It’s the most wonderful time of the year - and after last year’s pretty miserable Christmas, many of us are more determined than ever to make the 2021 festive season as perfect as possible. We put so much effort into choosing the best food, decorations, and gifts, but knowing what makes a good Christmas wine can be difficult.
We all know that the man in red is partial to a glass of port, but that doesn’t have to be your only option - especially if the thought of the amount in calories and carbs in port doesn’t fill you with cheer! In this blog, we will help you pick out some DrinkWell wines that will make the perfect pairings for your Christmas meals and celebrations this year.
Smoked Salmon Starter
Smoked salmon is the indulgent choice of many when it comes to kicking off the big Christmas day feast, and it’s assertive flavour can make it difficult to find a suitable pairing for. Often accompanied by thin toasted bread, eggs, or cream cheese, you don’t want to go for a wine that is too distinctive in taste.
Red wines are best avoided, as the tannines of red wines can be overpowering and will not complement the salty taste of the smoked salmon. Instead, look for fresh, minerally white wines with a tangy structure and enough acidity to cut through the fats of the salmon. If you plan to garnish your salmon with hints of lemon or citrus, look for wines that also contain these flavours.
We recommend looking for a high quality Chardonnay, a Sauvignon, or perhaps a South African Chenin Blanc to set off the smoke flavours of the salmon. Below are some examples that we currently have available at DrinkWell.
The fine creamy textural notes and hints of citrus zestiness found in this wine make it a great partner for buttery smoked salmon. One 125ml glass contains 96 calories and 0.18g of sugars. This one is a great Christmas treat, and you can find it here on the DrinkWell website for £15.99
A fresh, vibrant and crisp wine, the herbaceous aromas and tropical and citrus fruit flavours of this wine make it suitable for pairing with all fish dishes. It’s also much lower in calories than standard white wines, with just 79 calories per 125ml. You can find it here on the DrinkWell website for £12.49
The Main Event
Turkey is the number one meat of choice for most people on Christmas day. Turkey is quite unusual from other poultry meats in that it can be a rather dry meat, so you need to look for a wine with enough juiciness to wash it down with. However, as it is also a mild tasting meat, you don’t want to go for a wine that might overpower the flavours of the meat. For these reasons, Turkey can be a difficult one to pair - but don’t worry, DrinkWell have a few ideas!
If you prefer a red wine with your Christmas dinner, opting for a young pinot noir will add a cranberry-vibrancy to your dish. At the same time, picking a pinot noir that is light in tannins and body, will mean that it is easy going enough to not clash with the traditional turkey side dishes. A subtle pinot noir will help you avoid a situation where all you can taste is the wine - not what you want after spending hours slaving over the food!
From our current collection, we recommend trying the Grey Glacier Ventisquero Pinot Noir, with it’s soft tannins and a delicate finish. It contains 94 calories per 125ml and 0g of sugar, and you can find it on the DrinkWell website for £14.99 per bottle. Alternatively, the hints of cranberry and raspberry found in the make it a great festive option. What’s more, it is zero sugar and zero carb, so it is a good choice if you are watching your carb intake (which will be a challenge at Christmas!). You can purchase a bottle from the DrinkWell website for £12.99.
New World Whites
If white wine is more your tipple, we recommend going for either a minerally sauvignon blanc or a buttery New World chardonnay from regions such as Chile, the US or Australia. The creamy texture found in these wines will help to offset any dryness in the turkey. Why not try the Southern Lights - Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, with it’s distinct, signature nuance of minerality and balanced richness of fruit. It contains just 78 calories per 125ml and zero carbs, and you can find it on the DrinkWell website for £12.49.
If chardonnay is more to your taste, have a look at The Last Stand Chardonnay, which hails from Australia. Refreshingly unoaked, citrus and white peach flavours combine with a zesty fresh acidity and a clean, bright and linear mineral finish. As well as containing just 78 calories per 125ml, it also comes at a great price of £9.99 from the DrinkWell website - perfect if you have lots of mouths to feed this Christmas!
Christmas Nut Roast Dinner
We know we have a lot of vegan and vegetarian customers at DrinkWell, so fear not, we have some ideas for your perfect nut roast pairings as well! Chances are, if you are having a nut roast, you probably want to have a vegan friendly wine as well, so all of the wines mentioned in this section are suitable for vegans. With its dense nutty texture and herby flavours, the nut roast is the Christmas dish of choice for many vegetarians. Look for wines that are also suitably herbaceous, and opting for a wine with spicy notes is a safe bet if the nut roast is also full of spicy flavours.
From the reds, we don't think you can go far wrong with a Cabernet Sauvignon, such as the vegan friendly Cape Heights Cabernet Sauvignon that we have available at DrinkWell for £9.99 per bottle. With zero sugar and close to zero carbs, this reduced calorie red wine is rich in notes of cherry, cassis and warming spices.
If you would rather enjoy your nut roast with a white wine, we suggest looking for a Burgundy chardonnay. And look no further than DrinkWell, as we have the perfect vegan and nut roast friendly chardonnay from southern Burgundy available, in the form of Genetie Bourgogne Chardonnay Illumine. With fine buttery and floral notes on the nose, this is a wine of substance and finesse on the palate. The hint of citrus zestiness provides long lasting flavours which are sure to liven up your nut roast! You can purchase this wine for £15.99 per bottle on the DrinkWell website.
The cheese course
Just when you think you couldn’t eat or drink anything else, out comes the cheese board and you somehow find a second wind! Cheese and wine go together like tinsel and baubles, so there are plenty of options to go with here. Of course, a lot depends on what cheese you choose to put on your cheese board, and with cheese varying widely in taste, texture and smell, there is not really a ‘one size fits all’ wine pairing. However, below are some of our ideas to get you started:
What would a cheese board be without cheddar? The strength of the cheddar will dictate what sort of wine will suit it best. For a mild, creamy cheddar, you can’t go far wrong with a delicate white such as a chardonnay - why not try the Wildwood - Chardonnay (89 calories per 125ml), available on the DrinkWell website for £8.99 per bottle. For a more mature, sharper cheddar, we suggest pairing with red wines - many varieties work well, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot noir or Rioja Reserva. One to consider that we currently have available at DrinkWell is the Tierra Antica Cabernet Sauvignon, with 86 calories per 125ml (£9.99 per bottle)
The most popular pairing for goat cheese is sauvignon blanc, of which we have many available at DrinkWell. One quality example is the 12% ABV Crumsa Terres Rares Sauvignon Blanc (89 calories per 125ml), available for you to order from our website at £10.49 per bottle. Or, if you fancy being a little more adventurous, goat cheese also pairs well with Provence rose wines, which we are big fans of here at DrinkWell. You could try St Louis de Provence - Rosé (79 calories per 125ml, £11.99 per bottle), or perhaps the Mirabeau X en Provence Rose (89 calories per 125ml, £15 per bottle)
A firm Christmas favourite, camembert is a good match with rioja, red Burgundy and pinot noir. A rioja that is certainly worth considering is the award winning Tierras del Isasa Organic Rioja, available for £12.99 per bottle from DrinkWell. With a warming taste of juicy and ripe red fruit and a hint of spice and vanilla, this organic 14% ABV Rioja is a real treat that warms the soul. The makers of this wine recommend pairing with rich and naughty comfort food, and we think that camembert definitely fits within those categories! The wine itself, however, is not quite so naughty, containing just 95 calories per 125ml and 0.2g of carbs.
Love them or hate them, you are certain to find at least one blue cheese such as stilton on your cheese board. Whilst blue cheeses are most typically paired with port (and we can’t deny, it’s a great pairing!), there are other options if port is not your thing. For example, due to its bold, salty flavour, stilton can pair well with an oaked chardonnay. Have a look at Genetie Bourgogne Chardonnay Illumine, one of our premium chardonnay wines (£15.99 per bottle on the DrinkWell website). Alternatively, milder blue cheeses such as Gorgonzola can be a good match for prosecco, so you could make your cheese course extra special with a glass of fizz to celebrate - it is Christmas, after all! We have several lower calorie prosecco options available at DrinkWell, such as ThinK Prosecco 'Organic & Vegan' (£16.99 per bottle, 77 calories per 125ml), or La Gioiosa Prosecco (£13.99 per bottle, 79 calories per 125ml).