With Christmas just a few short days away, we thought that it would be a good idea to take a look at some of the wines that you should have on your table when the holiday season is finally upon us.
There are many choices that you can make, some of which are standards, whereas others may be a little less expected. Here we will highlight a couple of wines for each course of the meal, so that you have plenty to choose between.
Your starter will usually be a fairly light course and shouldn’t contain any foods that are particularly rich. Of course, this means that the stage is set for a nice, light aperitif, so either of the following wines should do the trick:
You had to know that a good bottle of Champagne would make this list, as it is practically required at any festive gathering. Popping the cork on a bottle of bubbly and sharing it out amongst your friends, whether it’s at the dinner or simply during a Christmas party, is one of the true joys of the holiday season so it is always worth having a bottle of Champagne or two handy for the big occasion.
Of course, if you would rather stick with Italian wines for your Christmas starter, the perfect alternative to Champagne is Prosecco. Both of fizzy white wines that have a nice, light taste that sets you up perfectly for the meal that is going to follow. The only slight word of warning that you need to keep in mind when it comes to Prosecco is that you need to ensure that the bottle you have has actually come from an Italian wine company and that you have one of the higher quality varieties if you really wish to get the most out of it.
The wine that you choose for the main course of your Christmas meal is going to vary based on what you are actually having. Whether it is the traditional turkey that adorns your plate or a meal that contains a lot of red meat, there are plenty of wines that can match up with the food.
A nice bottle of Amarone is perfect as something of a gateway wine that can be enjoyed with both rich red meats and poultry. While it is beautifully complex, the wine is also not so rich that it will overpower the turkey and veg on a more traditional Christmas plate. Instead, it is a great all-rounder that will really help to complement practically any type of main course during a Christmas meal.
If you prefer to go the white wine route with your meal, you need to make sure that you pick something that has a little bit of an edge to it, else it may get overwhelmed by the combination of flavours caused by the meat and any particularly rich vegetables. A good Sauvignon Blanc is a great choice for any main Christmas meal that includes chicken or turkey, though if the dish has a lot of red meats on it, or particularly rich vegetables, you may want to consider going towards a stronger red wine so that the drink doesn’t completely fall by the wayside. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from having a glass of each to accompany different mouthfuls, though this may get a little convoluted.
If you have decided to eschew the traditional meal and have instead opted to eat a piece of poultry that is somewhat richer in flavour than turkey, such as duck or pheasant, you will need to have a decent and fruity red wine that is able to complement the richness of these flavours and ensure that you get the most out of the meal. A nice Pinot Noir should do the trick in these cases, as it is sweet enough to compete with the richness of the duck or pheasant, without being so overpowering that you lose the taste of it entirely.
A good dessert wine is essential for your Christmas meal. By the time you have finished the main course it is likely that you’re going to be almost completely stuffed, with just enough room for dessert to follow. This means that the wine you choose should not be particularly heavy or complex, as you may not be able to stomach it after having consumed so much earlier in the meal.
A good port is perfect for any dessert that involves chocolate or makes heavy use of fruits. It is a nice, sweet wine that goes down exceptionally easily, plus many people consider it to be something of a traditional Christmas wine anyway. Remember that in choosing your dessert wine you are going to have to pick something that complements the richer flavours of the dessert, which means you need something very sweet to properly complement the dish. A good Port, preferably of the Aged Tawny variety, will fit the bill quite nicely.
If you prefer a white wine to go with your meal, you still need to find something that meets the same conditions of being sweet enough to complement the dessert properly. This beautiful sparkling white wine not only makes a great alternative to Prosecco or Champagne, but also features a much sweeter taste that makes it a better choice for the later dishes in the meal.
The Final Word
We hope that this guide has given you a better idea of the wines that you should consider when pairing each course of the meal with an appropriate drink. Of course, this is just a small selection of potential wines that you can choose from, so if none of the above suit your personal tastes you can always experiment to find a wine that does. The key is simply finding the wines that you enjoy the most and working out how they complement the meal. Whatever you choose, we at Xtrawine hope that you have a wonderful Christmas.