If you’re cooking Christmas dinner for your parents, your extended family, your entire friendship group, whatever, there are certain vexed problems you’ll no doubt have encountered along the way. Like ordering in the right turkey (or something more exotic), and figuring out how to cook it (Delia or Nigella?), and what to serve with it.
From what to toast the queen to at 3pm to which Port to sup into the small hours, here are some of our recommendations for Christmas wines to serve.
Smart and sophisticated, Billecart-Salmon is the connoisseur’s choice when it comes to a wine to serve. As your guests assemble hand them charged glasses and get your Christmas dinner off to a guaranteed great start.
The upmarket Champagne is smarter than an owl at a spelling bee, and smooth to taste. It also comes in half bottles, ideal for slipping into a Christmas stocking.
Smarter than an owl at a spelling bee...
This Christmas, mix things up a little with this cuvee, a Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose. of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir, the blend’s method goes back for seven generations.
Cost: £70 a bottle
Another personal favourite, the yeasty tones of Pol Roger are always perfect for a celebration.
Completely consistent, the straw coloured wine is made up of three champenois grape varieties: pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay with the blend coming from 30 different crus to ensure exactly the same glass every time.
The yeasty tones of Pol Roger are always perfect for a celebration...
It’s relatively affordable, as a treat, its elegant and not only was it good enough for the royal wedding, but Winston Churchill swore by Pol Roger.
Cost: £40 per bottle
Champagne Lanson is the ideal balance between price point, quality and serving a brand your guests will immediately understand.
Fellow fans of le Franglais, Le Black Label is eminently drinkable and goes particularly well with fish.
Given as a tribute to the Royal Court of England in 1937...
The Black Label was given as a tribute to the Royal Court of England in 1937, and they’ve held their royal warrant every since.
The nose combines toast and flowers, ripe fruit and citrus.
Cost: £26 per bottle
Aldi have been on top form with their Champagnes for long enough that people now recognise that it’s the place to come for the best bubbles on budget. And when you’re spending from £12.49 a bottle then you can afford nearly six times as much than if you’re buying the Billecart Salmon.
Aldi’s Nicolas De Montbart Champagne has fruity and floral notes and a finish of citrusy lemon, and equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes gives a subtle elegance on the palate. Meanwhile spend a smidgen more and the Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut from the seasonally Dickensian sounding Champagne house Philizot & Fils was awarded a “silver outstanding” medal at 2018’s International Wine and Spirits Competition and Aldi’s wine expert, Sam Caporn says it’s “In my honest opinion, one of the very best, if not THE best value champagne in the UK today”. And, of course, he would but still…
A rich Christmas dinner requires an intense red to match. Look no further than Orben, a Rioja that features prominently in Michelin restaurants across Spain.
Its fruity, lightly toasted notes give way to a smoky aromatic finish...
Aged for 12 months in French oak, its fruity, lightly toasted notes give way to a smoky aromatic finish. Expect cherry, blackberry, toffee, toasty oak and just a hint of leather. Complex, balanced.
The wine hails from some of the oldest vines in Rioja, located in Laguardia at high altitude.
Geno Tinto 2019
Blending both local Portuguese and international grape varieties (Aragonez, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet and Syrah) Geno Tinto is as affordable as it it drinkable.
The reasonably priced Portuguese wine is rich and fruity, with raspberries on the nose and a peppery spice that’s perfect for Christmas.
The cheerful label may be enough to kickstart a stalled conversation with your awkward great aunt...
What’s more, the cheerful label may be enough to kickstart a stalled conversation with your awkward great aunt.
Cost: £7.99 per bottle
Finca La Emperatriz Gran Vino Rioja Tinto
I served this at Sunday lunch last weekend and spent the whole meal grumpy at myself for sharing it rather than keeping it to myself! It was delicious.
The nose is spicy and fruity, with an oaky taste and plenty of tannins.
The nose is spicy and fruity, with an oaky taste and plenty of tannins...
It’s at the pricier end of the scale if you’re hosting a number of people and need an entire case of the stuff, it is nevertheless a worthwhile investment.
Cost: £36.95 per bottle
2020 La Trucha Albariño, Rias Baixas
If you’re looking for a nice white wine to serve along your Christmas dinner, perhaps with a starter or a white meat or fish (the label serves as an unsubtle serving suggestion, it features a trout), then look no further than La Trucha Albariño.
The label serves as an unsubtle serving suggestion, it features a trout...
The fresh, fruity, citric wine comes from a small family estate in Spain.
The nose features apricot, peach and pineapple with a hint of salty minerals.
Cost: £16.50 per bottle
2020 Menetou-Salon Blanc, Domaine La Clef du Recit
Located close to Sancerre, in the Loire Valley village of Vinon, sits La Clef du Récit. A relatively new estate with 8.5 hectares of first class vineyards, the grapes are grown or sourced from 100% limestone areas and fermented in stainless steel tanks, with no malolactic fermentation, then aged on lees.
A relatively new estate with 8.5 hectares of first class vineyards...
The result is an incredibly crisp white, with a fresh acidic palate combining hints of ripe grapefruit and melon.
Plus, it’s vegan!
Cost: £14.95 per bottle
Fonseca Terra Prima Organic Reserve Port
No formal meal should end without passing the port. And a tasty option would be a Fonseca Terra Prima Organic Reserve.
Fully derived from organic grapes, the result is a smooth, fruity and warming reserve port made from organically grown grapes in the Douro Valley.
A rich ruby reserve style, with flavours including blueberry, cherry and plum, it’s the perfect way to round off a heavy meal.
Cost: £18 per bottle