How To Perfectly Pair Wine With Your Christmas Meal

We are fast approaching one the most anticipated days of the year. Christmas Day: where no justification is required for indulging yourself with a fizz breakfast; be it champagne, premium cava or Crémant. At this point the type or name of the wine is irrelevant. Following breakfast, bottles of reds and whites share the table with roasted meats. Then comes the cheese board, not to mention a variety of desserts. And choosing wines that pair with each of these Christmas offerings can feel like a mission impossible.

However this is where SquareGrapes can help. Our website will guide you through the wine selection process so that each part of your feast feels just right.

First things first; a decadent breakfast with something fizzy. Champagne has traditionally set the tone of the day.

However a premium Cava or Crémant works just as well, either on its own or with nibbles and canapés.

However the taste of champagne, or that of its sparkling cousins, is not to everyone’s taste. If that’s you, then we would recommend a bottle of Gašper, Pinot Grigio from Slovenia or the Pinot Grigio, Festival, DOC, Italy. These wines are dry and fresh with a smooth after taste.

Now that we are in the mood, it's time to sit down and start the one of the most special meals of the year!

Popular choices for starters include shellfish, smoked salmon on toasted bread, scallops, stuffed mushrooms and cream cheese based entrées – and all this good food requires good wine.

  • Shellfish is known to go well with zesty fizzy wines. So why not pair your shellfish platter with champagne or for less expensive options, a great bottle of Cava or Crémant would certainly be a match made in heaven. If you prefer any other accompaniment for your shellfish starter, then a dry Riesling either from France or New Zealand would also do the trick.
  • Dry Rieslings with their vivid green apple flavours work especially well. Other options are a Sancerre or a Sauvignon Blanc from Loire or South Africa which due to their minerality and their delicate gooseberry fruit, are perfect for simply served smoked salmon.
  • Scallops , whether you prefer them steamed, seared or grilled, have a deep, natural richness flavour which pairs best with an acidic wine to keep your palate refreshed after every sip. Perfumed acidic wines may overpower the delicate scallop flavours. Chablis, Dry Riesling or a quality Pinot Grigio would enhance your starter.

Stuffed mushrooms or goat cheese entrées are a prominent vegetarian option for starters.

  • Stuffed mushrooms go down nicely with a French Pinot Noir, a Romanian or New world Pinot Noir.
  • For goat cheese, we believe a good Sancerre or a Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa would match perfectly.

And so the time has arrived to showpiece your hard work, as you place the perfectly cooked turkey on to the table. Now it's just a matter of matching a wine to bring your turkey in to foreground as it plays centre stage to your Christmas Dinner.

A white wine with ripe fruits and a creamy, nutty taste would be a perfect accompaniment. Chardonnay would certainly be the obvious choice. For a New World Chardonnay , a Chilean or Australian Chardonnay would make a good pair. The weight and the creaminess of the Chardonnay adds that wow factor to the well cooked crispy turkey skin.

Red wine fans, we would start with the Valpolicela, Beaujolais, or Pinot Noir. They would complement the turkey just as nicely. The soft tannins and dry and sweet notes after each sip, would not overpower a delicate white meat.

If roast lamb is your on your menu then we recommend Pinot Noir. It silky tannins and balanced acidity make it the number one choice for more flavoursome meat joints. A Rioja too, with its soft tannins and oak notes, would also do the job. Why not try a Rioja Rosado Izadi Larrosa with your lamb? Underrated Portuguese wines from Dao, Douro or Alentejo are also a great contender.

If roast beef is your choice then let’s bring the reds to the table. For a big red with spicy notes and complex aromas, try a French Syrah from Rhone. The Brézème, Le Grand Chêne, Domaine Lombard would be the perfect selection. An Italian Chianti and some of the New World wines such as the Barossa Shiraz, Tempranillo or Nero d’avola from Australia would also pair perfectly.

With the celebration now in full swing, the desserts, in all their forms, enter the stage for the final act.

Let’s start with the classic Cheese and wine combination. Don’t let your cheese be spoilt by a bad bottle.

Rule of the thumb: mature cheeses are better paired with bold reds, while for rich and creamy cheeses, dry wines are better suited.

Strong cheeses like Roquefort, Epoisses de Bourgogne, Pont l’Évêque or Munster are best paired with dry and perfumed wines to cut through the richness and strong cheese aromas. Wines like Torrents, Colombard, Viognier and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc would pair very well.

Soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert are a perfect match with Pinot Noir while Goat cheeses and Feta would certainly go well with a Sauvignon Blanc.

Classic matches include Cheddar with fruity red wines like a Barossa Shiraz or a dry Chablis. Stilton or other blue cheeses would partner nicely with Offley, Forrester Reserve Port.

And For Those With A Sweet Tooth...

Dark chocolate desserts: Chocolate can be tricky to pair with wine because of its bitter taste and some element of tannins. A bold red wine or Port wine, ideally full-bodied, rich and packed with black fruit flavours would match perfectly.

Christmas cake, pudding and mince pies: Many of these desserts contain alcohol, as well as being rich, heavily textured and strong in flavour. They need a wine which can take on the richness and overpowering flavours. A vintage port wine would do just that and would be great served alongside your favourite Christmas treat.

White chocolate or cream based desserts: These are best matched with fortified styles. Creamy, nutty, complex flavours go together and cut through the richness of white chocolate.

This of course is a guide and none of these rules are set in stone. We believe drinking the wine you like is important too. However this guide could lead you to experiment with new food and wine combinations that could in future change your dinners forever.

If you still have not found what you’re looking for, why not have a look on our website or contact us and we would happily advise on how to make your Christmas Day this year as mouth-watering as possible.

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