Christmas gatherings can be a bit of a nightmare to cater and select wines for, especially with lots of guests. The more people there are, inevitably the wider diversity of personal tastes and preferences. It’s first of all important to remember that you will never please everyone! However, here I’ll lay out some suggested Christmas wine ‘crowd pleasers’ for you. These are wines that are good all rounders, which most people recognise and like, and that also pair with many different types of foods.
Welcome drinks, appetisers and starters
Refreshing wines are best for this purpose. Wines that get you salivating, and build up an appetite while cleansing your palate of rich, often pastry based party nibbles. For whites- Sauvignon Blanc is always great for this, or if this is ‘soooo last year’, why not try a delicious alternative like Spanish Verdejo or Albarino. You could also look to Italy, with a refreshing Gavi or Verdicchio, or France for a fresh Picpoul de Pinet.
Sparkling wines are also very refreshing, and most people usually appreciate being welcomed with glass of bubbly when they walk through the door! This year’s Which? Magazine best buys were Spar’s Prosecco Valdobbiadene DOCG, £12 (closely followed by Asda’s Fillipo Sansovino Prosecco at a more modest £7.98) and Waitrose’s Blanc de Noirs Brut NV Champagne (£21.99).
Fancy some reds? Light bodied and fruity wines like Beaujolais, a juicy Pinot Noir, Cotes du Rhone Villages or Valpolicella go down a treat.
The main course
Whether chicken, turkey, goose, 4 bird or nut roast with all the trimmings, there are many wines that stand up to the multitude of flavours festive feasts can throw at you. For whites, there’s a classic complex Chardonnay from Burgundy or the New World. Chardonnay not your bag? How about a voluptuously textured Viognier or a rich, aromatic Pinot Gris.
A rich red like Argentinean Malbec always creates a stir at our Christmas dinners (ALDI’s Exquisite Uco Valley Malbec was another Which? Magazine best buy). Looking for flavour bang for your buck? Try a rich Aussie Shiraz, especially from the Barossa Valley. Pushing the boat out? Have a substantial Chateauneuf du Pape to wash down those pigs in blankets, leaving you with a pleasing, lingering spicy bramble fruit finish.
For dessert/the cheese board
Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) or Tawny Ports go excellently with both cheese and decadent chocolate based desserts, or Christmas puds. Feeling adventurous? Try a fantastic Australian Rutherglen Muscat or a sweet Pedro-Ximenez (PX). Their intense, dried fruit characters really bring out the best in your mince pies and christmas puds and make that blue cheese really shine! Something lighter? Moscato d’Asti (the lighter, less fizzy cousin of Asti Spumante) pairs well with lighter fruit desserts featuring tart red and black berry medleys.
Want some more handy wine tips, or know someone who does? You can learn more at our fun tasting events!
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