Christmas Dinner is arguably the most important meal of the year, which is why it is so important to get the right wine to go with it. Pairing food and wine can be a tricky art, but one that provides amazing results when the flavours of the food and wine react together to form a combination that is simply out of this world.
Turkey is of course a delicately flavoured white meat which leads a lot of people to go for white with little flavour for their Christmas meal, but I really do think that this is a bit of a waste of time. You should not feel obligated to go for a white, you will likely be eating a lot of red meat too- so going for a red is just as sensible. Whether you decide on red or white or even a rose, you should choose something that is slightly lower in alcohol so as to avoid ruining the flavour of the meat. Lighter wines are generally better when it comes to meals that have many rich flavours anyway- and Christmas dinner is nothing if not rich!
The other component to a good wine pairing is the audience that will be drinking the wine. If there are a lot of people there that aren’t really big wine drinkers, then going for something a little on the sweet side is likely to be the best choice. White Zinfandel is a classic pairing for turkey, and the fruity aromas are likely to perfectly compliment the meal as whole. As far as I am concerned the best White Zinfandels are still found in California where they were first produced, and my favourite is from the Gallo vineyards which is the perfect balance between sweet and crisp. Gallo is one of those wine brands that has got a bad name thanks to its popularity and low prices- which is more to do with snobbery than the quality of the wine- so don’t be put off.
If you’re going for the traditional white wine then a chardonnay is usually recommended. I am not really a fan of the bolder oakey varieties that are most popular at the present time. However, smoother examples can be found- in particular I can recommend Pouilly Fuisse, a White Burgundy. There are many excellent specimens to be discovered; however, if you can get hold of it you could try the Precellence from Marks and Spencers which is very restrained with a buttery finish if it is served chilled. This is a wine that needs to be served very cold for the best flavours to come through. I would also readily recommend a good Riesling, simply because they are generally sweet and great crowd pleasers. Riesling is always particularly good if you have a fruity stuffing for your turkey.
If you’re a red wine lover, you could try a cabernet franc, pinot noir or Beaujolais, none of which could really be described as full bodied, but all come with a fruit-filled palate with nice levels of acidity. Personal preference needs to come into play though when making your final selections. This is always the wine-choosers privilege, finding something that suits your palate as well as what is on the table will add an extra level of enjoyment to your Christmas feast. If you don’t want to haul your wine back from the supermarket, then buy it online. You will be able to take as much time as you want reading up on each wine from the comfort of your own home, so you will have a greater chance of finding something that you’re really going to enjoy. Check out the wines available at Donzella Wines for one of the best selections online from an independent retailer, though Marks and Spencer, Sainsburys and most other retailers do deliver also.