The mofo guide to pairing | Christmas wines
Christmas! Food, friends, fam... but what about the wines you're toasting with at the table, 'fo? Here’s our picks if you need a few pointers.
Check out: The Christmas Collection
Australian riesling is a winning combo with your Christmas menu. From those first starters all the way through to that “I couldn’t possibly eat another thing but go on then” cheeseboard at the end of the meal it’s a great match; that typical and characteristic racy and refreshing acidity giving a vibrant, zingy clean finish to prep your palate for that next mouthful of whatever course you’re on right now. Perfect with seafood, turkey and chicken, more textural examples are also a winner with pork - and sweeter rieslings can be a winner for equally sweet desserts or salty cheeses too.
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The winemaker’s grape that’s capable of running a full spectrum of flavour - from light-bodied, citrusy and steely to full, tropical fruited and toasty - it’s pretty much a choose your own adventure when it comes to pairing. If you’re sitting down to some big and hearty dishes for Christmas (we’re talking roast chicken, turkey, and plenty of carbs) we’d be inclined to go for a fuller, Margaret River classic chardy, where the fruit profile is typically rich and ripe and the wine has got plenty of body thanks to some time in oak. If you’re sitting down to a fresh and festive seafood fiesta though, we’d go for a leaner, lighter style of chardy typical of a cooler region like Tasmania. On the fence about what you’ll be serving? We’d opt for something like a Yarra Valley or Adelaide Hills chardy - typically medium-bodied with citrus-to-stonefruits on the palate, depending on the terroir, and maybe with a touch of cream or vanilla too depending on the winemaking. It won’t shout over your lighter dishes, but it won’t back down from those heavier plates either.
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It’s a wine we’re not-so-secretly in love with, and a decent gamay is a great accompaniment to Christmas menus. Typically a light and fresh red, it’s got vibrant blue and red fruits (think blueberries, cranberries, tart raspberries) and heady violets that bring a chatty dash of summer to the table, great to match with roast salmon or ham. And if you’re looking for a bit more depth, a cru Beaujolias can give you a bit more body and structure to match up against a big ol’ roast turkey or chicken.
Pinot noir is a cracking option for a pairing wine with a Christmas feast - cooler climate pinot brings those tart red fruits like cranberries along to the table to vibe with roast turkey and ham, with a light-to-medium body and tannin that loves those light-to-medium protein options too. More earthy, developed pinots are also great for veggie or vegan options too - think roast pumpkin soup or mushroom risotto - as they’ve got those complimentary savoury notes, plus the fruits to provide a refreshing contrast.
And look - it’s the obvious choice for festive celebrations, but for a good reason. Champagne is a winner because it’s got those vibrant bubbles that say “party time”, but also refreshing acidity and a citrus-saline-streak that pairs well with seafood and roast chicken or turkey. Plus, that extended time en tirage (wine-speak for getting to know itself during a secondary ferment in bottle) gives it the body and those yeasty-bready notes that sing against savoury sides like roast potatoes, pumpkin or parsnips. And if your budget doesn’t stretch to Champagne, no worries - look for “traditional method sparkling” on labels for value without compromise, as it’s the same winemaking used in Champagne (just not in the same region). Tasmania and the Yarra Valley have excellent sparkling wine made in this style, blended from the same varietals (chardonnay and pinot noir).
Of course we had to include sparkling shiraz - it's practically Australian Christmas in a bottle. Bold, bubbly, vibrant; sparkling shiraz has everything you need to kick off the festivities, with enough food friendly character in those dark, plush fruits to offer a refreshing contrast with darker, more savoury fare like grilled steak or sausages. Kick off your thongs and get those corks popping.
These are our picks as a general guide, but as always - you know you and your palate too. Feel free to mix up and experiment, you never know what deliciousness you might discover on the way.
Preparing a festive feast and need the wines to go with? Shop the Christmas Collection.