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Christmas Food and Wine Pairing

Christmas is right around the corner, and with it comes family gatherings, shopping for gifts, and food and wine pairings!

While Christmas food and wine pairing can seem a little intimidating, it does not have to be.

Indeed, the simplest dishes served with simple wines can make for a spectacular meal, worthy of the best restaurants. Therefore, all you need to do to impress your guests this festive season and provide them with a unique culinary experience is a bit of research about your food and wine pairing.

To make it easier for you, we’ve highlighted below the best wines to pair with typical Christmas appetizers, mains, and desserts. Bon Appetit!

Appetizers


What better way to start a festive dinner than with Champagne! If you’re planning to serve some Champagne at your Christmas lunch or dinner, smoked salmon starters, oysters, or seafood canapes could be an excellent option. Indeed, the saltiness element present in oysters or smoked salmon counterbalances perfectly with the lack of saltiness in Champagne’s flavor profile, which makes these types of dishes an ideal match for the king of wines! Note that, if you’re not a fan of Champagne, you could also pair these fantastic appetizers with a crisp white wine that features a lower alcohol content, such as Chenin Blanc.

If you plan on serving prosciutto and cheese bites or antipasto platters, choose a light Rosé or sparkling wine to complement the dish as the carefully spiced and salted meat will help enhance the wine’s flavors. However, if you prefer to use glazed Christmas ham for your appetizers, choose a fruity red such as Shiraz, Red Zinfandel, or Merlot to balance the sweetness of the glaze.

Christmas Food and Wine Pairing

Main Dish


Often the star of Christmas dinners, roast turkey is one of the most popular dishes to serve during the festive season. As a result, you can never go wrong with this crowd-pleaser! However, you have to pick the wine carefully. Indeed, turkey is a lean bird with low-fat content, and therefore, you should choose a wine with medium to high acidity and low levels of tannins. Besides, whether you choose a spicy or fruity stuffing and season your turkey with vegetables or simply add a zest of lemon, gravy, or herbs, chances are your guests’ plate will be brimming with flavors. As a result, a full and fruity wine that can stand up to this array of flavors is essential 😉

Some of the best wines to pair with turkey include Riesling, Grenache, Beaujolais, or Pinot Noir wines.

Roast chicken is another Christmas favorite, and the wine you choose should also be based on the stuffing and seasoning. If you would like to keep it simple and roast the chicken in its own juices, a lightly oaked Burgundy Chardonnay could be the perfect match. However, if you decide to roast vegetables with your chicken, for instance, serving a Barolo to your guests would be a real treat. Finally, if you use any spicy or fruity stuffing, a rich white wine such as Viognier can help enhance the dish’s flavors.

If you decide to go with gamier meat such as duck this year, you’ll have to consider the meat’s fatty flavor profile. Besides, duck is a juicy and rich meat, usually seasoned with vegetables, fruit, herbs, or spices for Christmas dinner. And as mentioned above, a quality meat dish packed with flavors should always be paired with a wine that features good acidity and lower tannins to avoid overpowering the whole meal. As a result, some of the best wines to pair with a duck-based dish include Oregon or Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noirs, Sangiovese wines, or Australian Chardonnays.

Dessert


One of the most popular Christmas staples is the pumpkin pie. Served both at Thanksgiving and during the Christmas season, this decadent treat can be paired with light and crisp wines such as Gewurztraminer, Muscat, or Riesling to balance out the rich flavors. However, it can also be matched with richer spicy wines like an aged Sherry to complement the spicy cinnamon or nutmeg flavors traditionally found in pumpkin pies.

Gingerbread cookies are another favorite and not only for kids! Indeed, these delicious spicy and sugary treats often made with cinnamon or honey, ooze Christmas nostalgia. Therefore, Riesling can make for an incredible match with Gingerbread cookies as the light floral notes of the crisp wine balance out the powerful flavors present in this holiday staple.

We hope this article gave you some great inspiration for this year’s Christmas dinner, and you’re now ready to impress your guests! Are you planning to cook something special this year and have specific wines in mind? If that’s the case, please don’t hesitate to share your ideas in the comment section below as we’d love to read them!

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