What is a great Christmas wine? 2020

Whatever you’re planning to eat on the big day, we’ve got you sorted with some great wine pairings you’ll want to return to after the obligatory post dinner nap…

Ben @winehack – 30 November 2020

To find out what is a great Christmas wine, we must first find out what we are eating. The traditional Christmas turkey dinner has been around since the 16th Century, with Henry the 8th being the first British monarch to have been purported to serve it on Christmas day when it was deemed to be something quite exotic. It wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that it became the meat of choice for middle class Victorians however, with people previously favouring goose or beef. Whatever you choose to dine on, don’t forget that all important ingredient, the wine!

For many years, finding a great bottle or learning about how it will pair with a specific food has been something of a mystery. Wine critics will occasionally share a pearl of wisdom here and there and supermarket shelves are brimming with more grape varieties and countries than ever before. So, what should you buy if you want Christmas day to be a bit more special? Well… here at winehack we’ve got some absolute crackers for you.

2020 has been anything but normal, Christmas is likely to be a much smaller affair than usual so there has never been a better time to trade up your wine offering.

Waking up on Christmas morning with the sounds of the Oxford University choir and their soothing Christmas carols streaming out of your Alexa, why not add to the sense of occasion with a chilled glass of fizz? How about a glass of our house champagne, the Laytons Brut reserve, at only £21.95 a bottle this fizz exudes character with its notes of lemon zest and brioche. Alternatively, we have our very popular Louis Changarnier Blanc de Blanc, at only £10.10 per bottle, this really is the steal of Christmas and a lot more fun than the orange in your stocking.

What is a great Christmas Wine Pairing?

If you’re living like Henry 8th with a turkey (no I don’t mean your other half) then you’ve got the option of either white or red wine. Happily, turkey goes astoundingly well with my favourite style of white wine, a lightly oaked and creamy chardonnay. For the traditionalists a Burgundy is always going to be best, so why not try the La Tufera from Etienne Suzette at £27.95 or if you’re really in the mood to impress your tastebuds with something from further afield how about the Californian Napa Cellars Chardonnay £16.85.

If you’re in the market for more of a snooze inducing afternoon, how about a red? A classic choice would be a lighter pinot noir from Burgundy, like the Domaine Borgeot £17.62 which has the perfect blend of fruit and depth to compliment that turkey. If you’re feeling a bit more exotic then our Hunter’s Pinot noir £15.64 from New Zealand, is a perfect alternative. The sunnier climate gives it just a touch of extra fruit, making it an exceptional wine, with or without the food.

Bordeaux is another festive favourite and packs a serious punch as a more heavyweight red. Arguably, it’s a bit too powerful for a turkey, but if you’re having something richer like a goose or beef, then this is the wine for you. Here you have a decision to make, should you pick a right bank Bordeaux, which is more Merlot heavy or a left bank, which is more cabernet sauvignon heavy? 

The merlot-based wines are typically slightly softer and smoother than their cabernet sauvignon counterparts but lack the stronger tannins. Tannins are more easily broken down with food, so are no bad thing if you’re drinking it over lunch where is can cut through a rich meal or indeed, keeping it in your cellar. A couple of wines worth looking at are the Chateau Pindefleurs St Emilion Grand Cru £23.95 (right bank) which is drinking impeccably this year and the Chateau Cantemerle Haut-Medoc £22.11 (left bank).

Christmas Dessert Wine

If you are going with a classic Christmas pudding then the Smith Woodhouse 10 year old Tawny £21.95 or Triana Pedro Ximenez Sherry £17.50 could be just the ticket. For those that enjoy something a bit richer and stickier a good muscat like the Elysium Black Muscat £13.95 is always a favourite but would probably be better suited to a yuletide log than the Christmas pud. If Panettone is your thing, they why not try it with a Late Harvest Royal Tokaji £15.50? This festive classic has citrus and spicy aromas with peach and honey, the perfect companion.

Of course, food and wine pairings are all very well, but Christmas is a time to indulge in whatever it is you enjoy the most. We’ve got a whole range of wonderful wines for you to feast on, many of them from smaller producers who exude passion for their product and for many of them, it’s a life’s work. Have a browse through the list and we are sure you’ll find a great Christmas wine for you, but above all, enjoy yourself!