Choosing Wine for Christmas Dinner

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Wine cannot be missing at Christmas dinner. Symbol of joy and conviviality, it enhances any party, as long as it is good. Taste and quality are the magic words that must always guide the choice of the right wine, especially for Christmas Dinner.

Choosing Sparkling Wine for Christmas Dinner

At the beginning, at the end … whatever you want: sparkling wines are always a good choice, even for Christmas Dinner.

The only dilemma is which one to choose. Easy peasy. Just follow these simple guidelines.

Bollinger Champagne Special Cuvée: perfect to accompany a crab cake

Bollinger Champagne Special Cuvée: perfect to accompany a crab cake


Champagne always makes chic. French bubbles are timeless. This famous sparkling wine, made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes, combines fragrance, freshness, flavour and creamy texture.

There are different types of Champagne. Based on the aging period on lees, and depending on the composition of the Cuvée, with vintage grapes and/or reserve wines, you can choose between light, tasty and crunchy Champagne and Champagne rich in structure and persistence.

The right Champagne can perform gastronomic magic, especially on your Christmas Dinner table.

An “evolved” Champagne Cuvée can accompany very well the classic pigs in the blanket and a chicken, mushroom pastries.

Champagne Blanc de Blancs pair perfectly with brussel sprouts, especially when fried, or with nut roast for a vegetarian delight.

Pinot Noir based Champagne are a great choice to accompany a chicken liver pâté, a crab salad, crab cake or baked stuffed clams.

Rosé champagnes are excellent paired with classic foie gras and cranberry canapés.

A good Champagne Rosé pair perfectly with many types of canapés

A good Champagne Rosé pair perfectly with many types of canapés


Always Méthode Champenoise … but from Italy. Franciacorta sparkling wines are made mostly from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. As in the case of Champagne, Franciacorta Wines can be crunchy and zesty or intense and persistent, without losing freshness.

Franciacorta Wines are perfect especially for seafood and vegetarian recipes. Always a great choice to accompany a yummy fish and chips, a smoked salmon with horseradish crème fraîche, canapés with anchovies, salmon tartare.

They also easily pair with vegetarian appetizers, like fried mozzarella bites, crackers with zucchini, pistachio and Philadelphia.


For a happier Christmas Dinner, start with Prosecco. This Italian sparkling wine, Charmat method, comes from Glera grapes and stands out for its inviting aromas and fresh and crunchy taste. The ideal choice to accompany a large variety of appetizers, like the following: prawn cocktail, crispy baked parmesan garlic breaded mushrooms, pumpkin pinwheels with bacon and sage.

Starters of this type, already rich in aromas, will be even more fragrant and inviting, thanks to the accompaniment of Prosecco.


A softer sparkling wine, with a maximum pressure of 2.5 atmospheres.

A magnificent purple-red colour, like that of the Lambrusco grapes from which it is made. The Lambrusco family is large and unites in giving wines with vivid, vinous and fruity aromas, characterized by a fresh, drinkable taste with a juicy persistence.

A good Lambrusco cleanses the mouth, with its touch of delicate effervescence and the fruity mouthfeel. Intensity and freshness together, for a type of wine that goes very well with cold cuts platter, a classic lasagna and cured ham tortellini.

Choosing White Wine for Christmas Dinner

Please, don’t enjoy the tasty and fragrant freshness of white wines only in the Summer: they are a perfect company for Christmas Dinner too.

You can find fabulous white wines all over the world and, thanks to online commerce, you can have their charm on festive tables, with just one click.

White wines from Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Trebbiano, Cortese, Sémillon, Pinot Gris, Riesling grapes … oh my god, with so many possibilities you will think it is impossible to make the right choice.

Luckily, you are wrong.

Chablis Chardonnay Albert Bichot: a great choice for fried seafood and bacon brussel sprouts

Chablis Chardonnay Albert Bichot: a great choice for fried seafood and bacon brussel sprouts

White Wine for Christmas Dinner: Chardonnay

Here the missions is possible, because there is a great grapevine that can rule every situation and win most of the gastronomic matches. I am talking about Chardonnay Wines, from Chardonnay grapes, of course. These wines are super versatile: just choose the style you prefer.

  • Light and fresh Chardonnay, aged in steel, for some months, on fine lees. These wines are excellent with steamed and fried fish and vegetable recipes, with appetizers based on crustaceans and molluscs, with canapés enriched with cured meats and fresh cheeses. These wines also pair easily with sushi and raw fish.
  • Medium-structured Chardonnay, with prolonged aging on lees and perhaps a short period in wood barrels. These wines possess fruity and tropical aromas, with nutty and spicy notes and a softer, juicier and more fragrant taste. These wines are perfect to accompany well-seasoned first and second fish courses. More structured, they are also ideal to pair with a cauliflower or a mushroom soup, a New England clam chowder, a honey-roast carrots and many other sweet and sour recipes typical of Christmas Dinner.
  • Finally, the evolved Chardonnays arrive. These wines are aged in barriques, warm, soft and intense, with spicy and fruity notes in evidence, with sensations of toasted and caramelized dried fruit. These Chardonnays pair easily with roast turkey, with bacon and shallots. White wines that win easily even in a vegetarian Christmas dinner menu. They perfectly match a three-cheese soufflés or a stilton fig salad.

White Wine for Christmas Dinner: Riesling 

Riesling grapes create great white wines for Christmas Dinner. You can drink fot the whole dinner the right Riesling, because it can pair with different recipes.

Riesling white wines match easily aromatic and spicy dishes, even the hot ones, created with vegetables, fish and white meats.

Young and tasty Rieslings, with freshness and aroma in the forefront, are excellent for making all the following recipes even more delicious: parmesan baskets with curry vegetables, curry rice with shrimps, samosa, falafel, pad thai, ginger lemon chicken, shrimps dumplings, sushi and sashimi.

Full body or aged Riesling can boost the flavours of a 4 cheeses pizza, a fish curry, a veal with tuna sauce, a curry wurst, a pad thai, a curry rice and even the intense marine taste of oysters.

Riesling wine are the perfect complement for a Christmas dinner in the name of tasty elegance.

Choosing Rosé Wine for Christmas Dinner

It’s impossible to go wrong with Rosé: the middle color that pairs always easily, even with the ingredients of the Christmas Dinner.

Rosé Wine for Christmas Dinner: veggie and fish menu

The famous Provençal rosés, for example, are an excellent choice to accompany a veggie or fish Christmas dinner.

Imagine on your table, set for the occasion, an olive tapenade, a greek pasta salad, a shallot tarte tatin or a vegan wellington, stuffed with roasted red peppers, cooked beetroot and kale. These vegetarian recipes become even more fragrant and tasty when paired with a rosé from Provence, based on Grenache. A grape variety and a type of wine great to enhance Mediterranean flavors. Equally excellent with seafood first courses, such as a scallop pasta or a classic lobster Newburg.

Rosé Wine for Christmas Dinner: fish entrées

A slightly more intense rosé, perhaps based on Pinot Noir or Sangiovese and/or Montepulciano grapes, is the right choice to enhance aromas and flavours of seafood menus. This kind of wines pair perfectly with pomegranate and orange glazed salmon, seafood spaghetti marinara, smoked salmon mousse, roasted stuffed lobster, seafood cakes with herbs, crab-brie cheese balls.

Rosé Wine for Christmas Dinner: cold cuts

For cold cuts appetizers, Rosé wines are equally a perfect choice. Mourvèdre (aka Monastrell) and Grenache Cuvée, Sangiovese e Montepulciano Rosé, Nero d’Avola Rosé deliciously pair with a rich platter with mixed cold cuts, like ham, salami, speck, bacon, lard, mortadella.

Provençal rosé wines pairings

A great Provençal rosé for many wine-food pairings


Red Wine for Christmas Dinner

The recipes for the Christmas dinner, based on meat, are rich in ingredients and succulent … therefore, you need a red wine capable of successfully treading the stage.

From cold cuts dashboarda to the richest game recipes: unleash the power of the Red Wine for your Christmas Dinner.

Red Wine for Cold Cuts Recipes

Reds can be the protagonist wines of the Christmas Dinner right from the appetizers, especially if they include charcuterie.

Cabernet Sauvignon blends, young and fruity Merlot and Tempranillo, velvety Grenache Cuvée, young Chianti wines are the perfect choice for bacon and prune rolls, ham mini-sandwiches with pepperoni.

These wines are a perfect choice from the beginning of the evening, since they can easily pair with many cold cuts recipes. Try them also with soft and medium-aged cheeses, lardo bruschetta, puff pastry with ham and cheddar, würstel nachos. Free your imagination, create your favorite cold cuts appetizer and uncork a good red wine, fruity, with medium structure and persistence.

Beef tenderloin paired with Chianti Riserva

A succulent beef tenderloin paired with Chianti Riserva by Piccini

Red Wine for Roasted Meat Recipes

What to add to a succulent beef wellington or a roasted stuffed turkey? A good red wine, capable of enhancing the aromas and taste of every bite.

Roasted white and red meats are very succulent and they also have a sweet mouthfeel. These recipes are often accompanied by a vegetable side dish, so their basic sweet character is amplified. This is why the ideal red wines for large roasts must have persistence, a medium structure, a good alcohol content and also a good mix of freshness and tastiness. There are many red wines suited to the task, so  you are spoiled for choice.

That’s why I made this list of the best red wines for roasted meat recipes, so you can easily enjoy your roast beef or beef tenderloin, porchetta bacon, entrecôte à la bordelaise, baked turkey stuffed with chorizo, roasted lamb with nuts and many other dishes.

  • Bordeaux Merlot
  • Chianti Classico Riserva
  • Rioja
  • Burgundy Pinot Noir
  • Red Cuvée from Saint-Émilion
  • Rosso di Montalcino
  • Bolgheri Rosso
  • Australia and New Zealand Pinot Noir
  • Australian Syrah
  • California Merlot
  • Young California Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Oregon Pinot Noir
  • Barbaresco
A roasted stuffed turkey pairs very well with this Pinot Noir from Oregon

A roasted stuffed turkey pairs very well with this Pinot Noir from Oregon

Red Wine for Game Recipes

When your Christmas Dinner features game recipes, here are the protagonist wines of the evening:

  • Bourgogne Pinot Noir  Réserve
  • Châteneauf-du-Pape Rouge
  • Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
  • Australia Pinot Noir
  • Ribera del Duero
  • Californian Cabernet Sauvignon
  • South African Cabernet Sauvignon
  • South African Cuvée with Cabernet Sauvignon, Franc and Merlot
  • Bordeaux Blends from Médoc
  • Brunello di Montalcino
  • Barolo

These wines feature complexity and a great persistence capable of amplifying the richness of this kind of dishes. Furthermore, their aromatic profile, with notes of berries, aromatic herbs, spices and toasted notes, goes well with the wild taste of many game recipes.

Venison Fillet wine-pairings

Brunello Castello Banfi and Cabernet Sauvignon Allomi from Napa Valley: a perfect choice for a Venison Fillet

Red Wine for Vegetarian Recipes

Don’t think of vegetables only as a side for meat dishes. Some red wines are also excellent alongside vegetarian recipes, enriched with spices and aromatic herbs.

Here are some vegetarian and vegan recipes that also make a great impression on the table at Christmas:

  • Mushroom bourguignon
  • Red wine braised lentils
  • Truffled egg toast
  • Vegetarian moussaka
  • Beans soup
  • Caponata

To make all of them even more special, savor them sipping the right red wine. Choose it from the types listed below, perfect for enhancing recipes mainly based on vegetables and cheeses.

  • Pinot Noir Bourgogne (choose a young, aromatic and refreshing one)
  • Cabernet Franc from Bordeaux or Loire wine region (choose a young one)
  • Tempranillo from Rioja
  • Barbera d’Alba
  • Dolcetto d’Alba
  • Kotsifali wine from Greece
  • Etna Rosso

Choosing Sweet Wine for Christmas Dinner

The Christmas Dinner deserves to be ended on a sweet note.  The right wine can really make a classic Christmas Pudding stand out: a sweet wine, don’t forget, in order to enhance the sweetness of the dessert.

Sweet plus sweet doesn’t mean cloying, it just means sweet for longer. When you have a delicious dessert in front of you, especially if you love desserts, prolonging its pleasure is really the best achievement!

Christmas Desserts

Find the right wines for your Christmas Desserts

Sweet Wine for Christmas Pudding and traditional Christmas Desserts

A classic Christmas Pudding, with candied fruits, spices, apple slices and citrus zest, deserves a good wine on the side. With this “classic” of Christmas Dinner, you can choose between the following delightful wine options: Vin Santo del Chianti, Passito di Pantelleria, Assyrtiko passito.

Sweet wines of this type, obtained from dried grapes, are perfect to accompany all those typically winter desserts that combine dried ,candied fruit and spices. Also excellent to pair with zelten, orange anise croquembouche with white chocolate, gingerbread cookies, blondies, pecan and apple pie.

Sweet Wine for red fruits desserts

For a fresh and fruity trifle, and for all the spoon desserts with red fruits, sweet rosé wines are a perfect match. A demi-sec Rosé Champagne, a rare Malvasia di Castelnuovo Don Bosco, a Brachetto d’Acqui or a special Alto Adige Moscato Rosa: all these wines enhance the sweet aromas of this dessert and make its creaminess even more pleasant.

Sweet Wine for crème brûlée

A fine Sauternes can be a delicious choice to accompany a crème brûlée, a crème caramel, a caramel cheesecake and, in general, all creamy desserts enriched with dried fruit and caramelized or smoky hints.

Sweet Wine for Panettone and Pandoro

For a classic Panettone, the best choice comes up close: Moscato d’Asti, sparkling or still, is excellent for enhancing the aromas and flavors and degreasing the consistency of this world-famous Italian leavened dessert.

Sweet Wine for Chocolate Desserts

For desserts rich in chocolate and spices such as the traditional Bûche de Noël, lebkuchen or profiteroles, you need straw wines made from red berried grapes, such as the following tasty ones:

  • Banyuls: an AOC from France, in the Rousillon area, which has always been famous for its VDN (Vin doux Naturel) made from Grenache Noir grapes.
  • Vin Santo Occhio di Pernice: Twice Saint! Vin Santo del Chianti show ruby ​​hues, and a deeper flavour, when it is made only with dried Sangiovese grapes.
  • Sagrantino di Montefalco passito: a straw wine made from the homonymous special grapes, grown only in central Italy (in the Umbria region). This wine pair amazingly with all desserts, even creamy, rich in chocolate: even with sacher torte or a chocolate and raspberry cake … it’s the best!
  • Pedro Ximenez Spanish Sweet Wine: from Pedro Ximenez grapes …  excellent dessert wines are born,such as those produced in the Montilla-Moriles D.O. They recall the aromas of Sherry fortified wine, but without the structure and the high warm sensation. Sweet and persistent wines, with a moderate alcohol content, they are perfect to accompany biscuits and chocolate sponge cakes.

If the vinous choices are still too light, it’s time to release the spirits!

Fudge Nut Brownies: pair them with a great Cognac!

Fudge Nut Brownies: pair them with a great Cognac!

Spirits for Christmas Dinner

To digest all that has come before, enjoy a sip of a spirit. Here are the best ones, to ease the cold of the season and warm up the atmosphere.

  • Rum: this spirit enhances the aftertaste and sweetness of many Christmas desserts, especially those enriched with dried fruit, caramel and spices. After all, this liquor is created from sugarcane.
  • Bourbon: with its typical hints of vanilla and caramel, this spirit pairs very well with truffles, especially with those enriched with vanilla flavour, nuts, caramel (even salty).
  • Scotch: the perfect spirit choice for lovers of pure and dark chocolate, with no other additions.
  • Cognac, Calvados and Armagnac: these spirits are born to pair perfectly with nutty chocolate truffle. A real delight too with a chocolate hazelnut cake, brownies or with biscuits and cake with chestnuts. They are perfect to celebrate this season.
  • Cointreau or Cherry: these liquors are perfect to accompany flavored chocolate. The first is excellent with chocolate biscuits and truffles enriched with lemon zest or citrus juice. The second is perfect with truffles filled with cherry liqueur and, in general, when the chocolate is enriched with berries, both fresh and dried.