It’s the season to spread the cheer! As people everywhere prepare for the holidays, there’ll be presents, parties, and festive spreads to partake in. When planning your Christmas soirees, one of the important decisions will be about what wines to serve. Food and drinks are a big part of Christmas celebrations, which is why we have put together a list of popular Christmas wines to help ease a bit of the holiday stress. From fine wines to supermarket Christmas wine, we’ve got you covered.
Five recommendations for popular Christmas wines
Prosecco – What’s Christmas if not sparkling? Prosecco is a festive favourite because of its versatility which allows it to be paired with numerous dishes. Its high acidity, dryness, and unique fruit flavours from glera grapes contribute to its wide popularity. This sparkling Italian wine comes in many styles, but the brut (dry) and extra brut varieties are what you want for Christmas.
Cava – Another sparkling wine, but this one is from Spain (mainly Catalonia). It is made in the traditional method, much like champagne in France. The light-to-medium-bodied wine is popular for its dry flavour, creamy texture, nutty aromas, and flavours of apple, almond, lemon and quince. You can’t go wrong with either the rosé or the white variety.
Moscato – It’s no surprise that dessert wines are particularly popular around Christmas. But the sweet and bubbly Moscato, made from Muscat grapes, is also ideal as a pairing for appetizers due to its low alcohol content. The fruity flavours – think peaches and nectarines –go well with fruit tarts and creamy desserts. As with Cava, choose either rosé or white.
Barbaresco – This one’s a hearty red from Italy’s Piedmont region. It is a highly tannic and acidic wine that undergoes years of cellaring to enhance its bold flavours. The pronounced notes of red fruits, truffles, liquorice, and rose petals are accompanied by smoky and earthy elements. Barbaresco is a popular Christmas wine for its excellent pairing with rich dishes like beef, veal, and lamb.
Chianti – Another Italian red, this one is made from Sangiovese grapes in Tuscany – either as a varietal or a blend. It is dry, quite acidic, coarsely tannic, and typically has red fruit flavours and spicy aromas. This medium-to-full-bodied wine goes well with a variety of food items, from rich and fatty dishes to flavourful tomato-based ones. Opt for a Chianti Classico when choosing a Christmas wine.
Bonus! We know we said five, but we simply can’t leave out Bordeaux wines from the list. Bordeaux blends of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon tend to be medium-to-full-bodied wines that range from sweet to tart with earthy notes of plums and blackcurrant. The Left Bank wines are ideal for serving with a Christmas dinner of ham, lamb, and fatty steaks, while the Right Bank ones are some of the best pairings for a winter turkey dinner.
Choosing red vs white and pairing it with food
When it comes to Christmas wines, you might be lost for choice, but when choosing a winner, always think of preferred Christmas food and wine pairings. As with Bordeaux wines from Left Bank vs Right Bank, you would prefer a bold and hearty red for heavier meats while a lighter red or a white or a blush wine would go well with seafood, chicken, and turkey.
Popular red wines to serve with Christmas dinner include Pinot Noir, Merlot, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Splurge on a bottle of Mayacamas Cab Sauv or a Patz & Hall Hyde Vineyard Pinot Noir from Napa Valley for flavours you’ll remember into the new year. Popular white wines to have instead include Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc. Pick a classic Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio or a La Caña Albarino to keep it light and fresh. Any of these wines would also make for great Christmas gifts for wine lovers!
When it comes to sparkling wines, retailers expect it’ll be a Cava Christmas. If you prefer Italian sparkling, try Villa degli Olmi’s floral and fruity Corte dei Rovi Prosecco and pair it with appetisers, shellfish, and cured meat. For a traditional Champagne, pick the impressive Louis Roederer Collection 242 or the elegant Laurent-Perrier La Cuvee Brut.
But wait. Even a detailed list of Christmas wines would be quite incomplete without mentioning the traditional Christmas drink and a crowd favourite – mulled wine. Read our next week’s blog post to know all about it.