Planning a Christmas menu in 2020 is hard enough, so having to think about what wine to buy can just add unnecessary stress to the situation.
When thinking about the best wines to pair with Christmas dinner, you have to consider precisely what you’ll be cooking, to ensure you get the best food and wine experience. Fortunately, we’ve created the perfect guide for you, to ensure you know exactly what wine to pair with your Christmas dinner this year. Take one more thing off your to-do list and find your perfect pairing!
Turkey has proven to be a dish that confuses most wine-lovers. Considering it isn’t the classical white or red meat, knowing what to pair with it can be rather challenging. Fortunately, turkey is extremely versatile and works well with both white and red wine. So here are some wine and Christmas dinner ideas.
While turkey is quite rich and intense, it is not a meal that would work well with heavy, robust red wines. The meat is still quite delicate and needs a wine that will match its intensity without overwhelming it. So, opt for lighter red wines that don’t have weighty tannins.
Pinot Noir is the best wine with Christmas Turkey dinners. Not only is it a wine that often over-delivers on flavor and complexity, but is subtle enough to allow the turkey dish to be showcased.
When selecting a Pinot Noir, try for a younger wine that has more vibrant fruit notes and acidity. The older wines tend to develop an earthier trait and lose some acidity. But with a dish like a turkey, the acidity and fresh fruit notes are what works best with the dish.
Gamay Noir has solidified quite the reputation for being a fresh, fruity and easy red wine to drink. When producing Beaujolais wines, the Beaujolais Nouveau and Beaujolais Villages wines are most renowned for their freshness, easy-drinking style and affordability. The levels of acidity and freshness these wines have make them ideal for balancing out a dish as rich as turkey.
When it comes to selecting a white wine, it is essential to know that the fresher, the better. Turkey is known to be relatively fatty and incredibly rich and doesn’t do well with equally rich and buttery white wines. Therefore, a white wine that has high levels of acidity is the best choice, since it cuts through that richness with every sip. So, look out for varieties like:
Sauvignon Blanc is historically known for its freshness and puckering acidity. This is why it is the best white wine with the Christmas dinner.
When selecting the perfect Sauvignon Blanc, opt for wines that are from cooler regions, where the crispness and acidity are even more pronounced, like Marlborough in New Zealand and Rapel Valley in Chile.
Riesling is an exciting variety to use for food pairings, as it is a chameleon-variety that is produced in several styles.
The variety, especially when grown in Alsace and Germany, is known for its high levels of acidity and an incredible range of aromas. In many regions around the world, the variety is also used to produce a semi-sweet style of wine that also works exceptionally well as a food-pairing wine. These off-dry styles work with a variety of spicy and sweet dishes.
So, if there is some spiciness to your turkey dish this year, be sure to try an off-dry style of German Riesling for a special Christmas menu in 2020.
Pinot Gris, also known as Pinot Grigio, is a white variety most famous in France and Italy. The variety has the crispness and the freshness to pair well with Turkey, while often displaying a slight refreshing spritz feeling in the mouth.
Roasted Pork and Apple Sauce
Roasted Pork with apple sauce is a Christmas dinner idea that you don’t want to be missing out on. It offers something slightly off the beaten track, while still staying in the Christmas theme.
Pork is another protein that has proven challenging to pair but is another dish that does well with certain white and red wines. Just avoid heavy red wines and steer clear of wooded white wines to avoid the meal being overwhelmed.
Pork, with its delicate texture and flavor, requires a wine with equal delicacy. The best wine with this Christmas dinner will complement the dish, without overpowering the flavors of the meal.
Pinot Noir, with the low tannins and relatively high acidity, offers the same concept as with turkey. Pork is one of the fattiest cuts of meat, which requires a red wine that has the acidity to cut through the richness. Younger Pinot Noirs do that exceptionally well.
The white wines that pair well with Turkey have also proven to work with fatty pork dishes. So, feel free to indulge in any of the wines listed with the turkey dish. Alternatively, you can try a Chenin Blanc with your roasted pork.
Although this isn’t a common white variety, these wines are incredibly aromatic, versatile and fresh white wines that are ideal food-wines. You can also try other fresh varieties like Torrontes Alvarinho.
Be sure to try a dry style, from areas like South Africa and The Loire Valley in France.
Gammon, which serves as a more traditional Christmas dish, is a vibrant and complex dish that needs a wine that is equally as complex. As with other fattier protein, be sure to grab hold of wine that can cut through the richness.
The best wine with Christmas dinners and gammon include both white and red options. It is a dish that requires a wine with slightly more body, but that still cuts through the richness. When making Gammon, you will not go wrong with:
Grenache is better known for being a blending wine in the famous Rhone Valley regions. However, when produced on its own, it offers intense aromas and flavors. It works with a dish like Gammon since the tannins aren’t as fierce as with Cabernet Franc or Tannat, but there is still some weight in the wine to pair with the meat.
Riesling is a trusty favorite since it has the ability to deliver on not only flavor, but acidity and versatility. The drier Rieslings are the best option here, to ensure the acidity balances out the intense richness of the dish.
Puddings & Desserts
The rule of thumb is to ensure that the wines are sweeter than the dessert, so whether you choose a medium sweet or very sweet wine, you won’t go wrong! This tip will make your Christmas dinner in 2020 a real treat, especially when you add some delectable desserts. Some Christmas dinner-dessert ideas worth trying this year include Christmas pudding, creamy caramel flan, sticky toffee pudding, trifles and peppermint-crisp tarts.
So, whether you’re doing a traditional Christmas dinner menu in 2020, or trying out some new Christmas dinner ideas, there is a whole host of wines to accompany you this year. With the basic concept of how to pair wine with food, it’ll be a whole lot easier to think of other wines and pairing ideas. It should also be much easier to now discover and choose red wine like a pro.
End this year on a high note, with all your festive dishes and incredible wines to accompany it!