And why you should quaff bubbly with mac and cheese!

mezza winery bubbly
Credit: Courtesy of Mezza Winery

It's the time of year when hearty soups, stews, and casseroles are what we crave. Try these wine pairings for some of our favorite comfort food recipes to complete your cozy evening. We're sure you'll be satisfied.

Chicken Pot Pie with Pinot Gris

A cozy chicken pot pie with a flaky puff-pastry crust deserves a rich, textural white wine. Pinot gris (called pinot grigio in Italy-yes, it's the same grape) is a fuller-bodied white wine with a creamy, lush, and rounded texture and flavors of ripe yellow pear. Most pinot gris is aged without the use of new oak barrels (new oak can impart a buttery or toasty flavor that's not for everyone), so it has a clean, crisp profile. If you like a fuller-bodied white wine and want to try something that's not chardonnay, give pinot gris a chance!

TRY: Pike Road Pinot Gris 2014, $13; Cristom Pinot Gris 2013, $20; Trimbach Pinot Gris 2013, $20

Get the Chicken Potpies with Puff Pastry Recipe
test kitchen mac and cheese
Credit: Armando Rafael

Macaroni and Cheese with Sparkling White

A childhood favorite that's also a winter comfort staple, mac and cheese has it all; it's hot, filling, and creamy. You've likely tried many different mac and cheese recipes, with bacon, baked, or spicy, but my favorite twist to this classic dish is to enjoy a glass of bubbly with it. The richness of the cheese sauce is perfectly balanced by the contrast of a crisp, mouthwatering sparkling wine-what better way to elevate a weeknight meal?! If you don't want to spring for Champagne, Italian prosecco and Spanish cava are excellent budget-friendly alternatives.

TRY: Mezza di Mezzacorona Italian Glacial Bubbly, $15; Anna de Codorniu Brut Cava, $12; Adami Prosecco Treviso Brut "Garbél" DOC, $15

Get the Test Kitchen’s Favorite Mac and Cheese Recipe
pine ridge cabernet wine
Credit: Courtesy of Pine Ridge WInery

Slow-Cooker Pot Roast with Cabernet Sauvignon

Not only are slow-cooker recipes incredibly convenient and easy to prepare, but the process also really concentrates the flavors of something like a simple chuck roast, elevating it to a whole new level of deliciousness. With fattier cuts of red meat, a powerful red with a nice tannic structure is just right to cut through the richness and keep your palate refreshed. The intensity of flavor in a ripe cabernet is a perfect pairing.

TRY: 14 Hands Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, $11; Frank Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, $39; Pine Ridge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, $64

Get the Slow-Cooker Pot Roast Recipe

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup with Vermentino

The next time you get a snow day, celebrate with a classic combo: grilled cheese and tomato soup. The toasty grilled cheese-and-nourishing soup pairing requires a versatile wine. A medium-bodied Italian white wine with good acidity is a refreshing option. Vermentino comes from both Tuscany and Sardinia. It has mellow golden apple flavors and a sunny yet crisp finish.

TRY: Monteverro Vermentino 2015, $15; Poggio Al Tesoro Solosole Vermentino 2015, $17

Get the Tomato Soup with Bacon Grilled Cheese Recipe
san marzano wine label
Credit: Courtesy of San Marzano

Eggplant Parmesan with Rich Southern Italian Red

Nothing says comfort like melty, cheesy eggplant parm. One wine pairing trick to live by is ‘what grows together, goes together': foods and wines from the same regions are an effortlessly amazing pairing that works every single time. The red wines from Italy's southern regions are soft, rich, smooth, and voluptuous-and usually inexpensive! Look for bottles from Abruzzo, Puglia, and Sicily: you will find wonderful wines made from primitivo, negroamaro, or nero d'Avola grapes with plenty of delicious options under $20.

TRY: Talò Negroamaro Salento IGP 2015, $16.99; Stemmari Nero d'Avola 2015, $11.99; Masciarelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2015, $10

Get the Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

Get inspired before you uncork that Italian red, watch how to make Eggplant Parmesan:


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