Matching Christmas food & wine - Main Courses

Tips for matching Christmas food with wine - and practical suggestions - Part 1

Christmas baubles & glasses.jpgIn this blog post I look into the typical Christmas dishes that feature as a main course for Christmas dinner in UK homes and make suggestions about wines that can complement them - and about wines that won't match so well. See my separate blog posts covering a) Christmas desserts and wine and b) wine for Christmas starters, brunch dishes and party food.

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; think of a typical Christmas dinner with the lean turkey, fatty sausages, the accompanying fruity cranberry sauce and the contrasting rich milk-based bread sauce.  Nor do we want to dictate what you should be drinking as this should be based on your personal tastes so that you can relax and enjoy yourself.

However remember the basics as laid out in my Food & Wine Matching Guidelines blog and you should find that the food is enhanced by serving complementary wines. 

The main aim in food & wine pairing should be to....

Match the weight of the meal to the body of the wine.jpg

Below I list some seasonal main courses and give some suggestions for wines that will enhance them. 


A relatively light meat but all the accompaniments make the typical UK Christmas dinner quite a rich affair so wines need to have some weight to match the meal.
Bear in mind that if you smother your turkey in fruit sauces such as cranberry sauce a younger, fruity wine such as a Cru Beaujolais or this fruity, soft Chianti will work better.


Gaining in popularity this oily meat needs to be balanced by wines relatively high in acidity, fruit and/ or tannins



You can't beat the classic pairing of duck with any of my Pinot Noir wines

Roast Beef

The best match will depend on the fattiness of the meat

Salty food needs low tannin wines.jpg

Roast Ham or Gammon

Always avoid tannic wines with salty meat. Sweet glazes on the meat can counter this a little but stick to

St Veran on side with caption.jpg

Poached Salmon

It has to be an oaked Chardonnay from Burgundy, another classic combination but if you are not a Chardonnay person then go for another classic like Sancerre or Pouilly Fumé.

Nut RoastChristmas wine.jpg

A popular Christmas vegetarian option, nut roast can be quite rich so it needs:

I realise that this is a bit of a stereotypical vegetarian Christmas dinner; these days there is so much more choice and interesting vegan and vegetarian food. My general rule would be as per the number one rule - match the weight of the dish with the body of the wine.

Still can't make your mind up? Try one of my Christmas cases to make life easy for yourself.

I focus on foods typically eaten at this time of year; if there is something that I have not covered and you are struggling to find a good match, please feel free to call me on 0333 772 0301 or email


© Wines With Attitude Limited,

Wines With Attitude.jpg

Lindsay Cornelissen DipWSET is passionate about good quality wine and set up Wines With Attitude to share that passion with other wine lovers.

Feeling sociable? Follow me on TwitterFacebookInstagram, Linked In and Pinterest or share my blog via the buttons below.

Sign up to my newsletter for notification of new wines, blog posts and subscriber-only sales.

Read More of the Latest News

Contact Us