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Food & wine

Christmas Wine Pairings for Dinner, Dessert and Sides

December 15, 2020

Written By Coravin

It’s Christmas dinner and you’ve spent all day in the kitchen preparing the perfect meal and baking eye-pleasing sides. To ensure you’re pairing your Spanish suckling pig, American roasted turkey, French lobster, or Italian Feast of Seven Fishes with the perfect wine, Coravin has called in three wine experts – Juan F. Cortés from Restaurant Eugene (Atlanta), Mollie Ward from Rolf & Daughters (Nashville) and Jon Kuit from Radio Milano (Houston) – to provide recommendations for holiday meals from around the globe. 

Read on for the perfect Christmas wine pairings for dinner – plus bonus pairings for your sides and desserts.

4 Christmas dinner classics

For some families, Christmas dinner is the only time of year where everyone is at the same table sharing an experience. It might also be the only time of year these special dishes come out of the kitchen. To make sure you’re wine pairings for Christmas are on point, jot down these recommendations from our experts. 

Roasted turkey and pumpkin pie

We kick things off with a Thanksgiving and Christmas classic – the American roasted turkey with pumpkin pie. The experts suggest a bright and fruity wine:

  • Cortés’ pick – Charbono, Robert Foley (2012), $35: “Charbono is weird (kind of like having Roasted Turkey with Pumpkin Pie), fruity and delicious, as well as one of the more affordable Robert Foley wines.”

  • Ward’s pick – Gamay, Marcel Lapierre Morgon, $27: “This Beaujolais is perfect for roasted turkey. The bright cherry fruit and light body pair nicely, and it’s the perfect holiday wine.”

  • Kuit’s pick – Chardonnay, “Mannequin” by Orin Swift, $30: “Perfume of candied lemon, Bosc pear, wildflower, and honeydew melon, deliciously rich and creamy texture balances out vivid tropical fruit notes, exotic spices, and fresh pineapple that slowly emerge in a captivating way. The finish has a lively tone of acidity, which serves as an ideal foil to the crème brulee, marshmallow, and hazelnut flavors that envelope the mouth.”

Liren Baker Cassava Pumpkin Pie Recipe Kitchen Confidante

Liren Baker's Cassava Pumpkin Pie from our feature.

Salt cod and calamari

Next up are two staples from the Feast of Seven Fishes – an Italian tradition celebrated on Christmas Eve. For this Christmas dinner wine pairing, each expert recommends something bright and acidic: 

  • Cortés’ pick – Pinot Gris, The Eyrie Vineyards Dundee Hills (2012), $22: “Its bright acidity complements seafood well and the grapes are harvested from the oldest pinot gris vines in the United States.”

  • Ward’s pick – Tami Grillo Bianco, $20: “This medium-bodied white is great with seafood. A natural biodynamic wine made in Sicily has a nice touch of salinity and minerality and enough acid to work really well with cod and calamari, and anything coming from the sea.”

  • Kuit’s pick – Cortese “Gran Passione” Gavi DOCG, $28: “This medium-bodied with notes of limes and white plum with floral and mineral tones, medium body, and delicate flavors has made it a favorite for the restaurants in nearby Genoa as a wine pairing with the local seafood caught off the Ligurian coast as well as other lighter fare.”

Lobster and foie gras 

In case you’re taking your Christmas dinner up a notch this year, our experts have the perfect wine pairings for this French-inspired dinner combination. Cortés, Ward, and Kuit each recommend a white wine to balance the richness of the meal:

  • Cortés’ pick – Riesling, Big Table Farm Brooks Estate Vineyard (2010), $28: “Dry Riesling from the Willamette Valley is way underappreciated, and it goes with everything.”

  • Ward’s pick – Chardonnay, I PRANDI by Marcato Vini, $8: “This Italian Chardonnay is a perfect pairing for the richness of lobster and foie gras. It has hints of grapefruit and vanilla and great acidity to cut through the buttery goodness of lobster.”

  • Kuit’s pick – Gruner Veltliner, Domane Wachau Federspiel, $14: “Enticing aromas of white pepper and gooseberry and hints of ripe yellow apple. Medium-bodied with crisp acidity, very balanced and spicy in the finish.”

Suckling pig and apple sauce

Whether you’re enjoying a whole roasted suckling pig or a classic cut of ham for Christmas dinner, all of these wine pairings apply: 

  • Cortés’ pick – Albariño Blend, Emilio Rojo Ribeiro (2012), $42: “Emilio’s wines are like the Loch Ness Monster, there have been sightings, but only a few have personally witnessed them. I challenge you to come experience this rich and nuanced unicorn wine, which is brimming with aromas of tree fruits and sports a mineral backbone similar to a fine Chablis.”

  • Ward’s pick – Amontillado Sherry, Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana , $24: “A beautiful amontillado sherry is a traditional and very tasty pairing for pork. The dryness of sherry along with the balanced nuttiness makes for a very unique pairing.”

  • Kuit’s pick – Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon Meritage, “Virtu” by St. Supery, $23: “This is a terrific, bright and vibrant white wine. Citrus notes of lemon and lime, as well as honeydew, kiwi, and fig, with an undercurrent of seductive smoky French oak. Flavors of lemon, lemongrass, and grapefruit rind are focused and are enhanced with the subtle nuance of toasted oak.”

Wine pairings for Christmas desserts and sides

Bringing a side or dessert to Christmas dinner this year? Here are some wine pairings to keep in mind as you head to the wine shop or place your online order.

Meringues wine pairing

Meringue cookies and rosé: How satisfying is that melt-in-the-mouth feeling of a meringue cookie? Delightfully airy meringues pair perfectly with a sweet rosé. 

peppermint cookies wine pairing

Peppermint cookies and Cabernet Sauvignon: While we’re still talking cookies, if you’re looking for a more unique pairing to treat your sweet tooth with, give peppermint cookies and Cabernet Sauvignon a try.

christmas wine pairings poached pair and riesling

Poached pears and Riesling: Sweet pears call for a sweet wine pairing. If there are poached pears on the dessert table this holiday season, opt for a decadent Riesling to satisfy your sweet tooth.

christmas wine pairings mashed potatoes merlot

Mashed potatoes and Merlot: Transitioning into sides, is there anything more heavenly than a mound of creamy, buttery mashed potatoes? To balance out the rich flavor, grab a glass of Merlot that is not too acidic. Don’t be afraid to go back for seconds!

christmas wine pairings brussels sprouts and chardonnay

Brussels sprouts and Chardonnay: Love them or hate them, Brussels sprouts usually find their way onto a Christmas dinner table. We recommend roasting with a maple glaze and hazelnuts to pair with a buttery smooth Chardonnay.

christmas wine pairings butternut squash soup and chianti

Butternut squash soup and Chianti: If you find yourself curling up with a nice, creamy bowl of butternut squash soup this Christmas season, be sure to grab a glass of Chianti and soak in the holiday vibes. The matching earthy flavors in both the soup and the wine are accented beautifully in this pair. 

Share your Christmas wine pairings and dinner spreads with us via social, @Coravin. And, in case you still need a gift for a wine lover on your list, shop brands we love