What are the general rules for wine-pairing at Christmas? Rule number one: there are no rules. There are so many flavours on the table, meaning there are loads of pairing options. Wines should complement not only the food, but the familial, celebratory feeling of togetherness.
When branching out in the red department, keep in mind why Beaujolais Nouveau pairs infamously well with the traditional faire: it’s light, juicy, and palette-cleansing without competing with the meal. Light- or medium-bodied reds are the way to go. Pinot Noir is a great alternative, as are earthy, herbally reds with lower tannins, because they’re not overpowering. Steer clear of bigger reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Zinfandel, which will be too heavy with all that food.
There’s really no wrong answer for white wine pairing at Christmas meals. With all the flavours in the meal, it’s bound to pair with something on the table. Try a white that’s crisp and clean with a slightly fuller body, or a lightly oaked and buttery Chardonnay. Dying to pop a white with a profile falling somewhere in the middle? Go ahead and serve as a cocktail lead to dinner wine.
Throw away that preconceived notion that rosé is only a summertime sip -- rosé is a wine to be enjoyed year-round. There are so many different styles out there beyond the light and glugable poolside pinks -- from paunchy rosatos to zesty rosés from the Southern Hemisphere, all of which are food-friendly and versatile. For Christmas, be sure to look for a fruitier rosé isn’t bone dry.