There are really no hard and fast rules, other than to enjoy yourself
No matter where, when or how you plan to celebrate Christmas this year there's a strong chance that it will involve a feast of some kind.
The choice of wines to match the different styles of food that can be served for this festive meal can range from traditional to something that matches the weather on the day.
If it's a warm day at the beach remember to keep white wines and sparkling or Champagne icy cold. The rule for white is around 9 degrees and for bubbles drop the temperature to 6.
You could even chill down your reds. They will be room temperature in no time and the freshness of a cold red will enhance the food.
Some useful guidelines:
- Light, white or sparkling wines that are fruity yet not too sweet are great for arrival drinks.
- Red wines are the natural choice for lamb or beef dishes, and their natural tannins are calling out for the protein that meat dishes have to offer.
- If there are spicy foods on the table, avoid big and bold reds, or white wine with higher acid content
- Open red wines an hour before serving to allow them to soften.
- Champagne and sparkling white wines such as Prosecco pair well with oysters, prawns, lobster, salmon and mussels. Also great with white meat of chicken and turkey.
- Sparkling red wine is ideal with turkey, pork and barbecued meats. Chill the same as for other sparkling wines.
- Riesling - choose a dry style with some fruitiness and acid. Serve with ham, pork and seafood.
- Sauvignon Blanc - can be great with light white meats and seafood
- Chardonnay - choose one that is not too "oaky" and match with chicken, turkey, barbecue poultry, pork sausages, ham and turkey.
- Pinot Gris/Grigio is a universal favourite and great if you are having a simple family get together. Both styles match most foods and will keep everyone happy. They have good palate weight and length and are never too acidic, with just the right amount of fruit flavours.
- Pinot Noir - perhaps the most versatile wine for the festive table. Chill if it's a warm day and it will reward you when served with turkey, ham, chicken, pheasant and duck.
- Merlot - a soft. jammy style of wine wonderful with lamb and roast beef.
- Shiraz - try to find an aged version to avoid harsh tannin and the very strong flavours from overpowering the food. Shiraz is a bold and jammy style of wine and often high in alcohol, so keep an eye on pouring sizes.
- Malbec - something different to surprise your guests. These are fairly high in tannins so make sure your are serving high-protein meats such as rump steaks or rack of lamb which will absorb the dryness of the tannin.
- Cabernet Sauvignon - the same rule applies. An older vintage (at least four years) will be softer and flavoursome and match with turkey, beef and lamb.
Of course these are just guidelines. There are really no hard and fast rules, other than to enjoy yourself and make sure your wines have all your guests talking.