Every year in December I get inundated with phone calls, texts and emails from friends and family about which wines they should be choosing to go with their Christmas roast.
I never get tired of this question because there is no single “one size fits all” answer. Every meat – chicken, turkey, beef, pork, goose – has a very different flavour and texture and therefore demands a different choice of wine.
So, here are a few suggestions which will hopefully ensure that come the 25th you will not only have a cracking glass of wine in your hand, but also a wine that perfectly suits your Christmas lunch!
Turkey’s mixture of white and dark meat suits a white wine that is fairly weighty but also has a good dose of crisp acidity.
I usually go for a Chardonnay from Burgundy in France. These wines often undergo oak aging which gives them a roundness which complements the richer dark meat, while Burgundy’s cooler climate allows the wines to retain fresh acidity. Something like the Domaine Moillard Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Blanc would be the ultimate match.
If you are looking for a wine to fit a budget, excellent value Chardonnay can be found in the Mâcon region of Burgundy – our Chateau de la Tour de L’Ange Macon Village is a great example of this.
If Chardonnay is not your thing, fear not. A worthy alternative is Pinot Gris. These wines tend to be full-bodied and rich and would make a superb companion to your turkey and all its trimmings. You can find excellent Pinot Gris in Alsace in France, like the Louis Sipp Nature ‘S’ Pinot Gris, as well as also from Oregon in the US – the Elk Cove Pinot Gris would be a very classy choice.
The wonderful thing about the pig is that it is a very versatile beast – you can eat pretty much any part of it. A similar versatility applies to your choice of wine – both red and white are perfectly acceptable choices here.
But, regardless of whether you are going for red or white, I would suggest you look for a wine with good acidity. Pork can be quite fatty at times and a wine with acidity will help cut through the fat and refresh your palate.
If you opt for a white wine, look no further than a Grüner Veltliner from Austria. In my opinion, Gruner is the ultimate white wine for pork – the Ewald Gruber Weinviertel Gruner Veltilner has a refreshing green apple fruit and white pepper character and would be just the thing to accompany your joint of pork.
When it comes to the reds, a popular suggestion among sommeliers is a wine from Italy (such as a Chianti) or a Cote du Rhone from France. But, personally, I like to go for something that is a little more approachable in its youth. That’s why the soft tannins and silky round fruit of Pinot Noir make it the ideal partner for pork in my opinion. If you want an Old Work option the Domaine Moillard Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits Rouge ticks all the boxes. Alternatively, New Zealand is producing some fantastic Pinot Noir nowadays, such as the Georges Michel Golden Mile Pinot Noir.
Also, if you plan on having porky cold cuts on Boxing Day, a slightly chilled red from Beaujolais, like the Manoir du Carra Fleurie, would make for a delightful match!
There is no better time to break out the big reds than when you are cooking roast beef. Juicy, bloody red meat demands a wine that is bold, full bodied and big on flavour.
For this reason, I am a big fan of the wines from the Americas. A bold, sun-kissed Californian red like the Pedroncelli Cabernet Sauvignon would certainly be up to the task in hand. Alternatively, a powerful, hearty South American wine – like the Carla Chiaro Malbec from Argentina or Anane Carmenere from Chile – would be a fantastic selection.
One of lamb’s most enduring qualities to my mind is its strong, gamy flavour. But this, in turn, calls for a powerful and robust red wine.
The classic choice would be a red from Bordeaux as lamb and Bordeaux seem to have a natural affinity for each other – our Chateau Cissac Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel would be the ideal partner.
But, recently, I have found that the reds of the Rhône Valley in France are particularly good with lamb. These wines tend to be made from a blend of different grape varieties (usually always including Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre). The wines tend to be full bodied and have a dark fruit and spicy black pepper character – just the ticket alongside your succulent lamb and mint sauce.
We hope this helps you find the perfect wine for your Christmas lunch. But, if you are going off-piste – venison, woodcock, goose, for example – and need any wine suggestions, we would love to hear from you!
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!