Top 10 Best Wine Pairings with Christmas Lunch

Top 10 Best Wine Pairings with Christmas Lunch

Christmas is the season to be jolly. It is also a season when we tend to overindulge in some of our favourite foods.

Whether you go the traditional route with a three-course turkey dinner, cook up a seafood feast or make veg the centre of attraction, we all like to eat on Christmas Day until we are full to bursting. 

We don't mind a drink too. But when it comes to the meal itself, pairing what to drink with your Christmas lunch can leave you in a bit of a quandary. 

While matching food and wine is as much about personal taste as anything else, it doesn't hurt to follow a well-considered selection of choices to compliment your entrée, main and dessert fare.

With that in mind, why not make your festive feast one to remember with our recommendations of the top 10 best wine pairings to have with your Christmas lunch?


Bubbles at Breakfast 

A lovely glass of bubbly at breakfast is a cheerful way to start off Christmas Day. Champagne is very festive and traditionally used in lots of different celebrations.  

When planning a champagne breakfast be mindful that their intricate flavours will be overpowered by foods like marmalade. So if you are wanting to have something sweet like that on toast for breakfast, perhaps have it with a glass of dry champagne or sparkling wine.  

Also, don't forget Prosecco. With its gentle sweetness and low alcohol, this makes it an ideal pairing for breakfast. It also mixes well with orange juice and is lower in acidity too.



If you are having seafood, it is a great time to get the brut champagne out. Or if that is too excessive, a fresh, clean chardonnay is also a great all-rounder to accompany both fish and seafood. 

Its acidity, for instance, cuts through any fattiness you might find in smoked salmon. While it's also fantastic with shellfish as well.  

A classic choice would be an unoaked, crisp white wine from Australia, New Zealand, France or Chile. Chardonnay is so versatile and will pretty much go with most seafood dishes.  

A great Semillon is perfect with most things, but it melds especially well with rock oysters – particularly the Coffin Bay variety. 

A young Semillon has those juicy lime and lemon zesty characteristics that are a great foil for oysters. It also has a mouth-watering crisp apple acidity. Although it is not oaked, it only has a modest alcohol level.  

Fresh prawns have such a delicate flavour and when enjoyed on their own, the wine should simply act like a squeeze of lemon.

A good pair for prawns is a Riesling or Semillon. Both are crisp white wines with fine acidity and a bright lemon flavour. They also have a little more body and aromatics, as well as a slightly deeper flavour. In addition, their higher alcohol level balances out the full, salty flavours of the prawns. 


Roast turkey all on its own would be one of the easiest ingredients to match with wine. You could drink your favourite, white, red, rose or even sparkling wine with it and it would work out fabulously.  

As turkey is low in fat, a smooth and juicy red wine with low tannin levels would also be a great match.  

Similarly, a Grenache is a lovely pairing with turkey and all its trimmings. It is after all a grape that produces a wine with tones of soft raspberry fruit.  

Another option you could try is cotes du rhone. This Garnacha hails from Australia and is a fruity blend. That said, Grenache tends to contain a fair bit of alcohol, so if you would prefer a lighter option, try a pinot noir from New Zealand, Australia or Germany, or maybe give a ripe Beaujolais a whirl.  

If in any doubt, go for a sparkling shiraz, that is not too high in alcohol. Its light oak, full-bodied, dark fruits and chocolate cake intensity balance out the lean, slightly dry and rich gamey characters of the turkey perfectly.



If you are planning on having a roast chicken, why not give it a festive twist and pair it with a richer white like Verdelho, Viognier or a Chardonnay?

These pair extraordinarily well and are a natural match for this dish - particularly the Viognier, with its distinctive varietal apricot character.  

For those who enjoy red wine, both Grenache and Pinot Noir are fruity and lighter reds that provide a satisfying flavour combination.



You can't beat a glazed, baked ham for the Christmas table. Ham combines well with a fruity, ripe wine which has pronounced fruit flavours, as they offset very well with the saltiness of the meat. Riesling, Rose or Semillon are very good options too. 

This sweet and salty combo also matches well with a mid-weight red wine like a Grenache, GSM blend, Tempranillo and Barbera. All of which have a balance of fruit sweetness and tannins.


When having a roast, you need a wine that will cut through but not overwhelm the delicate flavours of the lamb meat. A shiraz is perfect for this as it is an intense, savoury, medium-bodied wine which goes very well with the fatty richness of the lamb.



The rich oiliness of salmon makes it an outstanding choice for an extra indulgent Christmas lunch.  

Chardonnay is perhaps the most natural choice for this dish. However, a Pinot Gris, Fiano or Vermentino would be equally as delicious.

Red wine lovers, on the other hand, can always count on Pinot Noir as a classic partner to salmon.  


If you are not a meat eater, then you might be wondering what wine to pair with your vegetarian meal. 

Well, you can't go wrong with one that has fresh, zippy acidity and juiciness, as this will compliment the vibrant colours and flavours of your vegetable dish.  

Try pouring a Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, or Sauvignon Blanc or even a delicious Riesling to lifts its flavour.  

Red wine drinkers should avoid heavier varietals such as Shiraz or Cabernet and opt for lighter-bodied reds like Pinot Noir or Sangiovese. So as not to overpower the vegetables.



A rule of thumb with dessert wines is that the wine should be sweeter than the dessert. As a Christmas pudding is very sweet and full of dried fruit and brandy, Sauternes would be completely overpowered by these flavours.  

Luckily there are a few choices out there for you. These include Pedro Ximenez sherry, which is a wine made with dried grapes. Alternatively opt for a Muscat, which is aged with a rum-like molasses flavour as well as a floral orange character. This makes it a very fresh and drinkable option to go with your choice of Christmas dessert.  

You could even try a botrytised Sémillon, which has a body, length and intensity that holds its own against a high-sugar dessert. 

Alternatively, why not give Petit Manseng a go? Made from a French grape that derives from Jurancon, it's a cracking wine with luscious acidity. It goes equally well with Christmas pudding, trifle or even Pavlova.



It's not just because of tradition that people drink port with cheese. They do so because they are a perfect match. 

Not only does the sweetness of the port compliment the saltiness of the cheese, but one also drives you to have a bit more of the other. In particular, a port is an outstanding option with cheeses like comte or mature cheddar which are quite hard.

If you want to try something different, you could go for a Rivesaltes from the south of France, which is a mixture of fruitiness, sweetness and nuts. Consider also a Tawny Port. This is made in the same way as a regular port but hails from Grenache and Shiraz grapes.  

If you are serving brie or soft goat's cheese, make sure there is some leftover Chardonnay as these cheeses don't get along with Port.


Final Thoughts


We hope you enjoy our wine and food pairings for your Christmas meal this festive season. 

On this list, we've tried to account for various flavours and textures. So, we hope there is at least one suggestion you like the sound of.

If all else fails, you can always pop open your next bottle with Grays and dispense with the food entirely!


Copyright © 2001 -, a Company - All rights reserved.