Christmas Wine Guide

All your Christmas wine requirements are hopefully covered here, from which bottles to buy as presents, to wine gift vouchers, the best port and dessert wines and what wine to serve with your Christmas turkey on the big day itself…

What should we drink with our turkey on Christmas Day?

The prospect of choosing a bottle of wine that marries perfectly with your roast turkey but more pertinently pleases all of your expectant guests is a daunting vista for even the most experienced of party hosts. Rather than be felled by oenophobia and subsequently see your best laid plans in tatters, embrace the varied plethora of different wines that have the potential to suit the inevitably mottled palates congregating around your table.

For roast turkey one might be surprised to learn that Chardonnay is actually a beautiful match. Whether it’s an archetypal classic from Burgundy like the Bourgogne Chardonnay Château de Mercey, Domaine Rodet, or equally, a modern style new world version from Australia’s Yarra Valley like the buttery but well-balanced Oakridge Chardonnay; they both pair well with the richness of white turkey meat.

If you want a more competitively priced white tipple to match your lashings of Turkey breast, why not go for the La Campagne Chardonnay from one of our most popular ranges; a great Chardonnay that will exceed expectation whilst not burning a hole in your already charred pockets. If you are reluctant to serve an oaky Chardonnay, then the Meursault, Ropiteau  from Burgundy will tick every box with its energy, acidity and superb finish.
For some, red wine epitomises the very essence of Christmas dinning and if this is the case then you could do a lot worse than stump for the Boekenhoutskloof's The Chocolate Block. It has won a host of awards courtesy of a stellar vintage and its ability to stand up to some of the finest wines from Bordeaux, and this is a real Christmas Day winner. Sure, it’s a premium wine and therefore predictably priced as such but it’s a real banker.
Alternatively, and if you are really looking for something special, the Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon from California's Stag's Leap Disctrict is an utter must for your Christmas Day turkey. The 2008 vintage was named as the 'Best Fine Red Wine of the Year' at the 2013 Sommelier Wine Awards and would subsequently be a fantastic present for serious red wine drinks.  

An Australian Shiraz is pretty failsafe if you are scratching around for ideas and the JJ Hahn Reginald Shiraz from the Barossa Valley is absolutely gorgeous. Packed full of ripe plum, black cherry and mint, the wine is rich and well structured, yet profoundly soft so not to detract from your turkey.
Heavy tannic reds or indeed wines that are too mature can sometimes be a little bit too much for turkey, so if you fancy being slightly conservative, think juicy, rounded, warm-climate reds for your Christmas day feast. 
While there tends to be some confusion about whether to drink red or white wine with your Christmas turkey, there needn’t be because there really isn’t a right or wrong answer. When choosing a wine partner for turkey, it is the flavour profile and not the colour that should be considered.

What wine should I serve with goose?

For the courageous few serving goose on the big day be aware this richer flavoured and slightly fattier meat requires a sturdy wine with a touch more acidity. An excellent choice would be a Rioja such as the Don Jacobo Rioja Reserva because of its dense fruit flavours and traditionally supple tannins.  

Alternatively opt for a Pinot Noir but avoid ones heavy on tannins. Goose tends to be paired with equally rich and hearty trimmings such as red cabbage and therefore a tannin-heavy Pinot with the aforementioned may be too much even for the most indulgent. Think tantalising without being overbearing from regions such as Chile or New Zealand.   

White wine tends to be a little harder to choose where goose is concerned, but if you are feeling bold and your audience is intrepid, opt for a dry Riesling. This occasionally maligned varietal (courtesy of over-production and poor quality in the 1980s), in the right hands, produce wines with the necessary acidity to bite through the thick fatty goose meat. Riesling is not to everyone’s liking so it may be a bit of a leap of faith for conservative wine drinkers.

Likewise, a rich and spicy Gewürztraminer from France’s north eastern region, Alsace, is full-bodied yet dry enough to match beautifully with Goose. 

Can you suggest a decent dessert wine for Christmas?

After a lengthy day of eating and drinking you may decide that a sweet-sherry is overkill and if this is the case there are plenty of alternatives. A marginally lighter, golden-hued dessert wine from Sauternes would certainly do the trick, but so would the the regularly championed Nederburg Winemakers Reserve Noble Late Harvest from South Africa's Western Cape. Its a delicious blend dominated by Chenin Blanc and made by the brilliant and very charming Razvan Macici. Alternatively a honey-scented Muscat from France, or Spain’s Moscatel equivalent, are both perfect dessert wines to partner with Christmas pudding.

Can you recommend some affordable alternatives to Champagne for my Christmas party?

The opulent sound of popping corks will shortly usher in the festive party season but you needn’t break the bank this Christmas given the superb and affordable alternatives to Champagne. The Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene DOCG NV from Bolla is an absolute belter that is less than £13.99 a bottle. It’s abundantly flavoured and retains all the classic hallmarks of Prosecco but without being too sweet like many of its contemporaries.

The Codorníu Pinot Noir Brut Rosé NV is also perfect for parties, in that it is straightforward and very, very drinkable.

Despite a miserable 2012 vintage thanks to our ever-hostile weather, the English Sparkling wine industry remains in rude health with a burgeoning global appeal. The Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2008 from Kent is one of the country’s market leaders and although it’s not cheap, it uses the classic Champagne grapes of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier to produce an elegant sparkling wine that is more than a match for many of France’s more vaunted equivalents.

Can you recommend a good bottle of Champagne to open on Christmas morning?

The Piper-Heidsieck Brut NV is a CellarVie Wines favourite following a recent tasting with their revered winemaker Régis Camus. It is hugely acclaimed and rightly so, as it is absolutely delicious. The quality of this cuvée was recognised recently when it was awarded a Gold Medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards and the ‘Non-vintage Trophy’ at the International Wine Challenge.
Régis Camus at the Piper Heidsieck tasting at Searcys Club, The Gherkin, London 

I want a decent bottle of Port, any recommendations?

There is a large choice of quality ports available during the Christmas period which can obviously be a little overwhelming. One thing to remember is that Port is actually far more versatile than many assume; for example the Portuguese often consume it as an aperitif so open your mind to this beautiful fortified wine from the Douro Valley.
Taylor’s 10 Year Old Tawny Port is delicious when chilled over ice as an aperitif. Alternatively serve it with chocolate or coffee-flavoured puddings but it can also work superbly with mild cheeses like Camembert.

For the more traditional red style ports that tend to boast oodles of tannins and a peppery finish such as the after-dinner staple, Taylor's Late Bottled Vintage Port 2005, a sticky-toffee pudding or a crumbly chèvre will pair well with the ripe and opulent fruitiness of the Port. If you are really pushing the boat out this Christmas then why not get yourself a bottle of Warre's Quinta da Cavadinha 1996. It’s from one of the finest vineyards in the iconic Douro region and will certainly add some festive cheer to a late winter’s evening by a roaring fire.

In the unlikely event you have any port left over in the aftermath of your festive over-indulgence, make sure you consume any open bottles within three weeks at the latest, as it tends to deteriorate quite quickly once exposed to oxygen.

I want to give wine as a present this Christmas, but I am unsure what to get?

Buying wine for someone else is always a little tricky but if you are absolutely stumped and fearful of a sensitive palate, then CellarVie Wines offer an e-Voucher service whereby you can give someone credit on in order for them to choose their wines themselves.

If you want to take the more conventional route and actually make the purchases yourself, we have a gift services page with a number of proposed Christmas solutions, alternatively please give us a call on +44 (0)20 8892 3042 and we will endeavour to help you find a suitable gift.
MAIN IMAGE BY Regala Photography

Written by: Ben Moss

Ben Moss 


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