The best wine pairings to go with every Christmas dish
There’s nothing quite like a fine wine to set off your Christmas lunch in style.
Whether you’re having turkey, goose or even something vegetarian for the Big Day, we’ve got the perfect pairing for you.
Alongside tipples to complement starter and desert, keep the bubbly flowing with our picks of festive fizz.
Smoked Salmon: Chablis Jean-Marc Brocard Sainte-Claire
Smoked salmon may rock a Christmas table, but it’s quite tricky to partner. High-smoke content and an oily texture are the downfall of many a well-meaning wine match, though it’s nothing a Chablis can’t handle.
Smoked salmon and Chablis share a smoky note and a crystalline purity. Anyone thinking gravlax for the big day, a saline kick on the finish makes this Chardonnay a slam dunk with anything mildly herbal.
Buy it for £14.95 from The Wine Society.
Pâté: Litmus Orange Bacchus
Whether its fish, meat or veggie, pâtés and terrines can be a headache for wine-pairing. Go ahead and open a white, rosé and red – as if we needed an excuse – but there is a one-size-fits-all solution.
Orange wine is white wine, with the grape skins left on in the style of a red. This gives it red wine-like complexity that increases its food-friendly credentials, injecting this quince and hazelnut-like English Bacchus with proficient pâté-pairing powers.
Buy it for £15 from Winebuyers.
Veggie: Cellier les Dauphins Côtes du Rhône Blanc
We’re grappling with a fanfare of flavours when we take on veggie dishes, think herb-encrusted nut roasts, spiced veg through to savoury tarts with a touch of mushroom umami. It’s tricky to find the right wine candidate, though a white Rhône would be the savvy selection.
Cellier les Dauphins is a known name in the affordable Rhône wine game, a juicy blend that plugs food flavours into the mains like a set of flashing Christmas lights.
Buy it for £8 from Tesco.
Turkey: Edouard Delaunay Septembre Pinot Noir
Word to the wise, always match to the most prominent ingredients on the festive plate. Sprouts, cranberry sauce and stuffing are Exhibit A, the main offenders, and Pinot Noir is the agent to nail the brief.
Ripe, juicy with a roundness and soft tannins, Pinot will pacify the most pronounced of trimmings, without clashing or overpowering. This is a modern twist on a classic Burgundy, like a boozy punnet of blackberries, blueberries and black cherries.
Buy it for £16.99 from Majestic.
Goose: Barolo Ca’ Solare 2016
If you’re plumping for goose, I salute your plucky attitude, get it? Your adventurous choice will cash in when accompanied by a wine with pumping acidity and a fine display of fruit.
Gamier than turkey, fattier than duck, goose’s Goldilocks wine match is the iconic Barolo red from north-west Italy. Aldi’s is a gold-winner at a super-sharp price, delivering just the right amount of black cherry and perfumed violet notes to smash the match.
Buy it for £12.99 from Aldi (online only).
Christmas Pudding: Vin Santo Santa Cristina, Tuscany, Italy
There’s a lot going on in a Christmas pudding, packed full of orange peel, nuts, dried fruit, spices and don’t forget the fiery brandy coating. It’s like playing a game of flavour whack-a-mole for wine-matching.
Vin Santo is made from drying Trebbiano grapes for five months on straw mats, bringing out super-ripe notes of caramel-drizzled clementine peel and dried figs. Originally produced for communion, it means ‘holy wine’ and certainly tastes heavenly.
Buy it for £13.99 from Waitrose.
Cheese: Akashi-Tai Honjozo Sake (Tokubetsu)
Serving sake at Christmas is like getting that edgy new hairdo which looked good in the picture. The cheese course is the time to take a risk.
As offbeat pairings go, sake is a smart match for some Cambozola, with a complementary balance of ripe pear and malty salinity. Pronounced Ack-Ash-Ee-Tie Hon-Joe-Zo, if you nail it on the first go, you deserve a bottle.
Buy it for £13.95 from The Whisky Exchange.
Drinks for the day
Festive Fizz: Blanquette de Limoux Antech Reserve
Banquette is the new Crémant, some even consider it better value. Both are our Christmas life-rafts, thrifty bottles to ensure festive popping sounds aplenty. Keeping a case or two around the house is a smart way of covering ourselves through Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve.
Blanquette is considered to be the first sparkling wine ever made in France, meaning ‘little white one’ and tastes of green apples, lemon sherbet with a slug of sugared almonds.
Buy it for £10.95 from The Wine Society.
Big Day Bubbles: Della Vite Prosecco Superiore DOCG NV
Prosecco is having a glow-up in a bid to shed its cheap-as-chips image with a new line in luxe. Brands like Della Vite – the sparkly spawn of the Delevingne sisters, Chloe, Poppy and Cara – are in it to change the game.
I’m usually wary of celebrity juice, but this is a DOCG (the highest designation of quality among Italian wines) and an impressive one, meaning only the best fruit and production methods are used, which come through in the refined chamomile and brioche-laden mousse.
Buy it for £26 from Harvey Nichols.
Down-time: Quinta do Noval Ten-Year-Old-Tawny, Douro, Portugal
It’s a cliché, but Christmas doesn’t get better than a sprawling fireside with a tawny port. From the producers of Nacional, the world’s most expensive port, this titan of the tawny style is on offer at Ocado.
Assembled from various blends aged in barrel for an average of ten years, it takes on its unique hue from oxidation in cask. Strap yourself in for some impressive, dried cherry, liquidised date and walnut whip action.
Buy it for £16.66 from Ocado.
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