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10 Easy Christmas Day Food and Wine Pairings

Christmas day is often based around a big, elaborate, and well-attended meal. While it’s always tempting to crack into the top shelf drinks and go from there, the fact is that with such great effort and time spent on the food you may as well make sure you’ve got a decent pairing in your hand as well. The following are some of our favourite simple, straightforward and often very impressive pairings for before, during and after the big meal. There’s a mix of sweet and savoury flavours throughout, which feels in the Christmas spirit.

1. Olives and Fino Sherry

green olives

This one is primarily for the cook – while everyone else is socialising and you’re sweating over the stove/barbeque/pizza oven then it’s great to have an ice cold, dry-as-a-bone Fino sherry and some great olives. Whether you’re a fan of the big crunchy Sicilian greens, or the small dried black olives, the Fino is a great pairing.

2. Tinned Anchovies and Pedro Ximinez

Another great aperitif but from the other end of the Sherry spectrum. It’s the classic salt and sweet combination that Americans love to take credit for, but of course the folks in Jerez were there a long time ago. If you don’t have a P.X. then a good Rutherglen Muscat will do fine, with added black tea character for good measure.

3. Roast Red Cabbage and Beaujolais

Red cabbage often gets tossed in to the coleslaw without much thought, but can be a beautiful solo dish or accompaniment when roasted in vinegar, often with apples or prunes and bacon added. The sweet red and smoky flavours work great with a Beaujolais Villages, offering its own savoury and fruity complexity.

4. Watermelon Salad and Provençal Rosé

watermelon salad

Watermelon, mint and feta cheese provides the combination of juicy fruit and herbs with a saline edge that perfectly matches the flavour profile of Provençal Rosé.  And of course there’s the extra visual pairing of matching pink hues. Works as either a starter, a side or a light dessert.

5. Battered Fish and Muscadet

You might be taking it easy with the cooking, opting for fish and chip shop catering, but that doesn’t mean you have to drink a can of lemonade. Muscadet has lemon and pear flavours and a zippy acid to cut through anything deep fried.

6. Bacon-Wrapped Prawns and Buttery Chardonnay

A BBQ staple, these salty, smoky flavor bombs are an excuse to open your biggest, most indulgent buttery chardonnay for a mouthful of everything.

7. Beef Wellington and Red Burgundy

beef wellington

A little old-fashioned, but pretty easy to prepare in advance and serve with a simple mushroom cream sauce as a main. Pick a Burgundy or Pinot Noir with a bit of acid and some complementary truffle flavours.

8. Chevre Salad and Chenin Blanc

There’s something about the musky tartness of Chevre that pairs so well with the honeyed, bruised-apple and lanolin characters of Chenin that it seem a crime to pair it with anything else. Whether you’ve tossed fresh chevre through some rocket or you’ve got a classic grilled-on-bread Salade au Chevre Chaud, the Chenin Blanc will be a perfect pairing.

9. Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Nebbiolo

mac cheese

Typically a side dish and more often associated with Thanksgiving, Macaroni and cheese is actually super versatile, from the type of pasta or cheese you use, to how wet or dry the bake is, and with some added vegetables can become the wow main dish. While tempting to pair with a rich white, go for a light-bodied but structured red – nothing as serious as a Barolo, but a decent Alba or Yarra Valley Nebbiolo will make a great pairing with the starches and oils.

10. Comte and Anything

comte cheese

Comte is a classic Christmas cheese and great to pull out at the end of the day. The slightly sweet, nutty and buttery richness honestly pairs well with all wines – from the local Jura styles, crisp or rich whites, light reds to heavier Bordeaux styles, and sweet wines.

For more, check out our Champagne Food Pairings, or some more general suggestions for wines to serve at Christmas.

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Kieran Clarkin

Kieran Clarkin

Digital Marketing and Tour Host at Wine Compass
Kieran is a WSET Diploma student, Chin Chin sommelier and host for Wine Compass. He loves chatting about wine, hosting tastings and getting people interested in wine generally. He's big into Victorian wine, the Loire Valley and the very under-rated wines of Greece.
Kieran Clarkin

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