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Your New Year's Eve Food & Wine Pairing Guide December 26, 2018

Upper West Side, Manhattan
Your New Year's Eve Food & Wine Pairing Guide, Manhattan, New York

The most notoriously festive evening of the year is around the corner, and well-wishers around the globe are prepping for the chaos of annual New Year’s soirees. Whether you have your heart set on a classy affair, a blowout bash, or a quiet night on the couch, this night of celebration deserves the indulgence of fabulous wine no matter where your festivities lead. For a little inspiration for an evening spent your way, below are a spread of carefully selected food and wine pairings. And don’t worry—everyone will have the chance to pop some bubbly by the time the ball drops. 

The Formal Dinner Party

Hors D’Oeuvres

Since this is New Year’s Eve, after all, start your guests off with appetizers that pair well with dry champagne or another sparkling white. Bubbly complements seafood options like oysters on the half-shell and shrimp cocktail beautifully. And while tradition dictates pairing charcuterie with a full-bodied red, once again a sparkling white wine plays perfectly into the saltiness of the prosciutto, the fattiness of the cheeses, and the sweetness of the honey and candied fruits. 


Lean into the luxury of the last night of the year with an exquisitely-cooked selection of red meat on your plate—like a classic steak or an elegant rack of lamb. A Cabernet Sauvignon would be the right choice with this dinner spread, as this assertive red blend is practically made for hearty meats and rich sauces. The tannins in this wine clear the palate between each bite, offering hints of blackberries, plums, vanilla, chocolate, and coffee to compliment your main course.


No steak dinner is complete without a slice of cheesecake, particularly when paired with a late harvest dessert wine. This type of vino is made from grapes that stay on the vine longer in the season, gathering a sweeter flavor due to the buildup of residual sugar. By extension, they typically have a higher alcohol content—around 15 to 17%—so make sure to wait till the ball drops for a second glass. 

The New Year’s Bash

Light Bites

Rieslings fall into this beautiful niche where they pair amazingly with Asian cuisine, Southwestern cuisine, and barbeque simultaneously—which conveniently comprises a dream appetizer spread for your New Year’s extravaganza. Whether your guests are grabbing at hot wings, spring rolls, nachos, pulled pork sliders, chips and guac, or otherwise, this bright, acidic white will tame the spiciest of starters with its slightly sweet apple, pear, or citrus notes. 

Main Course

Since your crowd will probably mix eating with mingling, a buffet spread can be an efficient dinner option but a tough choice for a wine pairing. To save yourself the price tag of a selection of vino for each entrée, opt for a versatile Pinot Noir. This higher acidity, lower tannin wine pairs well with a variety of meat options, like duck, chicken, pork, and salmon, and it can even cater to earthier dishes with a staple of mushrooms at the forefront for your vegan guests.

For a sit-down soiree, a family-style Italian dinner can also be a time and cost-effective way to cater to a large party. When handling a classic ragu or lasagna, pair them with the Old World wines they’re forever destined to meet—like a medium-bodied Chianti Classico. 


For a large-portioned, make-ahead dessert, tiramisu fits the bill for New Year’s Eve. It’s delicious, it’s easy enough that you don’t even have to turn on the oven, and it’s an impressive dish for your guests—and the perks don’t stop there. The right wine for this course is none other than a glass of champagne, which pairs excellently with the rich espresso, bitter cocoa powder, and buttery ladyfingers. So pop that bubbly and pile your dessert plates high as your festivities continue into the new year. 

The Night In

From the Kitchen

wineWhile you’re waiting for your takeout to arrive, your relaxing shindig will probably involve munching on some chips and salsa to tide you over. Even a casual app can benefit from a wine pairing, and a Sauvignon Blanc is the refreshing choice for most dips. The acidic, citrusy flavors of this white blends perfectly with vegetarian dishes like salsas and guacamole piled high with fresh tomato and cilantro. In the mood for more of a creamy dip? Spinach and artichoke dip also loves this go-to white.

From Takeout

Who says Chinese takeout doesn’t deserve a delicious wine pairing? Chinese-American cuisine circles around four main ingredients—five-spice powder, Szechuan pepper, duck sauce, and ginger—which mandate a spicier red like Syrah to hold up to the flavorful palate of that General Tso’s Chicken. If sushi’s more your style, then go for a tropical fruity white like a Viognier to complement the seafood while standing up to the spiciness of wasabi. Maybe a quesadilla’s on the menu; then go for a buttery Chardonnay. And for those that demand nothing more than a straightforward pepperoni pizza, turn towards a strong-flavored red, like a Sangiovese or a Cabernet Franc, to match the intensity of the cured topping. 

From the Freezer

Just before the ball drops, pull out that delectable pint of ice cream you’ve had stashed in the freezer and pop an obligatory bottle of bubbly—prosecco that is. Sparkling wines tend to lean towards the sweetness of fruit—maybe a strawberry shortcake flavor—or the rich yet diverse flavors of salted caramel. As the final moments of 2018 come to an end, the pairing of PJs, prosecco, and a pint of ice cream will lead you into the new year on a high note. 

Whether planning for a party of 100 or a party of one, Martin Brothers will have the perfect wine for your New Year’s festivities. This Upper West Side mainstay on the corner of 108th and Broadway combines an expansive selection with reasonable prices for all your wine and spirits needs. Their knowledgeable team will help you find the right bottle for your dinner menu, making even the most inexperienced wine drinker look like a connoisseur. For a preview of their impressive selection, visit their website, and call (212) 222-8218 to speak with a member of their staff.

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