wine, made from single-vineyard Chardonnay, is ready to make pie time party time.


A plate of Tofurkey, or tofu-turkey. A fork is stuck inside. It's a brown, rubbery-looking substance with a charred outside.

Not everyone is tucking in to a meat-o-rama feast, we get that. For those of you who eschew animal proteins but haven’t quite gone full ‘unprocessed veggie goodness,’ the Tofurky looms. Boasting a mild umami flavor with a smoky hint of onion and mushroom flavoring, you need something with some oomph to stand up to the taste. You’ll also need enough complexity to keep from drowning out those subtle faux-meat vibes. Enter our Substance Cab. Crafted from a medley of our favorite Washington vineyards, black currant and blackberry meld into smooth tobacco, a symphony of flavor that’s the perfect soundtrack to never eating a Tofurky again. It’ll even make up for the lack of an edible main course. Pssst… click here for some great veggie holiday dinner ideas.


A delicious honey-glazed, sliced, baked ham, on a plate with garnish.

Roast ham’s smoky, sweet, and savory flavor lends itself to wines who’ll reflect and elevate that profile. While you could go with one of our many Syrahs, in this case the perfect accomplice for both your table and your wallet is our CasaSmith Porcuspino Primitivo. Primitivo, Zinfandel’s kissing cousin, has a juicy berry fruit density leading into new leather, dark chocolate, and black pepper, creating a balanced ‘party in the front, business in the back’ tension and complexity.

Roast Beef

An overhead view of a carving board with roast beef and au juice.

A beautiful slab of rare roast beef is one of life’s great pleasures. As such, it deserves the nothing less than the very best. Our King Coal Cab Syrah blend is full bodied and rich, 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Syrah co-fermented and aged in 60% new oak barrels to deliver an uncompromisingly delicious wine. Truffle, black plum, tobacco, ripe red fruit… Served alongside your perfectly bloody slab o’ beef it’s not just dinner, it’s a memory in the making.


A zoomed in view of some delicious looking stuffing.

Okay, sure, we talked about stuffing up there with turkey. But let’s get real, you’re gonna be sampling it all day long if you get the chance. That means you’re gonna need a wine to go with it! We recommend any of our Sixto Chardonnays, but I especially like Roza Hills with lemon and pear full-bodied richness that won’t be bowled over by all that bread.

Chinese Food

A plate of Chinese food, showing chow mein, an egg roll, crispy fried chicken, dumplings, and more mouth watering foods

Because the holidays don’t always mean grinding in the kitchen. Tradition suggests a great Riesling, like our online-exclusive K Jet City. But another great – and even less expensive! – option is ViNO Pinot Grigio. Fresh and minerally. With a light nose of citrus, anis, and pine, it’s just bold enough, with melon, mango, and lilac. A fantastic companion to exotic or spicy takeout.


A cartoon version of the UK's Royal Family

What’s a holiday without an influx of family? This means spending some time with at least a couple folks you just can’t with. But, you know, you just have to. If there’s one thing that can drown out creepy comments, passive aggression, political differences, and embarrassing anecdotes, it’s wine. But, which wine? Well, it depends. For sharing time with people you love, there’s our winemaker Brennon Leighton’s aptly named Gratitude. A unique, Washingtonian take on the traditional GSM blend, Gratitude’s silky texture, ripe fruit, licorice, tea, and herbal refinement will wrap you in the hug you need. For dealing with those… other people, grab a bottle of our Royal City Syrah. Powerful enough to drown out whatever they’re babbling about, Royal City is a power ballad of purple velvet, heady perfume, blackcurrants, chocolate, black cherry, cured olive, and spice with unbeatable structure and boundless finesse. Oh, and you’re in luck – it’s available in magnums, too, while supplies last.

*Please note: since it’s 2020 we’re just assuming you’ll be ‘seeing’ each other responsibly over Zoom or some other digital means. Whatever you do, please stay safe out there!

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