Christmas dinner wine guide


When it comes to Christmas dinner it’s not all about turkey, roast potatoes and the perfect gravy, a good choice of wine will really top off the meal. But what to choose? Well, it all depends on what your roast joint is and personal taste.

When it comes to food and wine pairing, a good rule of thumb is to drink wines from the same country as the food. Think BBQ’s and Australian wines, a big juicy beef steak and an Argentinian red, pasta and pizza with Italian wines.

But, a common misconception is that white wine goes well with white meat, and red wine with red meat. What you also need to consider is what the meat (or fish) is served with; the sauce, the vegetables, they all play a big part. Consider the dominant flavour of the dish and pair with that. But most importantly choose you what you like. Everybody’s palate is different.

Why bother matching food to wine?
Because a good choice of wine that compliments your dish will bring more flavour out of the food and round out your meal. A poor choice will effect both the taste of your meal and wine, whilst one wine may taste excellent with chicken it probably wont pair with beef.


Turkey and chicken

Normally there is a lot that goes with the turkey; cranberry sauce which is very sweet, vegetables, potatoes and gravy. You can be flexible and pair it with red, white or even nice American Zinfandel Rose. Just make sure you do not choose a wine that is high in tannin, as that can make the turkey taste dry. Rather, go for a lighter red like a Pinot Noir.

We both have a French and New Zealand Pinot Noir on the menu at the hotel Marisco Pinot Noir from New Zealand and Puy De dome from France. In America it is tradition to drink Beaujolais Nouveau with the Thanksgiving Turkey, as Thanksgiving is a week after Beaujolais Nouveau is released (Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 is available at the Beach Hut). The light fruity red does not overpower the turkey but make sure you serve it slightly chilled.

If you prefer white wine a Viognier pairs well with turkey or chicken. Try Domain Mont Marin Viogner from the Beach Hut or the Rivento Viogner from the hotel.


Duck is a fatty meat and has rich, gamey flavours. It’s typically French so a good French Burgundy would go well, especially a Pinot Noir. The dark berry flavour cuts through the fat and compliments the duck. Try Puy De Dome Pinot Noir (on the hotel menu).


Beef flavours are more robust than other meats so you need a fuller bodied red to match the flavour. Try Michel Torino, Malbec from Argentina or the Australian Curious Shiraz (both on the hotel menu) which are not as full bodied as the Malbec.  Alternatively, try the Las Manitos from Argentina from the Beach Hut. There you get the two grapes, Malbec and Shiraz, blended together.


Veal needs something more subtle with less tannin, but probably still a red wine. Try a red Bordeaux. Merlot is the mostly wide planted grape in Bordeaux, and it blends beautifully with other grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon. The Merlot mellows down the Cabernet. We have a 100% merlot from Bordeaux on the menu at the hotel, Chateau Civrac. The Dudley Stone from South Africa has a subtle spicy oaky flavour and is the popular blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and merlot. Also the Chilean Merlot, Tierra del Rey is soft and round.


Goose is stronger flavoured than turkey, more like game and fatty like duck so you need wine that has a good level of acidity.  Try a white German Alsace Riesling or a Gewürztraminer.

If you fancy a red go for an Italian Barolo or Barbaresco which can stand up to the rich flavours of the meat, or a Pinot Noir or a Rioja which usually pairs well with game.


New Years Eve

On New Year’s Eve why not start early with a brunch. Nothing says ‘brunch’ more than bubbly. Veuve Cliquot Champagne would be our choice as it goes well with all things sweet, as well as salty foods like smoked salmon and eggs.


New this Christmas in The Living Space.

We have just added two new dessert wines, the Clos Dady, Sautern from France, blending sweet apricot, honey roasted nut and marmalade flavours. And the Tokaji Aszu from Hungary, combining honeysuckle, peach and dried apricot with a hint of citrus.

Guest Blogger: Diana Espersen, Food and Beverage Manager – Watergate Bay Hotel

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