As we come ever closer towards the big day, the hunt for the perfect Christmas wine is well and truly on. Whether you’ve already picked out your Grand Cru Classé Bordeaux to please the in-laws, or gone for a pink zinfandel for the hell of it, the most important part of choosing wine for Christmas is that everyone will enjoy it. Christmas wines need to make a merry day just a little merrier.

​With that said, here are a few tips for how to decide on a wine that really works, and some recommendations.

​The most important factor to consider when choosing a wine that works with Christmas lunch is … Christmas lunch. There are few events in the calendar that prove more challenging to a food and wine pairing than the multi-dish pile-up that constitutes a world class Christmas spread. From the mild and lean turkey, to the bitter sprouts, the sweet redcurrant sauce, creamy leeks, spiced red cabbage and on and on … any wine you pick to pair to one part of the dish will struggle with the rest. My leaning is to find a wine that goes with the flow rather than fight toe to toe with the food on the plate. When you find a wine that is a team player it does something magical and accentuates all the blood sweat and tears that have gone on in the kitchen and really make the meal sing.

​This year my recommendation is going to be Red. The right red on the day will allow you to enjoy the meal, have the right balance across each of the dishes and end with some great cheese. A light or medium bodied Red tends to work well.  A wine with both of those has a more-ish character that allows you to have two or three glasses without falling into the 5pm slump that can leave you laid out on the nearest sofa for a power nap. There’s nothing wrong with a power nap but if you stick to drinking something lively there’s more chance of keeping going until 9pm when the guests have cleared out.

​With that said here are three top recommendations:

Syrah – A Bold Companion

Syrah, or Shiraz, known for its bold Flavours and velvety texture, is a fantastic choice for dishes like roasted turkey and red cabbage. Its dark fruit notes, often reminiscent of blackberries and plums, complement the sweetness of the red cabbage, while its peppery undertones can beautifully highlight the savoury aspects of the turkey. Be wary of the cheap ones as, although delicious,  their sometimes jammy flavours work less well with the Christmas meal – spend £15 or more and you’ll be getting something terrific:

Maris Vieilles Vignes Minervois  – £10.99 from Waitrose

Pinot Noir – Versatile and Charming

This is many people’s top pick.  Versatile and charming, and capable of complementing the wide range of dishes on your Christmas table. Its low tannin levels and bright acidity make it a delightful match for both Turkey and Brussels Sprouts. The subtle earthiness of Pinot Noir, especially from European regions like Burgundy, pairs beautifully with the natural Flavours of these vegetables, while its red fruit character adds a lovely contrast to the savoury elements of the meal.

Paul Mas Reserve Pinot Noir

Pinot from the south of France, very near Limoux – £9.50 from Morrison

Nebbiolo or Barbera – Elegance and Complexity

Nebbiolo & Barbera, grapes known for their elegance and complexity, hail from the picturesque hills of Piedmont, Italy. Despite their tannin and power they work gracefully with a variety of Christmas dishes. Nebbiolo’s crisp red fruit and thyme or rosemary flavours pair wonderfully with the turkey, cranberry goodness going on across the plate too, and Barbera seems to achieve similar with its intense juiciness.  Both hold their own with the food.

Bersano Barolo from – £36.99 from Waitrose

A bit on the pricy side for a supermarket wine but much like Pinot from Burgundy Barolo comes with a price tag.

Whatever you’re drinking this Christmas, enjoy it, don’t rush it and savour every mouthful.

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