The Turkey is in the oven, the table is laid, Aunt Gladys is snoring on the sofa and you’re ready for an aperitif. But what are you pouring? Don’t worry we’ve got your back. Our Ultimate Guide to Christmas Food and Wine Pairing has some great ideas on what to drink with your Christmas menu. From Christmas Turkey with lal the trimmings to a Boxing Day Buffet. But if you want an easy option we’ve put together some Christmas wine cases designed to be enjoyed through the festive period.
There is no better way to kick start Christmas with a family breakfast and a glass of fizz. Whether you’re enjoying crumpets with smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, smashed avocado bagels, eggs benedict, mushrooms on sourdough toast or a bacon sandwich.
We love to start our Christmas day with a glass of fizz and the Stars Brut Reserva Cava from Castillo Perelada makes a brilliant alternative to Champagne.
With the presents open and dinner in the oven, it’s probably time for a drink to whet the appetite. Sherry is often associated with Christmas and is the perfect way to wake up your taste buds. We’re not talking about the sickly sweet sherry that sits in the back of the cupboard for grandma, we’re talking about the proper stuff. Specifically crisp, dry Manzanilla, made in the Andalusian Coastal town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Where the sea breeze blows salty air into the Bodegas where the sherry is maturing in oak barrels. This gives the Manzanilla fantastic salinity on the palate and is guaranteed to get your taste buds into gear.
Equipo Navazos are a group of friends scouring the bodegas of Jerez for forgotten barrels and hidden gems. What they find are unique and complex sherries in very limited quantities. I Think Manzanilla is a Christmas treat to enjoy whilst you can.
Oysters are a fundamental part of a French Christmas meal and it’s easy to understand why. Deliciously salty and incredibly moorish, serve with some shallot vinegar, lemon juice and a splash of tabasco. Champagne and Oysters are a match made in heaven. We love Gosset Brut Grand Reserve or if you want a real treat try their Grand Millésime Brut, there is no better way to start a Christmas meal.
A beautiful, smooth, velvety Chicken Liver Parfait served on Sourdough toast with a liberal squeeze of lemon is always a crowd pleaser. We’d recommend a Pinot Gris, dry we good acidity to cut through the parfait and minerality to interest the palate without dominating the parfait.
A Christmas classic in many households up and down the country, juicy fresh prawns with crisp iceberg lettuce generously covered in Marie Rose Sauce. We like to pair it with a light dry, Rosé with a bit of acidity to cut through the sauce and really help the prawns to be the star of the dish.
Good smoked salmon is just divine. A simple, no fuss Christmas starter that still has the wow factor, served with lemon and a bit of cracked black pepper. The salmon just melts in your mouth. It needs a white wine with good acidity to cut through the oily fish. Burgundy would be a classic so you could go for the Terroir de Nancelles Macon-Villages but if you want something a bit different we’d choose the delicious Albarino DO Rias Baixas, Mar de Frades from North West Spain.
Turkey is still the most popular choice for Christmas dinner, with over half of the country set to tuck in to Roast Turkey on Christmas Day.
A creamy Chardonnay like this Chablis from Domaine Michaut Freres is a great complement to Turkey, helping to balance out the meat, which can sometimes be a little dry. Good acidity in the wine will help to cut through the pigs in blankets and roast potatoes.
Pinot Noir always goes well with Turkey, if you want a treat then go for Burgundy and this Nuits St Georges will not disappoint but for those of us on a more modest budget then the Montsablé Pinot Noir from Pay d’Oc offers great value. Made in a similar style to Burgundy, it’ll be perfect for your Christmas table.
Goose is perhaps the traditional choice, it’s definitely a stronger flavour than turkey and is more similar to game than poultry. It is also a much fattier meat than turkey so requires a wine with good acidity. We think that a Rioja Reserva ticks these boxes and you can’t go wrong with the Rioja deAlto Reserva
Roast Ham is always popular in our house, not necessarily for Christmas dinner but it certainly makes a showing for festive breakfasts and boxing day lunches. An Australian Sémillon, such as Rocky Road Sauvignon Blanc / Sémillon by McHenry Hohnen, would pair well if your Ham has a sweeter glaze. Other wise a Syrah heavy Rhone blend would be delicious check out the Cairanne from Guillaume Gonnet.
Dunc’s desert island dish is slow roasted rib of beef with bone marrow sauce. Perfectly cooked and melts in the mouth whilst the sauce is like Bernaise with bells on. This dish demands elegant red and we’d go for a Claret like Bordeaux Superieur, Château Camarsac Vieilles Vignes but the Hauts de Janeil Rouge from South West France would also work well.
Cheese and Wine are such a great combination, the obvious choice is a good bottle of red, however there are other options too. Goats cheese goes really well with a Sauvignon Blanc especially one from Loire, try the Holy Snail. Whilst a complex, nutty, Oloroso sherry also works well as alternative wine to pair with Cheese. However since it is Christmas we feel compelled to go for a Port. Quinta do Infantado, 10-Year-Old Tawny Port is a fantastic option but if you feel like treating yourself Colheita Port from Quinta Do Crasto is my personal favourite port.
Packed with dried fruit and topped with flaming brandy, Christmas pudding is the traditional end to a Christmas meal. We’ve chosen the Domaine Cazes Rivesaltes Ambré to go with Christmas pudding. It is a delightfully complex wine with dried apricots, toasted hazelnuts and toffee coming through on the palate.
Another obligatory part of Christmas for many families is trifle. Rich and decadent cream, berries and sponge cake dripping in your favourite tipple what’s not to like. Our Botrytis Semillion is ideal, a sweet wine with good acidity to cut through the rich, velvety cream trifle. If sweet wines really aren’t your thing then a crisp sparkling wine like our Maison Antech, Crémant De Limoux would also work well here.
Enjoying a savoury nutty Christmas cake in front of the fire is what Christmas is all about. Tawny port is a great match, sharing that nutty complexity and with a bit of sweetness thrown in. You can’t go wrong with our Quinta do Infantado, 10-Year-Old Tawny Port.
What to do with all that left over turkey, many of us turn to the spice cupboard to reinvigorate our leftovers. Curry and wine is not always easy to match, aromatic whites often go well such as this Franz Haaz Gewurtztraminer, Trimbach Alsatian Riesling or Snapper Rock Pinot Gris.
A long relaxing boxing day lunch needs an easy drinking wine that will work with a variety of foods. Rose is always a good option on such occasions and Mougeottes rose is made for it. If you wanted a red then this is classic Beaujolais territory and Henry Fessy Brouilly ticks the box.