If you want wines to please everybody, that will also match just about any Christmas Day food or snack then you’ll need to get in at least three bottles of wine – a light red, a fruity white and a flavourful red that can double as an after-dinner port.
Trying to find wines that will suit all palates (from the wine connoiseur to the occasional drinker) is tricky enough without adding to fact that that they must also match a wide range of foods – from salmon starters, to roast meat mains, sticky puddings and the salted snacks munched during The Queen’s speech. So where to start?
Light and fruity reds, like French Beaujolais or Claret, rather than hefty reds like aged Spanish Rioja or Cabernet Sauvignon, are your best bet. Lighter reds not only match white meats as well as more hearty roast beef joints, but they also have the additional advantage of having just enough flavour to be enjoyable without offending anybody.
But some people just don’t like red wine. So this is where an additional bottle or two of well-known white grape variety wines are useful (Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc) plus something with a more traditional Germanic tang for the occasional drinker (Riesling, or the now fashionable Picpoul de Pinet which is light enough to act as an aperitif).
Of course you may have someone in your party that only drinks hearty reds – to please them why not get in a hearty Spanish or Italian red – these can then also double as an after-dinner substitute to Port and have the added bonus of being a talking point with the wine connoiseur who always seems to be around somewhere…
Top Ten Wines for Christmas Day
1. Shorn California Shiraz, 1.5litre pouch (equivalent to two bottles)
£11 Tesco (equivalent to £5.50 a bottle)
Plenty of flavour and plenty of wine in this easy to use wine pouch. If the contents last for more than a day then it can keep the wine fesh for up to six weeks. Black cherry and coffee flavours. A good value red that matches most things.
2. SPAR ‘G’ Spanish Garnacha 2016
Flavours of damson, blueberry, cocoa and smoky liquorice. A wine with enough backbone to match heartier meaty and vegetarian dishes. Or even stir fry with black bean sauce.
3. SPAR ‘PN’ French Pinot Noir 2016
The letter range from SPAR is good place to look for many of your Christmas wine needs with good value and easy to like flavours. This Pinot Noir tastes of raspberry and milk chocolate. Match to roast turkey.
4. SPAR ‘PG’ Romanian Pinot Grigio Rosé 2017
Very fresh and fruity. The best rosé I’ve had in a long time.
5. Rabelo 2015. Portuguese red
There are two great things about this wine – it’s flavour and the fact that you don’t need a corkscrew to open it. It looks all the world like a standard bottle of wine but the cork has been made with a screwthead so all you need do is turn to open. Then pour to reveal the blackberry and coffee flavours.
6. Doubtful Sound New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2016
A nice mix of fresh lemon and creamy peach flavours.
7. Co-op Irresistible French Marsanne 2016, white
Subtle pears and honey. A nice wine that everyone will like.
8. La Belle Angèle French Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Pineapple, pears and melon: sweet-sour flavours that match well to food.
9. La Cheteau Crémant de Loire Blanc de Noir Brut sparkling
Flavours of fresh apple juice and almond with a bit of earthiness. Match to aperitifs like vol au vents.
10. Bolney Estate Eighteen Acre Rosé Brut sparkling
£23 direct from Bolney Estate online
Lightly fruity, lightly sparkling and lightly red. A very nice rosé.