The Ultimate Traditional Christmas Wine Guide

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For those of you who like to celebrate Christmas in the Old-World way, this is the perfect excuse to gorge yourselves on hearty, home-cooked, multi-course dinners. It’s a time for luxuriating your senses, spending time with friends and family, roasting a beast of a bird and cracking out some fantastic wines to pair with all that lovely food.

If this sounds good to you (and to be honest, we can’t see why it wouldn’t…), then check out our ultimate traditional Christmas wine and food pairing guide.

The Reds

To kick things off, it’s a great idea to have one of those all-day red wines, which is going to go well with pretty much everything you eat, and which is going to bring big smiles all round. A top-end Pinot Noir would be the one we’d reach for in this case.

It’s the ultimate flexible red wine, capable of pairing with a massive array of festive treats, and which is also probably the best wine to choose if you’re looking to make mulled wine, too. Either go for a Pinot from its spiritual home in Burgundy, France, or keep things local and check out some of the amazing Aussie reds that are stunning the world at the moment.

On the dinner side of things, there’s probably no better fit for roast turkey, potatoes, veggies and gravy than Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This legendary French appellation has been knocking it out of the park for centuries, and while it isn’t the cheapest vino on the shelf, it’s one which is going to take the party to new heights of luxury.

After the Christmas affair, all those lovely leftovers, cold cuts of meat, bits and pieces are laid out to nibble on: it’s absolute bliss. If you’re into this kind of thing, too, there’s no reason not to have a great wine to pair with it all.

We’d recommend an Italian wine for this side of the festivities – laid-back, tasty, perfect for drinking alongside a more casual eating experience. Why not go for a Dolcetto or Nebbiolo – either from their home country, or from one of the many Australian wineries now experimenting with these grapes?

The Whites

You know one of the things we love most about Christmas day? It’s one of the few days of the year when you can crack open a bottle before lunchtime, and get that first glass of wine in nice and early. When the guests start turning up and the presents are being opened, a nice glass of Riesling is probably the way to go. Light, refreshing, reassuringly low in alcohol, it’s the perfect wine to kick off proceedings.

No traditional Christmas is complete without a fish course. In most of the world, starters on this special day feature salmon – either smoked and deliciously oily, or baked, roasted, cured or steamed. Scallops, lobster and other shellfish are commonplace too, and provide the perfect appetizer before the main event.

When pairing with these foods, you want something substantial and elegant – a Bordeaux Blanc would do very nicely indeed. This year, Bordeaux Blanc has had a stellar year, so there’s never been a better time to check out this blended white wine from a traditionally red wine region.

The Fizz

What celebration would be complete without the pop of a cork, bursting from a bottle of sparkling wine? There’s no doubt about the fact that fizzy wine is a cornerstone of Christmas, whether traditional or not… but which is the right one for this special day?

If you’re going for a light-hearted day with plenty of fun and frolics, then there’s nothing wrong with getting in some great bottles of Prosecco.

However, if you’re really looking to impress, go for one of the alternative Champagne blends out there. For us, few are more evocative and seductive than a Blanc des Noirs – a traditional Champagne made with only the black grapes in the original blend. Utterly delicious, and slick as.

The Sweet Ones

It’s strange how often sweet and dessert wines are overlooked, but it’s at this very time of year they really get a chance to shine. Christmas is all about the sweet treats… so why not up your game a bit this year and give your Christmas puddings and cakes something delectable to pair with?

To start, it’s impossible not to mention the classics of the dessert wine world: Sauternes from France, and Royal Tokaji from Hungary. This historic wines are made from rotten grapes (honestly, they taste better than they sound…) and have an unforgettable flavour that has delighted Europe for centuries. What’s more, few wines go better with a Christmas cheeseboard or a traditional plum pudding!

As for fortified wines, both Port and Sherry are the traditional festive options. Interestingly, Australia produces one of the oldest Ports in the world (100 years old!), but if you fancy something a bit more affordable, go for some of the 30 year vintages that have been released this year. 1987 was regarded as an amazing year for both of these fortified wine styles, so if you can get your hands on a bottle, you’re in for a treat.

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