A Guide to Pairing Wine with Your Christmas DinnerDecember 24, 2021
How do I pair my Christmas day dinner?
- Wines to Serve with Starters
- Wines to Serve with Ham
- Wines to Serve with Chicken
- Wines to Serve with Turkey
- Wines to Serve with Duck
- Wines to Serve with Prime Rib
- Wines to Serve with Shellfish and Seafood
Christmas dinners are one of the highlights of the season and are the perfect time to pour out new wines to create unforgettable culinary experiences for you and your family.
Take this time to sample new bottles with your dishes! If you’re looking for recommended choices to complement your holiday meal, then look no further. Here at Ralph’s Wine & Spirits, we’ve put together our guide on wine pairings for Christmas dinner. From starters to prime rib to roasted duck, we’ve got you covered with some great picks. Read on!
Wines to Serve with Starters
Sparkling wines like the Henriot Brut Souverain are always perfect for starters. Whether it’s a simple spread of cheese and dry-cured meats or a complicated paté, this wine makes an ideal pairing for your pre-dinner meal. They work well with starters because they have light yet vivacious profiles, which is a refreshing way for starting a feast without feeling too full too quickly. A crisp white wine like Bolla Pinot Grigio is also a good alternative.
Wines to Serve with Ham
Christmas hams are often baked, smoked, and honeyed dishes that are extremely rich. This kind of meal begs for wines with a hint of sweetness, lighter bodies, and a slight bite of acidity to cut through the rich flavor of ham. Or, you could also go with pairings with more body and richer palate to increase pairing presence. If you’re planning on serving up some ham, we highly recommend the following wines:
- White wines: German Rieslings like the Louis Guntrum Royal Blue Riesling are off-dry with a good balance of acidity and sweetness to complement your ham dish.
- Red wines: Try this Pinot Noir from Le Grand Noir, or the Marqués de Murrieta Reserva
Wines to Serve with Chicken
White meat like chicken, as a rule, pairs well with white wines. But, the sauce and seasoning you use greatly affect the flavor of your dish. So, we recommend matching the intensity of your chicken dishes with the intensity of your wine. Here are some great wines to have with different kinds of chicken recipes:
- White wines: Cream sauces pair well with an oaked Chardonnay, like a bottle of Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay. Sauvignon Blancs are recommended for citrus or green-herbed chicken, like Wente’s Southern Hills Sauvignon Blanc.
- Red wines: harder to pair with chicken, we do recommend light to medium-bodied wines with lighter tannin. Try an earthy Foppiano Lot 96 Petite Syrah or flashy Seghesio Zinfandel Home Ranch with chicken and mushroom dishes. Or, a fruity Schiava with soy-based sauces.
Wines to Serve with Turkey
Turkey, on its own, is a fairly straightforward pairing partner (usually recommended with a medium to dark-bodied red). But, turkey is never served solo. It comes with herb-filled stuffing, roasted veggies, rich sauces, and savory sides. This is what you should consider when pairing a bottle of wine with a turkey dish.
- White wines: Sauvignon Blancs are recommended as they often have rich and weighty flavors. Try the elegant and refreshing Saint Clair Vicar's Choice Sauvignon Blanc.
- Red wines: A Kaapzicht Pinotage is a good and strong pairing for a rich turkey spread.
Wines to Serve with Duck
Duck has a different flavor profile than turkey and chicken. It’s distinctly fattier than the others and has an innate gaminess of the meat. French wines are the classic pairing for a variety of duck recipes. Roasted, smoked, and braised ducks are often enjoyed with a good red wine from the Burgundy or Bordeaux region. Though, if the duck is served with a fruit-based sauce, it may be suitable to shift to a white wine like a Riesling or Gewurztraminer.
- White wines: Try pairing with the KWV Classic Collection Moscato.
- Red wines: A Château de Saint-Pey 2015 or an aged Bouchard Père & Fils Bourgogne Pinot Noir.
Wines to Serve with Prime Rib
Prime rib, one of the richest Christmas classics we know and love. The texture of the meat and their high ratios of protein and fat are what make them go great with a variety of red wines. Bold, rustic, spicy, refined — nearly every red wine flavor profile you can think of can mix with a slice of prime rib and bring out interesting pairing nuances. We don’t recommend using white wines for this dish, as they have a hard time keeping pace with the flavors of prime rib.
- Red wines: Montes Classic Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, which is highly recommended for braised prime rib. Or, you could try the 2015 Château Bernateau Merlot to complement meat with spice and smokiness. A Trapiche Broquel Malbec goes great with heavy stews and grilled prime rib.
Wines to Serve with Shellfish and Seafood
Shellfish like oysters and scallops, or seafood like salmon and shrimp are also popular choices for Christmas dinners. For these, we recommend light, refreshing, and fruity white wines to complement their gentle sweetness and plump textures. Red wines are harder to pair for these dishes.
- White wines: Moet & Chandon Nectar Imperial, Louis Guntrum Dry Riesling, Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay all have profiles that bring out the natural flavors of shellfish and seafood. They are fresh and light-bodied, have notes of fruits and citrus, and have delicate acidity.
Whether you’re going traditional with a three-course dinner, cooking up a seafood feast, or making duck the star of the show, knowing the recommended wine pairings for Christmas dinner is what will help you tie your feast together.
Looking to make stocking up for the Christmas festivities a bit easier? Ralph’s Wines & Spirits is offering a White Christmas Sale and delivery services within Metro Manila! Hit up our wine collection here, and we’ll bring your favorite wine bottles right to your doorstep.