All holiday fowl are not created equal. They have a range of flavorsfrom the delicacy of Cornish game hen to the richness of pheasantthat permits a wide range of wine matches. Here are a few bird basics.
Light-Meat Birds With game hens, chicken and turkey, look for light to medium-rich wines with the fruitiness and verve to add a bit of juiciness to what can sometimes be rather dry meatand, in many cases, a wine with some color, which will enliven a plate that can tend toward beige. Good choices include New World Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnays, dry rosés, European Rieslings and Pinot Blancs, dry Champagnes and sparkling wines, and light reds such as Pinot Noir and Beaujolais.
Dark-Meat Birds Birds such as duck, goose, quail and pheasant are meatier and fattier than their light-meat counterparts. Their earthy, gamy flavors call for more robust wines. Look for rich French or California Chardonnays, bigger Pinot Noirs, Rhône reds, juicy Zinfandels and Syrahs.