Christmas food and wine matching guide
Planning your Christmas Day feast shouldn’t be a chore, so to make it a breeze we’ve put together this easy to follow Christmas food and wine matching guide.
Matching wine and food is as much about personal taste as anything else, and you may have your own family traditions, however some tried and tested pairings can be a good way to ensure your Christmas Day is one to remember.
Read below for our tips and start planning your most delicious Christmas yet!
If you were enjoying it entirely on its own, roast turkey would be one of the easiest ingredients in the world to match. You could drink your favourite white, red, rosé or even sparkling wine with it and it would work fine.
When turkey is served with a number of different accompaniments it can be a little complex to match wines to. With full-flavoured, fruity, spicy stuffing, tart cranberry sauce and an array of vegetables there are a lot of different flavours to take in, so choose something full and fruity that can stand up to so many flavours.
Turkey is medium weight so any white wine needs to have the body to match and this is why Chardonnay, Viognier and Pinot Gris are a great – all three are fuller-bodied dry whites with richer flavours.
Turkey is also lower in fat (hence why it needs basting), so it needs a wine with bright fruit and low level of tannin. Smooth, fresh and juicy wines like Grenache, Shiraz Viognier and Pinot Noir make great partners or if you’re in the mood for bubbles try a Sparkling red!
Oaked Chardonnay is a blissful match with a simple roast chicken and also a good choice if the chicken is seasoned with tarragon or served with a creamy sauce.
If you have a slightly spicy stuffing or one with fruit like apricots in it, a rich white wine like Viognier is a good choice.
As for reds, Pinot Noir is a good choice for chicken served with its own juices or with truffles, and the generous sweetness of a Grenache is perfect if the chicken is accompanied with a traditional meaty gravy.
If you’ve decided to serve goose rather than turkey this Christmas you’ve already decided to be adventurous. So you could arguably be adventurous with your choice of drink too.
Goose is more strongly flavoured than turkey and is more like game but quite a bit fattier which means it’s essential to look for a wine that has a fair level of acidity. Pinot Noir offers a fantastic pairing, but select one with some sweet, silky fruit.
Baked glazed ham
Baked glazed ham has three things to contend with – the saltiness, the spice of the glaze, and the fat content.
A sweet glaze needs a ripe and fruity wine with juicy fruit flavours to offset the saltiness of the ham. Riesling with its lime cordial flavours, Rose´ with raspberry nuances or the lemon curd flavours of Semillon all work well (think of the classic ham and pineapple combination – salty and sweet).
If you prefer reds choose wines with a lot of fruit and not too much tannin. Ripe reds like Merlot and Shiraz are plump and rich with red and black fruits that compliment the spice of the glaze and offset the salt.
Citrus fruits are a natural accompaniment to seafood – the acidity offsets the richness of seafood and the sweetness compliments their delicate flavours.
White wines such as Riesling, Semillon and Vermentino are all perfect matches because of their citrus flavours, mouth-watering and energetic acidity.
Fresh prawns have a delicate flavour so the wine should simply act like a squeeze of lemon hence Semillon with its fine, piercing acidity and lemon flavour, is the perfect accompaniment.
Young, crisp Vermentino goes well with so many fish dishes, as well as oysters, raw shellfish and cold, seafood antipasti.
Dry Rieslings from the Clare and Eden Valley have a distinctive limey twist that makes them a particularly good match for spicy seafood dishes.
Or why not serve an entrée of smoked salmon with Champagne or Sauvignon Blanc for a match made in heaven.
There is an argument that you don't need anything to drink with the classic Christmas pudding, especially if you've flamed it with brandy or served it with a brandy sauce, but if you fancy a small glass of something sweet and delicious, a dessert wine with a touch of orange or apricot such as late harvest or botrytis-affected wine make the perfect match.
Mince pies are very much like Christmas pudding and Christmas cake so you could drink much the same sort of wine with them. But tradition obviously plays a part in terms of what most people expect and they do pair particularly well with fortified wines like Tokay, sweet Sherry or Madeira.
For a trifle with jelly, custard and cream, a sweeter style, spritzy wine perfect. If it is a classic Sherry trifle, depending on how much is already added to it, sherry is obviously an option.