Perfect Wine Pairings at Christmas

Christmas dinners are the ideal time to practice your wine-pairing skills and be incredibly indulgent with the perfect excuse. When pairing wines at Christmas, you should consider which types of textures and flavours you will serve at the table. For example, the wine you serve with salmon canapes will not be the same as with Christmas pudding and perhaps you'll pop a whole host of different wines in-between courses too. So let's explore the ideal wine selection for the good old British Christmas dinner.

Pairing Wine with Hors D'oeuvres (It's smoked salmon isn't it?)

If you've not already broken out the bubbles by breakfast in Britain you're not really doing Christmas right with many people serving Champagne with either eggs benedicts or smoked salmon rolls. Champagne is the perfect wine to serve alongside your appetizers, especially if they include a cheese plate or charcuterie board! Try kicking off the start of your dinner party with one of our top favourite champagnes:

#1 2008 Rare Millésime Brut, Champagne, France

This elegant bottle of French champagne will really kick of Christmas in style. After popping the cork on the 2008 Rare Milliesime Brut, you will experience delicate and lifted flavors such as toasted brioche and tangerines, followed by hints of candied ginger and hazelnut.

# 2 NV Drappier Brut Nature Rosé, Champagne, France

Are you looking for a more floral flavour profile? Try the NV Drappier Brut Nature Rosé, bone dry, crisp, and fruity. The aroma of this delicious rosé Champagne will pair perfectly with a charcuterie board or some salmon latkes.

Wine to Serve with Christmas Ham

If you are serving ham this Christmas, you are going to want to take into consideration the flavour profile of the meat before pairing it with wine. We suggest choosing a Syrah if you serve smoked ham and a Riesling (sweet or dry) with a brown-sugar-coated ham.

Syrah with Smoked Ham

Interestingly, Syrah wines are characterized by flavours such as bacon, smoke, and herbs and tend to be lighter than other similar wines. This means that they will not burden your stomach as you consume them and will also enhance the flavor of the ham, an older Rhone wine could work really well.

Incorporating roasted fig, mesquite, tobacco, and dark smoldering cocoa notes, as well as pure cassis and plum, preserve fruit flavor notes. The 2009 Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge will pair well with a Christmas ham.

Riesling with Sweet Ham

Because of their versatility, Rieslings are an excellent choice for ham dishes. A sweeter ham (such as maple or brown sugar) will complement both dry and sweet Rieslings.

As far as our Riesling recommendation goes, I suggest the 2020 Riesling Heissenberg Domaine Ostertag. In addition to its zippy citrus fruit, this dry Riesling shows concentration and acidity, enabling it to maintain its delicious flavors for another decade. I highly recommend trying this 2020 Riesling Heissenberg Domaine Ostertag with a sweeter ham.

Wine To Serve with Turkey

Turkey is traditional at a Christmas feast, and this bird can pair well with both white and red wines if you choose the right ones. If you are a white wine lover, we recommend enjoying your turkey with a glass of Chardonnay. However, if you prefer a glass of red, pour some Pinot Noir with your turkey.

Chardonnay with Turkey

Chardonnay can pair well with turkey regardless of the region. Although its expressions differ worldwide, its crisp acidity, mineral undertones, and fruity nature complement the turkey flavor.

Our top chardonnay suggestion would have to be 2021 Chablis Domaine Sainte Claire. This full bodied Chablis features a smoky flavor profile with hints of citrus aromas.

Pinot Noir with Turkey

Nothing is surprising about suggesting Pinot Noir with turkey; it is a very common pairing. This is because with its light body and mouthwatering acidity, along with fruity and earthy flavors, this varietal is an excellent accompaniment to turkey. However, if you really want to WOW your guests, you are going to need a special Pinot.

A great way to enjoy a fine Pinot Noir without breaking the bank is going for a good domaines entry level wine,try the 2018 Bourgogne Rouge, Domaine de Montille for a quality hit of Pinot Noir from one of the most respected producers in Burgundy. 

Wine Pairings with Christmas Pudding

If unbelievably rich Christmas Pudding is on the menu then there's no other choice but Port. Our 40 year old Tawny Port from Quinta do Noval is about as great a way to round out a meal as it's possible to have. The nutty flavours in the tawny are going to pair perfectly with the fruit and nut in the Christmas pudding. 

The Perfect Christmas Wine Glasses

But what about the wine glasses? Suppose you're hosting a Christmas dinner and you plan on serving wine. In that case, your glassware must also be elegant and reflect your selected delicious wine. Here are a few of my favourite elegant glassware options for the holidays.

Lehmann's Prestige Champagne Glass: These champagne glasses are highly sought after and rarely available due to demand and recent strain on production. Potentially the world's best Champagne glass, the Lehmann Jamesse Prestige Grand Champagne glasses will compliment and tease the finest expression from every bottle.

Riedel Veritas Oaked Chardonnay Wine Glasses: Don't settle for cheap; purchase affordable quality glassware. These Chardonnay glasses are beautifully designed to hold your Christmas white wines and yet still affordable. In addition to having a stylish, ultra-light design with an elegant appearance, they provide an excellent display of your favourite wines.

Riedel Vinum Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot Glasses: These cabernet and merlot glasses are perfect for serving wine during the main course. They have a crystal-clear appearance that will allow the deep reds that are present in your wine to shine through and capture the attention of your guests.


Author - Sarah Newton

Sarah Newton has worked in the wine industry for two decades holding senior positions at some of the UK wine industry's leading brands. The MD of Coolersomm, Sarah is WSET certified and our lead wine buyer too.