Best Wine for Christmas Lunch

Best wines for Christmas 2018

olive’s wine expert Kate Hawkings has the festive period covered with these versatile wines for a fuss-free Christmas and New Year

Looking for the best Christmas wine? Or Christmas wine bottles for wine Christmas gifts? Check out our expert guide for your Christmas wine.

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Keep Christmas wine-buying stress to a minimum by thinking ahead and getting in bottles that will multitask, whether for an impromptu glass with neighbours who drop by for a drink, or for the main feasting event itself.

Best Christmas fizz

Fizz is essential at some stage, of course. If it has to be champagne, try Tesco Finest Cru – a snip at £19 – or look for crémants (made in the same way as champagne but commanding gentler prices), such as M&S’s La Cave des Hautes Côtes Crémant de Bourgogne NV (£12).

Best white wines for Christmas

Crisp white wines fit the bill for light and fishy dishes but can be washed out by stronger flavours. Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Dry Furmint (£10), a grape from Hungary, is lip-smackingly fresh but has enough muscle to carry weightier food. Whites with a little background sweetness work well with richer things, especially if they contain North African or Asian spices, so are good if you’re making a curry from leftovers, or calling out for a takeaway when you just can’t face any more cooking. Try Majestic’s peachy Parcel Series Riesling (£10.99 or £8.99 in a Mixed 6 deal).

Best red wines for Christmas

When it comes to red, keep something light to hand as well as more traditional, full-bodied, wintery reds. Pinot noir is a classically good match with turkey and sits happily alongside many other things too – it’s great for a Boxing Day cold cuts buffet, or when you’re catering for picky eaters with different tastes. The Wine Society’s Ostoros 2016 Pinot Noir from Hungary is astonishing value at £6.75 or, for something with a little more weight but equal versatility, try the BIB Company’s Straka Blaufränkisch, an Austrian grape variety that has a charming fragrant lift and comes in a box, so lasts up to a month after opening – very handy for the party season (£33.50 for 2.5 litres). Both would be good served slightly chilled to freshen jaded palates.

One-stop shopping makes sense when stocking up on wine. Online can be risky unless you know just what you want, so I recommend drawing up a list and seeking advice from a shop. Staff at dependable chains such as Oddbins and Majestic are generally good, or support your local independent wine shops, who tend to offer the best advice of all. Happy Christmas drinking! @KateHawkings


El Viaje de Ramón Garnacha 2017 (£9.99, Co-op Food)

Flimsy Provençal-style rosés are best kept for summer, but one with a little more muscle such as this is surprisingly versatile for winter drinking. Delicious with our roast salmon with herb crust and brown shrimp butter, it would also work well with cold meats and salads, and provides a welcome freshness for festive feasting.

El Viaje de Ramón Garnacha 2017

Insoglio del Cinghiale Campo di Sasso 2013 (£21.50, Corney & Barrow)

This distinguished Tuscan from the acclaimed stable of Lodovico Antinori in the Bolgheri region is well worth splashing out on. A dreamy, silky red with plummy fruit and liquorice that deserves stunning food alongside. Ace with our hog roast with spiced apple stuffing, or anything meaty.

Insoglio del Cinghiale Campo di Sasso 2013

Chapel Down Rosé Brut NV (£24.99, Waitrose)

English sparkling wine is getting better and better. This lovely pink fizz is made from pinot noir and has a raspberry richness that makes it great with food – perfect with canapés or a decadent smoked salmon brunch.

Chapel Down Rosé Brut NV

Artisan Tasmanian Gewürztraminer 2016 (£10.99, Aldi) 

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A really pretty wine with floral, pineapple notes and a little gentle sweetness. Great for those who don’t like their wine too dry.

Artisan Tasmanian Gewürztraminer 2016