Different countries and cultures ring in the New Year with the same hope of happiness and prosperity, and each has its own wonderful traditions that demand the perfect wine. Find your favourite New Year’s Eve wine pair!
Try a wine and food pairing with these New Year’s Eve classics.
New Year’s Eve food and wine couples from all over the world
All cultures in the world use food as a means of celebration and communication. So we combined wine with a mix of different classic vintage traditions from Canada to Japan.
Black-eyed peas are combined with ham and other tasty vegetables in a stew. Source: jeffryw CC BY 2.0
Favorite food on New Year’s Eve in the United States
- The food: Black-eyed pea grass with black eyes
- The wine: Australian Shiraz
Peas and kale with corn cake are a popular New Year tradition in the southern states and throughout the country. Combine it with a woody Australian Shiraz – rich and powerful, with medium tannins and balanced acidity, with fruity notes of blueberry and plum, tobacco and pepper.
The roots of this dish go back to West Africa, where slaves brought black-eyed peas and cultivated them in the Carolinas. This New Year’s dinner should bring happiness and satisfaction. Peas for pennies, green for dollars and corn cake for gold.
The most traditional version is Hoppin’ John, a tasty stew of black-eyed peas and bitter green vegetables served with corn cake.
Cabbage leaves add a layer of bitterness, and of course ham or bacon adds a salty and smoky side. So you need a strong red wine to measure, and a wine that reflects the smoky notes.
Wine and cheese Sparky
Our favourite recommendations for wine and cheese in a nice font.
NYE Italian meals strive for happiness, but a meal in Italy feels happy in itself. Source: Igor Oliarnik
New Year’s dinner in Italy
- The food: Lenses
- The wine: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
In many parts of Europe, such as Hungary and Italy, and even in parts of South America (Chile and Brazil), lentils are on the menu shortly after midnight.
Combine it with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – it’s easy to drink and its subtle tannins, fruitiness and medium acidity can enhance a delicious lentil dish without overpowering its simple flavours.
Eating and giving lentils as a New Year’s gift goes back to Roman times. The Romans believed that lentils were like a coin, and every lentil you eat becomes a coin!
The most traditional incarnation in Italy is lenticchie al cotechino, or lentils with pork sausage.
It seems appropriate that people who are crazy enough to live in the icy regions of the world dip everything in cheese. Source: Angela Pham
A Swiss-Canadian favorite
- The food: Fondue
- The wine : sauvignon blanc
Fondue is ideal for small holidays at the end of the year because it is a common pot of melted cheese to share. This tradition is well known in countries such as Switzerland and is also becoming increasingly popular in Canada.
Try the Sauvignon Blanc! The fruitiness and acidity are due to the sticky saltiness. The flavors of gooseberry, passion fruit and white peach with sauvignon blanc perfectly complement the decadent fondue, while the acidity balances the fat.
Hosting a barbecue in Myall Lakes National Park, Australia is a piece of paradise that sounds delicious. Source: Daniel Norris.
Summertime in Australia for the New Year
- The food: BARBECU
- The wine: Zinfandel
It is summer in Australia, so it is customary to gather on the beach or in the garden for a simple barbecue, usually consisting of meat, sausages and seafood such as crayfish or shrimp.
Nothing goes better with an Australian barbecue than a rich California Zinfandel with marmalade, with smoky nuts to complement the barbecue smoke and spicy nuts to spice up the meat. All this fat will absorb the rich, high octane red wine.
Or, if you want everything to stay Australian, look for an authentic Australian GSM mix (Australian for Grenache-Shiraz-Mataro).
A collection of sweet cakes in the small village of Drepano, Greece. Source: Angelo Pantatzis.
Celebration of the new year as in Greece
- The food: Vasilopita
- The wine: Muscat Samos
The Vasilopita is a sweet and soft cake, baked with orange peels and sweet herbs. The semi-sweet Muscat Samosa has a pleasant sweetness and its flavors of jam peel and orange complete the cake, with a fresh and pure taste without being too clownish.
The name of the cake comes from the name of Greek Santa Claus, Agio Vassilis, who comes to Greece on New Year’s Eve. The piece is placed in the cake and covered with icing sugar.
White sugar stands for the hope that nothing dark will appear in the new year. The person who serves a piece of cake is lucky for the rest of the year.
Japanese is used in many dishes, also in lucky dishes. Source: Masaaki Komori
New Year’s noodles in Japan
- The food: Soba
- The wine: Garganega (aka Soave)
In Japan, the new year begins with a bowl of toshikoshi soba, a tradition that goes back to the 13th century. It dates from the 19th century, and like many others on this list, noodles are supposed to bring good luck. Long noodles are synonymous with longevity.
This dashi-based soup often contains green onions, eggs and shrimps.
The umami character of the toshikoshi, together with the onions, requires a wine with a high acidity, like that of the garganega. Garganega is dry and gives off mineral aromas that come from the volcanic soil where the grapes grow.
In this agreement the acidity balances the salty aspect, and the citrus taste enhances the taste of the green onion, while the minerality and saltiness complete the umami of the dish.
You can’t say no to a delicious soup, and that makes you successful. Source: Chifam
Lunar New Year’s soup in Korea
- The food: Tteokguk
- The wine: Ribolla gialla or other orange wine
This comforting and complex rice cake soup, originally from Korea, brings wealth and prosperity for the New Year, combined with the Ribolla Gialla from Friuli Venezia Giulia for a symphony of flavours.
The body and tannins balance the beef proteins, and the dried fruit and honey flavours complement the taste.
Traditionally served for the lunar year, but adapted for decades by Korean Americans for New Year’s Eve, this soup has everything to please: Fish stock, rice cake, green onions, egg, beef, soy sauce, seaweed, sugar, sesame oil.
The orange wine will certainly withstand this dish in its complexity and structure, emphasizing the flavors, reflecting the umami and earthy character, and balancing the flavors harmoniously.
It’s basically a fragile note, who in his right mind doesn’t like it? Source: Georgian Recipes GC A 3.0
Georgian New Year tradition
- The food: Gozinaki
- The wine : port tawny
Gozinaki is a traditional dessert made of nuts roasted in honey and often cut into a diamond shape. These sweets are served on New Year’s Eve tables as a promise of sweet life on New Year’s Eve. These Georgian sweets go perfectly with the tawny port.
Tawny Port is sweet and full of nutty caramel flavours with just enough acidity to balance the sweetness of the candy and strong enough to support the strong nut and honey flavours.
Make your own New Year’s Eve wine pair
I hope these famous traditions will inspire you to create your own. And if you have a New Year’s Eve tradition filled with wine not listed above, please mention it in the comments below.
Best wishes and a happy New Year 2021!
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