Sauvignon to Sparkling: The 8 Best Wines for Christmas Day
FEATURE: SHORT READ
Words by Heidi Lauth Beasley
As delightful as sleigh bells may be, there’s something about the melodic pop of a cork at Christmas that truly sets the scene for festive cheer. And while it might be tempting to reach for a classic crowd pleaser (read: a hearty cabernet or malbec), our Wine and Spirits Assistant Buyer, Luke Williams is here to provide expert pairings that will truly impress. Let the yuletide declarations of chin chin begin.
What are the Best Wines for Christmas Day?
Turkey, glazed parsnips, sage stuffing, the inevitable abundance of chocolate treats – there's no denying that Christmas is an occasion that offers up quite the pairing conundrum due to the, ahem, extensive range of flavours. Read on for the bottles that will solve any home serving stress, sommelier style.
For Festive Canapés
Penfolds Yattarna Chardonnay 2019, £150
If you’re in the market for a wine that can go toe-to-toe with a wide array of canapés, then this versatile Chardonnay should be at the top of your list. Whether glazed miniature sausages, bite-sized lobster blinis or rarebit croquettes are on the menu, this wine will be a worthy companion, thanks to its depth and oh-so refreshing finish.
For a Stylish Seafood Starter
Château de Tracy Haute Densité Sauvvignon Blanc - Pouilly-Fumé, £60
Presenting the Pouilly-Fumé that will have you discussing the wonders of the Loire’s limestone soil over the dinner table. With a light and fresh appeal, it’s the ideal pairing for any sophisticated seafood starter, complete with a delightful crisp acidity. Smoked salmon, anyone?
For a Classic Christmas Dinner
Vieux Château Mazerat 2008, £90
Few wines can measure up to the medley of flavours one would expect from the main event, but this expertly aged Claret most certainly can. From Saint Emilion in Bordeaux, it has enough structure to match the rich ingredients and the approachable finish will please merlot traditionalists. Expect notes of plum, soft tannins and a timeless finesse.
For a Vegetarian Christmas Dinner
Domaine Michel Magnien Morey-St-Denis Premier Cru Les Chaffots, £65
Two words: earthy complexity. While the phrase might not immediately summon thoughts of a merry old time, this spicy but balanced biodynamic bottle is the ideal flavour mate for roast potatoes, Brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce and a fragrant nut roast. The black and gold label offers a confident nod to seriously chic tidings too.
Sip in Style: The Best Wine Glasses for Christmas
Christmas is prime time for a little dinnertime decadence and theatrical flourishes. When it comes to glassware, that means it’s the opportune moment for goblets in winter hues, crystal cuts and long, lean stems.
The Expert’s Edit: Christmas Champagnes
Read & Shop
Sip like a professional with our wine buyer’s curated list of party-perfect Champagnes, including the ideal vintage for Christmas Day.
For the Festive Toast
Nyetimber 1086 Prestige Cuvee 2010, £150
Please raise your glass to England’s first ever ‘prestige cuvee’. A best-in-class British sparkling wine, this 2010 vintage offers a distinct caramelised flavour with rich, fruity notes. It’s aged for over 10 years so you can count on a truly unforgettable sip, perfect for memorable moments. Champagne, who?
For the Quintessential Cheese Board
Viña Requingua Laku Hiju Del Sol Secret Blend, £53
Can you keep a secret? This truly unique wine most certainly can. The blend is limited to a small run of the seven selected barrels and is only revealed to the taster once opened – hint: look out for the grape selection on the cork. Despite its storied background, you can expect a surprisingly approachable wine with berry and vanilla notes that will complement cheese, charcuterie and even spiced condiments.
For Sans-Alcohol Style
Wild Idol Alcohol-Free Brut, £35
The rumours are true. ‘Low and no’ festive drinking no longer entails coupes of Shloer or the somewhat sincere claim that you’ll simply ‘rehydrate’ between courses. This impressive party proxy is made using the same exceptional vineyards and wine-making techniques as the best Chardonnay to produce an authentic pale straw colour and a celebratory palate - think white peony, zesty apple and honeyed melon. It’s also gluten-free and suitable for vegans.
For the Adventurous Aficionado
Gérard Bertrand Villa Soleilla 2020, £200
Wine wallflowers – look away now. Taut and a certified flavour tease, this 2020 vintage balances notes of bitter orange with creamy butter, and salty flare with sweet, candied orgeat. Presented in a keepsake wooden box, it’s the ideal BYOB pick for the wine enthusiast host who’s always on the lookout for something bright and bold. A festive alternative with resolute main character energy.
Your Christmas Wine Questions, Answered
Can you drink white wine with your Christmas dinner?
It’s your Christmas – you can most certainly drink white wine if you want to. Our Wine and Spirits Buying Assistant, Luke Williams recommends opting for a white wine from the Rhone Valley as it can hold its own against pigs in a blanket or even lamb dishes. Williams also suggests 'Big New World Chardonnays', like this Orin Swift Mannequin Chardonnay 2020 pick.
How long can you enjoy your wine after it's been opened?
So, ‘Santa’ opened your prime bottle on Christmas Eve – what now? Well, Williams shares "that it depends on the wine, but generally, wines will not hold longer than one to two days before they become oxidised”. There is a nifty solution for prolonged wine freshness though: the Coravin. Williams recommends using one to open and serve your bottles, so that they can remain drinkable for many months.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
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