Matching Christmas food & wine - starters
Tips for matching Christmas food with wine - and practical suggestions - Part 3
In this blog post I give some suggestions for wines that will complement seasonal starters and other foods typically served at Christmas. I cover in two separate blog posts a) main courses typically served at Christmas and suggestions for suitable wines and
b) guidance on wines to serve with desserts typically eaten at Christmas.
There are no hard and fast rules for wine at this time of year as we tend to eat such a wide range of foods that it is difficult to find wines to complement all of the different flavours. The main aim in general should be to match the weight of the dish with the body of the wine.
Christmas starters & Wine:
Seafood starters are often served as a lighter dish before the heavier main course but with sauces can be relatively rich
- Chablis, usually unoaked Chardonnay, would make a good match or
- try a more rounded oaked Chardonnay
Pâté needs acidic and more aromatic wines such as
- the versatile Chablis would also work and
- for red wine drinkers, a fruiter red such as a Cru Beaujolais would be best
Match butternut squash soup with
- a good oaked Chardonnay and
Vegetable-dominant dishes should benefit from
- a crisp Sancerre but
- if serving with creamy sauces you need a more rounded wine like a Sémillon, a Chenin Blanc or an oaked Chardonnay.
Christmas Breakfast / Brunch & Wine:
Smoked salmon often features at Christmas as breakfast, a starter or in canapés. It's not an easy food to match given the oiliness of the fish and the smoky flavours. What is required is a medium-bodied wine to match the weight of the dish and a wine high in acidity to freshen the palate:
- So try champagne or English Sparkling Wine especially if eating smoked salmon with scrambled eggs and
Bacon can be tricky to pair with wine due to its saltiness
- red wine drinkers should try an aged Left Bank Bordeaux - it needs to be aged so that the tannins of the Cabernet Sauvignon have softened because salt and tannins do not go well together
Party Food & Wine
For canapés generally, there is no perfect match given the variety of flavours, so stick to
- champagne, Crémant de Bourgogne (great value sparkling wine from Burgundy made in the champagne style) or for a fruitier style, Prosecco
- for still wine stick to good all-rounders, Viognier, a white with body and a softer red with low tannins such as a lighter style Bordeaux blend or a Right Bank Bordeaux
My Christmas mixed cases include several of the wines suggested in Parts 1, 2 & 3 of this blog. If you want help putting together a mixed case of your own, please feel free to call me on 0333 772 0301 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Did you know that 50% of my lovely customers prefer the direct approach and order by phone or email rather than via the website?
Lindsay Cornelissen DipWSET is passionate about good quality wine and set up Wines With Attitude to share that passion with other wine lovers.