With the familiar sound of Christmas tunes tinkling in the air and the excitement of some at the chance of snow, we’re feeling all festive. What’s not to love about Christmas? Yes, there’s a chill in the air but the family’s round and our bellies are full of tasty treats.
With the 25th quickly approaching, don’t panic if you haven’t settled on your turkey. It’s all personal choice of course, but with lots of wine and festive foods to feast on, we’re here to help you decide the best wine to pair with your Christmas dinner, right down to the sprouts. We’re getting hungry just thinking about it!
Appetizers and Starters
Kick off your Christmas feast with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, or add some sparkle with some Barefoot Bubbly Pinot Grigio – a fruity alternative to Champagne or Prosecco - paired with a smoked salmon salad to balance out the oiliness of the fish. You’ll want to choose your wine for Christmas lunch carefully - if prawn cocktail is more your style, choose a light-bodied Chardonnay. If you’ve got a feast of pâté in front of you, be it chicken liver or Brussels, you’ll want to match the rich flavours with a Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec or a rich white.
Out of all the Christmas foods, pairing wine for Christmas dinner is one of the most challenging as all the different flavours can have different wine pairings. Sparkling wines, for example, taste delicious with vegetables and Brussel sprouts. But, for your typical Christmas dinner with all the trimmings - so we’re talking stuffing, pigs in blankets, roasted veg, cabbage, Yorkshire and cranberries - wine pairing is best done with your choice of meat in mind.
The best types of wine to go with a turkey are those with bold tasting notes, like a Cabernet Sauvignon. This delicious red wine will even compliment the cranberries. If you prefer a white, a Chardonnay will do the trick.
Serving beef for Christmas dinner? Choose a bottle that will complement the flavours of the meat. Choose Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec or a Merlot.
Goose, another popular meat to serve for Christmas lunch, is quite a fatty bird so you’ll want a wine that’s crisp and fresh. A bright white or Pink Pinot Grigio will cut through the rich flavours. This wine is great for a honey glazed ham, too.
The common rule when pairing wine with desserts is you have to usually outdo the sweetness of the wine. This means that you’re in for a real sweet treat when tucking into a sugar-dusted French yule log, or a hot, melt in the middle fudge dessert. Pair these with a red like Merlot or something sweeter, like Pink Moscato.
The joys of Christmas pudding come with the making, the eating and the pairing. Enjoy the rich taste of the famous pud with a tasty glass to match, like sherry, port or warming mulled wine.
We’re going with the assumption that you’ve not laced your trifle with a drop or two of merriment. So, for a fruity jelly, custard and cream trifle that the whole family can enjoy, sample with a glass of sweet Pink Moscato.
If you’ve got room in your belly - loosen the trousers a little - the best meal of the year is concluded with cheese. Almost as popular as the turkey, nothing accompanies the Queen’s speech than a plate of your favourite cheeses - and, luckily for you, wine goes splendidly with all types of cheese.
When pairing cheese and wine, it’s good to think about matching the intensity of the flavours together.
Hard cheese like Mature Cheddar, Gouda and Red Leicester is best eaten with medium-bodied whites like Chardonnay and reds bursting with berries, such as Malbec.
You’ll need to create a balancing act with your blue cheeses and Stilton, which means you’ll want a sweet wine like our White Zinfandel or Moscato, as the sweetness in the wine will bring out the creamy taste in the cheese. Finally, soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert go brilliantly with sparkling wine and Bubbly Pinot Grigio as the fizz acts as a palate cleanser.
To pair with the Christmas specials on the TV, nibble your way through classic festive snacks throughout the evening. If you’re tucking into an assortment of chocolate treats, or rotating your roasted chestnuts on an open fire; then a glass of Malbec would be a great addition.
For savoury snacks like salty pretzels, olives, crisps and popcorn it’s good to balance out the flavour with a crisp, dry Sauvignon Blanc.
Buttery shortbread goes well with a chilled glass of Chardonnay while spicy gingerbread men team nicely with a glass of sweet White Zinfandel.
And of course, we can’t forget the mince pies. A bit like Christmas pudding, mince pies are best paired with fortified wines and warming mulled wine.
There you have it - a Christmas feast filled with cheese, desserts and lots of delicious wine. No matter what you pair your wine with, open a bottle, share with friends and be merry.