Matching Christmas food & wine - Main Courses
Tips for matching Christmas food with wine - and practical suggestions - Part 1
In 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....
Below I list some seasonal main courses and give some suggestions for wines that will enhance them.
if you prefer red wine there is also plenty of choice but make sure the wine does not have too many tannins as there is little fat in the meat to soften them. Try an aged claret with low tannins, a Bordeaux blend with age, a Pinot Noir which generally has soft tannins or a smooth Rhône wine for traditionalists.
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
- for a more fatty joint wines with more tannins to cut through the richness such as this delicious New World Cabernet Sauvignon
Roast Ham or Gammon
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.
Lindsay Cornelissen DipWSET is passionate about good quality wine and set up Wines With Attitude to share that passion with other wine lovers.