With Christmas Day fast approaching, many households will already be planning and shopping for their Christmas spreads and aiming for the perfect festive menu of delights. Christmas day and the dinner itself presents the ideal opportunity to try new wines with favourite, old or new recipes.
Whether you’re opting for traditional turkey, trying something different like lamb, or you’re vegan, one thing is for certain – you need the right wines on your table.
To ensure you select impeccable pairings this Christmas, Ben Revell, founder of online wine club Winebuyers has curated a delicious selection of bottles to complement every dish. Ranging from the Christmas Eve canapés to Christmas pudding, the below choices will guarantee this Christmas is a good one.
The pop of a cork at the start of a meal is always a great way to get the festivities off to a fun start.
Classic Christmas canapés, such as smoked salmon and cream cheese bellini’s or deep-fried bites, pair perfectly with bubbles. A Prosecco will cut smoothly through the fat and prepare the palate for the deluge of Christmas dinner!
A perfectly balanced, light refreshing Prosecco DOC Brut with a floral and mineral nose with a touch of citrus and a dry finish. After months of travelling and exploring Northern Italy, from the historic streets of Venice and across the luscious foothills of the Dolomite Mountains, The Emissary discovered what he was seeking: a truly impeccable prosecco.
Made from 100% Seyval Blanc, this is a lovely sparkling wine with soft caramel and mandarin aromas, alongside a zesty blood orange flavour and slight elderflower undertones, finished with a macadamia nut. Bluebell Vineyard Estates is a family-run vineyard and winery from Sussex with a passion for producing world-class still and sparkling wines.
Turkey / Vegan nut roast
If you’re serving both a traditional Christmas Turkey and a Vegan Nut Roast on the table, you’ll be pleased to know both options work wonderfully with the same wines. A medium-bodied Pinot Noir is a great all-around choice and also pairs well with Christmas dinner classics such as roast potatoes and Brussel sprouts.
If white takes your fancy over red, a white Burgundy or similar full-bodied whites will be most complimentary due to the meat’s low-fat content and subtle hidden depth of flavour – It’s also great for basting your turkey as well!
Barun Marquis, Croatia 2017 £17.41
Grapes: Pinot Noir
For a wine with outstanding quality that offers something different, look no further than this Croatian bottle of Pinot Noir. With aromas of sour cherries, strawberries and dark chocolate, it pairs well with both meat and vegan/vegetarian dishes thanks to its full-body and gentle and fine acidity.
Fresh citrus, floral tones and a good acidity make this an easy to drink full-bodied wine. A light gold/ yellow in colour, this Chardonnay is characteristic of a Saint-Véran; intense peach, smoky minerality and a touch of spicy oak. Mouth-wateringly moreish, it is an ideal bottle to pair with both your Christmas day Turkey, and nut roast.
An increasingly popular alternative to the traditional turkey, Lamb is a red meat with delicate flavours, so choose a fruit-driven red that won’t overpower. A smooth Merlot, a delicate Pinot Noir, or a young and fruit-driven Bordeaux. Even a Syrah from a cooler region will pair beautifully.
Grapes: Pinot Noir (30%), Rondo (30%), Triomphe D’Alsace (20%), Acolon
A rather unusual and wonderful blend of English red grape varieties have been combined to produce this delicious and smooth British red wine, bursting with red berry aromas, cooked plum and black cherry. Smooth and rich on the pallet, the soft dark berry flavours are rounded by beautifully soft tannins. The unique and unusual blend of grape varietals work superbly, creating an English red wine with depth and a lasting finish.
For those who enjoy a red meat over the festive season, Beef is often a table favourite. Select a fragrant Cabernet Sauvignon to accompany your topside and wow your guests, as the beef’s fat and proteins will elevate the wines fruiter and spicier notes.
This wine has a rich nose of ripple blackcurrants and black cherry. The palate is full bodied, yet soft and easy going on the taste buds. At just £9 a bottle, this Cabernet Sauvignon is not one to be overlooked this Christmas.
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine has a ruby red colour, drifting to violet, with aromatic and floral notes. The taste is complex, elegant and suitable for aging. Only 1,200 bottles of this exceptional wine are produced each year, making this a perfect treat for Christmas.
Boxing Day Ham
A Boxing Day classic, when thinking about your cured ham or gammon joint look to a fruity, sweeter wine which can cut through the salty richness of your meat. A fresh red wine with a nice acidity such as a red Beaujolais, or a dry white such as Riesling or Furmint will make this a Boxing Day meal you won’t forget.
This award winner is a very fruity-forward Beaujolais with smooth tannins and a well-balanced structure. With a blend of fruity aromas such as cherry followed by juicy red currants and alpine strawberries, this is a wine hard to not enjoy.
Grapes: Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Harslevelu
This dry and medium-bodied white, is fresh and zesty on the palate with vibrant acidity and mineral finish. Described as a quirky choice, this bottle is perfect for Sauvignon Blanc fans who want to experience an aromatic and vivacious alternative to their usual tipple. Fantastic acidity which cuts through the pork fat and cleanses the palate.
What is Christmas without an after-dinner cheese board? There are many styles of cheese from mild to very powerful so there are plenty of pairing options.
For a pungent blue cheese, a sweet wine like a Tawny port is a great choice while a nutty Chardonnay works better with a Gruyere. For a good all-round choice that isn’t too specific, try a sweet and spicy Malbec.
Quinta Do Portal Fine Tawny Port, £11.50
Grapes: Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca
With a dried fruit and raisin aroma, this is a smooth and well-balanced fine Tawny Port. An ideal pairing for cheese when served chilled, this wine works well as an apéritif but also is a great option as a dessert wine due to its lightness on the palate.
Purplish red in colour with intense floral aromas and a very fruity character, this juicy Malbec recalls ripe plums and blackcurrants, along with subtle notes of spice and violets. Medium bodied and well-balanced, this Malbec is a fine pick in general, but is perfectly suited with a Welsh Caerphilly or crumbly Lancashire.
With Christmas pudding, people can either serve something equally intense (sherry or sweet wine), or go for a lighter fresher contrast. A crispy Chardonnay is one choice that is easy on the palate, or you could even try a sparkling rose. Sherry also works particularly well with a Yuletide chocolate log.
Grapes: Pedro Ximenez
A white grape, producing a delicious caramelised and sticky Sherry, this is a bottle that is a match made in Christmas pudding heaven. Rich, sweet and smooth on the palate, the complex flavours of caramel, fig and dried fruits make this the ideal closing Christmas tipple. Pairs perfectly a scoop of brandy butter ice cream with PX drizzled on top.
This bottle has required much thought, contemplation and understanding, to achieve the right texture, sweetness, balance of acidity and length. Notes of caramel and marmalade on the nose is followed by hints of moreish quince and lemon sherbet. A good acid balance ensures a lithe dessert wine that goes well with sweet puddings, as well as blue cheese.
New Year’s Eve Bubbles
A tradition that dates back over 1,500 years, although its popularity only really began a few centuries ago, everyone knows that Champagne is a must on New Year’s Eve!
Grapes: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier
Described as “the soul of vintage Champagne in the body of non-vintage”, its roasted, toasty notes give way to almonds, cocoa bean scents, no doubt sparking curiosity from those who taste it. On the palate, this wine is rich, generous and silky. The Chardonnay dominates initially, giving way to a more concentrated red fruit flavour from the Pinot grapes. The aftertaste lingers on, making this Champagne enormously appealing and satisfying. This also matches well with aperitifs. Exceptional value for those on a budget.
Grapes: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier
This cuvée has a bright and golden colour and the nose is dominated by the freshness of the fruit. The Chardonnay brings finesse sustained by notes of yellow fruits, such as peach and Mirabelle plum. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied and generous, with a structure owed to the Pinot Noir. Founded in Ay in 1584, Champagne Gosset is the oldest wine house in Champagne. The Grande Réserve is the true signature of the House.
If you’re looking to save a little money after the Christmas period, Crémant has the characteristics of Champagne without breaking the bank. Alternatively, go local with a brilliant bubbly made in England.
Grapes: Malbec, Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois
Made from Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois grapes and produced using a traditional method, this wine is characterised by a fine, frothy mousse and the classic ‘toastiness’ resulting from the wine being left exposed to the yeasts for a minimum of 9 months. Next to neighbouring Champagne, this is France’s best appellation for the production of quality sparkling wine.
Wellhayes Vineyard, Sparkling White, England £20.00
Grapes: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier,
A unique and rare sparkling wine from Wellhayes Vineyard, produced in limited quantities from a beautiful, small, south-facing vineyard in Devon. Crisp and fresh, this sparkling wine is very enjoyable and makes for a perfect aperitif. Light in body and rich with texture, this pairs perfectly with the finest smoked salmon if you fancy some New Year’s canapes. Also suitable for vegetarians.
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