Your guide to Christmas wine

Christmas is a time for entertaining and merriment, so it's no surprise that many people stock up on alcohol around this time of the year. But which wines should you choose for Christmas entertaining, and which wines are best with Christmas dinner?

Best wines for entertaining around Christmas time

Mulled wine: Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without some good old-fashioned mulled wine. It's easy to make your own - all you need is a couple of bottles of a good quality red wine, water, oranges, cinnamon, cloves and sugar.

Champagne: What better way to start Christmas morning or ring in the New Year than with a glass of Champagne? Champagne doesn't have to be extravagant, either - Tesco Finest do a good one for just £10.25 per bottle (£123 per case).

Winter warming reds: Velvety Pinot Noirs or deep, rich Merlots are a perfect treat for chilly evenings. Brindisi Riserva Casa Bertarelli 2006 (around £9) offers hints of vanilla and spices, making it a classic choice for winter.

Sherry: Sherry was once a traditional choice for Christmas, but has fallen out of fashion over the last couple of decades. However a good dry sherry (like Tio Peppe) makes a perfect accompaniment to nibbles or soups.

Best wines for Christmas dinners

Wine to serve with turkey: Rich, dry whites go well with turkey. Australian Semillons and New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are particularly good. If you'd prefer a red, go with Italian varieties, especially Merlots from Veneto.

Wine to serve with goose: Goose is best with full bodied reds, like a Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon. For whites, an oaky Chardonnay would be good.

Wine to serve with Christmas pudding: Most people find that a desert wine is too sweet with Christmas pudding. A French Sauternes is sweet without being overbearing and is an excellent accompaniment to Christmas pudding.

Christmas wine tips

  • Desert wines are usually available in half bottles - perfect if you're not sure how many guests will be having it. A half bottle can serve about ten small glasses.
  • Port makes an excellent follow up after a heavy meal.
  • To check whether a sherry is dry, look for "Fino" on the label. "Cream" means that it is sweet.
  • Putting a spoon in Champagne won't really stop it from going flat - it's best to use a stopper and drink within three days.

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