Christmas is all about the food, from turkey and stuffing to mince pies and Christmas puds. Although often an afterthought, carefully chosen wines can play an important part in ensuring that your festive meals reach their full potential. In case you don’t know your Chenin Blanc from your Chardonnay, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to pairing each stage of your Christmas meal with the perfect wine.
Champagne is the ultimate Christmas meal opener. Always made in France, Champagne has made a name for itself since the 17th century due to its associations with royalty and the upper classes. Produced using grapes from the Champagne region, this wine works well with flavourful appetizers such as sticky sausages or smoked cheeses and crackers. These sparkling wines are also perfect paired with seafood appetisers like prawns or crab cakes.
Riesling is one of the lesser-known whites, originally from the Rhine region of Germany. Traditional German varieties of the wine have an excellent balance of acidity with a touch of sweetness, which work well with soup courses or starters with creamy base notes. Riesling has the ability to compliment flavours without overpowering them, and is also great at enhancing spicy notes within your starter course.
Choosing which wine to pair with your main course can vary dependant on which meat your meal in centred around. With lighter, typical Christmas dinner fare such as turkey or chicken a Chardonnay with warm, toasty notes is the best partner for your meal. Gone off-piste with a seafood main course? Chardonnay is still the best option. Look for varieties from California for a fresh take on this woody white wine.
If you’ve opted for a richer, dark meat such as prime rib or a classic beef wellington then try a complex Bordeaux. The full-bodied and tannic nature of Bordeaux reds pair well with the rich fatty meats, as the fats in the food softens the tannins of the wine on the palate – creating deep, delicious and well-rounded flavors.
When it comes to festive puds a sticky, Tawny Port is a Christmas essential – particularly if you’ve gone for a traditional dessert featuring rich Christmas pudding or classic mince pies. Ranging from sweet to medium dry, Tawny Ports are a classic dessert tipple that have usually been aged in barrels for over two years. If you’ve gone for a fresher, fruity dessert with acidic notes, then a sweet wine from the diverse Loire Valley region of France is a surefire winner.
Give your festive wines a starring role this Christmas by selecting the best option for each course, then sit back and watch as they work their magic. A good wine selection is a surefire way to elevate your Christmas meal to delicious new heights. Bottoms up!