The perfect wines to drink with Christmas dinner You’ve bought the turkey, made the cranberry sauce and peeled the brussel sprouts but what are you going to drink with your Christmas meal? Let’s take a look some suggestions for wines that complement typical Christmas dishes that feature as a main course for Christmas dinner in homes across the UK – and at wines that won’t match so well. See my separate blog post covering Christmas desserts and wine. THE DIFFICULTIES WITH FINDING THE PERFECT WINE FOR CHRISTMAS DINNER Firstly, Christmas is about having fun and meeting up with family and friends. It’s not about stressing out about which wine or wines to have with dinner. If you just want the easy option and stick to your favourite wine, then no-one is going to turn up their noses and say that the wine you have chosen is absolutely the wrong choice to go with turkey or whatever you have chosen to cook.What you chose to drink should be based on your personal tastes so that you can relax and enjoy yourself. In any case, you’ll be relieved to hear, there can be no hard and fast rules for wine at this time of year. 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.  However there are a few basic tips as laid out in my Food & Wine Matching Guidelines that might help you find wines that won’t be overwhelmed by all the food’s flavours and that might even enhance the meal. TIPS FOR MATCHING CHRISTMAS MAIN COURSES WITH WINE My absolute number one tip for any meal, not just for Christmas dinner is worth remembering. The main aim in any food & wine pairing should be to match the weight of the meal with the body of the wine. Below I list some typical Christmas main courses and give some suggestions for wines that will complement rather than clash with the food. WINES FOR TURKEY Turkey (or chicken) is a relatively light meat but all the accompaniments that we tend to have with it make the typical UK Christmas dinner quite a rich affair so wines need to have some weight to match the meal. Another thing to consider is that turkey has a tendency to dry out and you therefore need quite a juicy wine. Therefore I would suggest: White wines that are quite full-bodied and that are aromatic will work perfectly such as Chenin Blanc or Chardonnay, preferably oaked as long as it has some fruity flavours as well and is not bone dry.   If you prefer red wine with your turkey or chicken there is also plenty of choice of weightier wines but make sure that they do not have too many tannins. A wine that is quite tannic can seem quite harsh because these white meats have very little fat to help soften the tannins. So try one of the following: A claret with a bit of age (a red Bordeaux) – age should have softened the tannins or a silky New World Pinot Noir which generally has soft tannins or if you are a traditionalist, a smooth Rhône wine would also fit the bill.     Bear in mind that if you enjoy your turkey with fruit sauces such as cranberry sauce, younger, fruity wines will work well and they provide the juiciness if the turkey has dried out a little. So you could try a soft Cru Beaujolais. And if these are too many suggestions, a premium Sangiovese with a few years under its belt like this Rosso di Montalcino should balance the fresh fruit flavours you need with some savoury notes from ageing and be a real treat. WINES FOR GOOSE Making a comeback, goose makes a very tasty alternative to the traditional turkey and is much less likely to go dry. Goose meat is oily and that greasiness needs to be balanced by wines that are relatively high in acidity, fruit and / or tannins, all of which help cut through the fat and make the meat seem less rich. White wine might not be the obvious choice with goose but a relatively full-bodied white with aromatics and juicy fruit flavours would fit the bill like a pure Semillon which has good body and a nice nuttiness which will also complement the goose or a Semillon Sauvignon blend where the Sauvignon will increase the mouth-watering acidity of the wine to help cut through the fat.   Red is perhaps more traditional for goose and it should be a fruity wine that has some tannins and acidity so try a Pinot Noir from Burgundy or from elsewhere in the world or a Merlot-dominant Right Bank Bordeaux.   WINES FOR ROAST BEEF Traditionalists may look for the heaviest claret to go with beef but the best wine match will depend on the fattiness of the beef: For less fatty cuts of beef, choose wines with lower tannins like a Cru Beaujolais or a relatively mature Bordeaux-blend  and for a more fatty joint of beef, wines with more tannins will help to cut through the richness. For example why not try this delicious New World Cabernet Sauvignon?   WINES FOR ROAST HAM OR GAMMON It is always best to avoid drinking highly tannic wines with salty meat like ham or gammon as the clashing salt and tannins make for a harsh, even bitter sensation. Sweet glazes on the meat can counter this effect a little but you would well to choose a wine with juicy fruit flavours and low tannins. For red wine with ham, fruity reds are the best option. For example, a Cru Beaujolais or for a New World option, a really juicy Grenache.   White wine can also work well with ham so don’t discount it as an option but make sure it is fruity like a dry Riesling from New Zealand or an oaked Chardonnay can work too as long as it still has