Whether you are planning to serve traditional Christmas dishes this year or perhaps something a little different, to compliment your food you will want to make sure you pair each course with the right wines. Let The Fine Wine Company be your guide.
If you will be serving prawns or other rich tasting shellfish, balance the richness of the food with a dry wine, or match the richness with something lightly oaked. To compliment the delicate flavour of oysters, choose a delicately flavoured wine that won’t over power it.
To accompany a smoked salmon starter, you need a wine with a good amount of acidity to cleanse the palate. A medium bodied and lightly oaked wine, high in acidity, would be a good choice.
For some it simply isn’t Christmas without turkey on the menu. Pair the turkey with a full-bodied white wine or a medium red. As there is no fat with this dish, the wine should not have too much tannin. If you are a red wine fan, then choose a wine with low tannins. If the turkey is cooked with bacon, then remember that this adds extra salt to the dish which could clash with the tannins in the wine. The stronger and more powerful flavours of this dish are often in the trimmings, so take these into consideration too when choosing the accompanying wine. Redcurrant sauces are very sweet and should not be paired with an aged red wine. Instead choose a young, fruity wine that is low in tannins.
If you are planning to serve duck on Christmas day then pair with red wines. Balancing the oiliness of the meat with tannic wines that taste of berries, will complement the flavours of the dish. If pairing with a white wine, choose a medium-sweet wine, high in acid.
If your Christmas pudding is already drenched in brandy, then you may not immediately think of serving a wine alongside it. You can choose to serve something equally intense as the pudding, or go for a lighter, fresher contrast. If you serve a rich dessert wine or a sweet sherry you can make an already rich pudding overpoweringly rich. But a lighter dessert wine can get lost amongst all the rich spicy fruit.
It can sometimes be more difficult to find the right wine to pair with a chocolate based dessert, but a good rule to go by is that the wine should always be sweeter than the dessert. To match chocolate, wines need to be ultra-sweet and full of flavour.