Fabulous wine pairings with Christmas lunch
Question from Michael: We’re hosting Christmas lunch this year. Help! What wine should I serve?
In a nut shell: Let’s go with the simple order of light nibbles followed by seafood entrée, meat main and pudding for dessert. Nibbles will pair perfectly with Sparkling or Champagne. For a seafood entrée slick with a light white like Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio. For main pair with a light red like Pinot Noir, Grenache or Beajolais and for the pudding sip on a Muscat, Port or Pedro Ximenez. That’s pretty general – read on as I get a little more specific depending on how rich the food is.
In a clam shell: Yummmmm food and wine! The perfect combination can have you salivating for more but if you get it wrong it can make the wine taste flavorless and bland. Because I have no idea what you’re planning on eating for Christmas lunch (but I can have a good guess) I’ve gone with wines that are versatile, adaptable and easy to find in Australia.
Christmas Day should always start with bubbles! Sparkling wine or Champagne pairs beautifully with oysters and goes very nicely with fish, cured meats and simple pork and poultry. It also goes well with most vegetables so it’s the perfect fail safe sip with assorted nibbles.
If entrée is a plain seafood dish stick to a non-wooded light white like Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño (if you want to impress your guests it’s a Spanish variety), Riesling, Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio. If it’s a complex seafood dish (especially if you’re going with a creamy sauce) pair with a rich white like an oaked Chardonnay, Sémillon or Viognier.
Chances are it’s going to be hot so I’m no going to recommend a heavy South Australian Shiraz because that’s just silly – it’s the last thing you’ll feel like when it’s 30 degrees (besides it’s not the best pairing with poultry anyway).
If main is turkey, chicken and/or duck (full of stuffing cause that’s what we do on Christmas Day) go with a light red like Pinot Noir, Grenache or Beajolais. You could also drink a rich white here if red isn’t your thing.
Baked, smoked or honeyed hams call for wines with a dash of sweetness so sip a Riesling or Gewürztraminer. If you want to stick with the reds same as above, something light.
If you must drink a bold red with main then make sure you eat a beef or lamb roast and drink Australian Shiraz or Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec.
If you’ve saved room for pudding go with a Port or Muscat or best of all Pedro Ximénez which tastes like Christmas pudding in itself.
Image from http://www.naturallyinniagara.ca/articles/turkey-wine-pairing-for-your-thanksgiving-dinner/698/