Line Up the Perfect Wine Selection for Your Christmas Dinner

The holidays — a time for joy, laughter, and, of course, good food and wine! As Christmas draws near, it is the perfect season to plan a delightful array of wines to complement your festive feasts. Whether you are a wine enthusiast or simply dipping your toes into the world of vino, preparing the wine lineup for your festive meal is fun for you and your guests!

Planner’s Golden Rules

1. Getting the portion right.

The key is to keep the wine flowing without drowning the cups. A standard 750ml bottle can pour approximately 6 regular glasses or 8 smaller ones. Start with moderate pours, your guests can always come back for refills. Aim for about half to a full bottle per guest, with a bit extra in reserve for unforeseen circumstances or those who relish an extra pour!

2. Simplicity is sophistication when it comes to wine selection.

When you are in the middle of the festive chaos, opt for 3-5 wines at most. For a no-brainer, strike the perfect balance between one sparkling, one white, and one red. 

A Quick Food and Wine Pairing Guide

Multiple combinations can elevate your festive table. Here are some examples of how to pair your meals with different styles of wines.

Starter

Christmas wines

Kick off your Christmas dinner with a touch of fizz! Move beyond Champagne to explore Prosecco, Cremant, or a sparkling rose to set the tone for a joyous evening. Pair pate and terrines with juicy, light reds like Gamay, Zweigelt, or Poulsard. For oysters and shellfish, delicate white wine options like Blanc de Blancs Champagne, Melon de Bourgogne or a Gruner Veltliner can enhance the salinity without an overpowering palate. Seafood like scallops and lobster with subtle sweetness pairs beautifully with Chenin Blanc and Blanc de Noirs Champagnes. Bruno Paillard Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru offers mouth-watering attack acidity and extra fine bubbles, along with a salinity long finish with red cherry notes that will compliment the complex flavour in your pate en croute or duck rillettes. 

Main Course

Christmas wine
Turkey

When it comes to pairing wine with turkey, you might want to consider a rustic yet juicy Mission, Trousseau, or youthful Cabernet Franc to complement the cranberry sauce’s vibrancy. Alternatively, you can opt for a rich and round white Burgundy or California Chardonnay, which will add a buttery concentration with freshness to the dish.

Goose

When it comes to pairing wine with roasted goose, it is best to go for a dry or off-dry Gewurztraminer or Alsace Pinot Gris. These wines have an aromatic and spicy warmth that complements the dish perfectly. The spice notes and electric acidity from the wine help to cut through the fat from the juicy goose. If you prefer red wine, Pinot Noir is a lighter option that pairs well. Alternatively, you can choose a Merlot or Syrah-based wine with weight and freshness and a medium tannin to balance the dish.

Roast Beef or Lamb

Classic Christmas reds shine with roasted red meat, particularly mature Bordeaux blend or Sangiovese in Chianti. For lamb, Rioja or a Cote du Rhone make excellent choices and easily a crowd pleaser for the table. 

Nut Roast

Packed with layers of sweet and savoury flavours of nuts, vegetables, lentils, dried fruit and lots of fresh herbs in nut roasts, you will want a rich and complex wine. Jura Savagnin and Viognier complement nut roast well. For extra nuttiness, pour a glass of oxidised wines like Vin Jaune – Jean-Luc Mouillard Chateau Chalon or rich Rioja white wine – Panoramico “O” Blanco, and expect an explosion of umami and nuttiness on your palate!

After-Dinner Delights

Cheese Course

Pair Stilton with Sauternes or Tawny Ports, and soft cheeses like goat’s milk with Sauvignon Blanc. Parmesan pairs well with a robust Italian red, while hard sheep’s cheese, such as Manchego matches well with Cote du Rhone white and a skin-contact wine from Alsace or Lebanon. Sept Skin-Contact Obeideh from Lebanon is opulent with a mouthwatering acidity, along with notes of bitter almonds and honey, perfect to go with your Christmas cheese board.

christmas cheese wine

Pudding 

As the last course concludes and the conversation lingers, enchant your guests with a delightful after-dinner drink. Sweet wines like fortified wines, a glass of port or even a soothing nightcap add the final touch of warmth and charm to the evening’s festivities. It is the cherry on top, a perfect way to cap off an evening filled with merriment and good cheer.

Sauternes with dessert

Go from light to bold

It is always a good idea to start your meal with lighter food and wine options, and then move on to bolder ones. As you progress through the festive feast, you can align your wine selection with the food. There is no strict rulebook to follow, but the gradual transition ensures that your guests are less likely to be overwhelmed by the heavy alcohol content and rich flavours from the bold wines. This way, they can enjoy the party throughout.

As you prepare to gather your loved ones around the table, take a moment to curate a wine selection that enhances the festive spirit. Curate a splendid Christmas dinner filled with laughter, cherished moments, and a delightful array of wines!

Still struggling to choose the wines to go with your festive menu?

Don’t worry, we have a solution for you!Emily Klomp, North Rep Wanderlust Wine

Meet Emily, our newest member of the team! Emily was the Head Sommelier at Manchester Green Michelin Star – Where The Light Gets in for 4 years before joining the team, also named as the top 100 Sommeliers by Sommelier Edit in 2023.

Drop her your Christmas menu at emily@wanderlustwine.co.uk and she will curate a unique wine lineup for you. It is like having your personal sommelier create a festive dining experience at home, especially for you this Christmas!

This Blog post is written by Sharon Wong
Consumer Sales and Marketing Manager of Wanderlust Wine 

Sharon is the the driving force behind our website, wine club, marketing activities, and Wanderlust Wine events. 

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