Table of Contents
- Choosing the Best Wine for Dinner Parties
- 10 Ultimate Wines for Dinner Parties
- Sparkling Value
- More Pairing Tips:
- The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Wine for Wine Dinners & Holiday Dinner Parties
- The Ultimate Wine Dinner Guide to Getting Started
- If You Want the Best Wine Dinner Party, Serve the Best Wines
- Add Wine Variety for Conversation and Choice
- Sparkling Wines Aren’t Just Aperitifs
- White Wines Can Rule the Table
- Red Wines Remain King of the Dinner (or Kitchen) Table
- Dessert and Wine or Dessert or Wine?
- Great Dinner Parties Demand Great Wine
- Work with a Wine Expert
- About Big Hammer Wines
- Which wines for dinner?
- Best wines for turkey
- Best wines for beef
- Best wines for fish
- Best wines for vegetarian dishes
- Best wines for mince pies
- Best wines for Christmas puddings
- Best wines for fruity desserts
- Best wines for anything with caramel
Choosing the Best Wine for Dinner Parties
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Most people tend to go all out when hosting dinner parties. From the food, the decor, and music, hosts tend to outdo themselves at their dinner parties.
Of course, a dinner party is never complete without wine. As some wine lovers say, without wine, there will be whine. Unfortunately, selecting the right wines for your dinner party can be a pretty daunting task. Between the number of wine deals online, the many labels, and wine types to choose from, you might be scratching your head when it comes to selecting the perfect bottle from the bunch.
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself taking a swig of wine to reduce the stress of selecting the best option. Luckily, there are a few tricks to finding the perfect wine for your special occasion. Here’s how you can sift through wine deals online to find the best bottle.
Choosing the Best Wine for Your Dinner Party
As a rule of thumb, the wine you buy should always complement your food. It might sound over the top, but there’s actually a science to the whole affair. The success of your dinner party will be etched in your wine pairing. Luckily, you don’t have to be a food scientist to understand the basics of wine pairing.
Here’s a breakdown of how you should do wine pairing starting with white wine.
Are there any Chardonnay lovers in the house? If so, then you most likely know how that this drink goes well with white meat. If you’re serving pork, chicken, and fish, try pairing these dishes with a chilled bottle of Chenin Blanc. On the other hand, Pinot Grigio is a light, dry wine that will go seamlessly with green steamed, sauteed, or roasted vegetables.
Sweet white wine is great as an appetizer complement. Sweet options go well with savory appetizers and sweet, fruity options alike. Don’t hesitate to try Moscato with soft cheese and mollusks, too. If Moscato isn’t your cup of tea — or wine for that matter — then you could settle for Savinnieres which work well with roasted asparagus. This is often a highlighted bottle for many wine deals online.
When you’re settling down for your entrée, you can only choose a red. Red wine pairs well with red meat. While it might seem that the whole color-matching idea is outrageous, it’s actually true. Online wine sellers are quick to recommend Cabernet Sauvignon as the best red wine for dinner parties since its light-to-medium body is a definitive crowd-pleaser. Merlot, which is a medium red, will do well with both red and white meat, especially chicken. If you want your guests to nibble on something to conclude your dinner party, then have a bottle of Pinot Noir nearby a charcuterie board with tender meats and cheeses.
For your party to really stand out, go for the unexpected. Consider buying your red wine from exotic regions that you wouldn’t call red wine hotspots. Try Germany or Austria for instance, or get a Pinot Noir from Tasmania for a pleasant change of pace.
What’s more, it’s easy to find these exotic wines at good prices from online wine sales. Ditch the store so you don’t miss out on great wine deals online.
Sparkling wines are a great way to put on a show of elegance. They are also an amazing aperitif to get your dinner party rolling since they are a great conversation starter and will get your guests’ appetites going. Champagne should top your shopping list, but if you think champagne is cliché, you could always go for Presseco to switch things up.
Check out wine deals online today
You can’t go wrong with wine if you follow these basic wine-pairing rules. There are plenty of wine deals online which can save you a bundle and do timely delivery. Figures show that 71% of wine buyers think they’ll find wine at lower prices online, which is often the case.
When you’re looking for the best wine deals online, rely on Wines ‘Til Sold Out to help your next dinner party stand out.
10 Ultimate Wines for Dinner Parties
2010 Chateau Ste Michelle Dry Riesling ($9)
Chateau Ste Michelle sells far more of the off-dry version of this Washington-state Riesling, but this zesty, refreshing wine is much easier to pair with food (look for the yellow label, not the white).
2010 Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc ($13)
Vintage after vintage, Geyser Peak’s lively, grapefruit-scented Sauvignon Blanc maintains a fine balance between Sauvignon Blanc’s tropical- and citrus-fruit notes and its grassy, herbal character.
2010 Paul Blanck Pinot Blanc d’Alsace ($13)
Dry Alsatian whites like this crisp bottling, from an estate that dates back to the 17th century, are a go-to for pairing. Blanck’s grapes are farmed without chemicals, which makes the wine additionally appealing.
2009 Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris ($16)
Oregon Pinot Gris tends to be zippier than Alsace versions, which can be extremely rich, and far more interesting than most Italian Pinot Grigios (the same grape). This white-peachy bottling is a standout.
2009 Bastianich Friulano ($16)
New York City–based restaurateur Joe Bastianich started making wines in Friuli 12 years ago, concentrating on the fragrant whites for which the Italian region is known. This bottling, made from the local Friulano grape, has good mid-palate richness, nectarine and citrus notes and a lingering hint of peppery spice.
2010 Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera ($17)
The bargain in this respected Piedmontese producer’s portfolio of wines is this berry-bright, lightly smoky Barbera (a grape with lots of color and flavor, but not many astringent tannins).
2010 Terres Dorées Beaujolais l’Ancien Vieilles Vignes ($16)
A good Beaujolais can pair with almost anything, from fish to steak, and this expressive red from Jean-Paul Brun is the definition of good Beaujolais: It’s moderate in tannins and alcohol, yet overflowing with flavor.
2009 Marchesi di Grésy Dolcetto d’Alba Monte Aribaldo ($23)
Dolcetto produces deeply colored, berry-fruited wines with soft tannins and good acidity (a key characteristic of wines that pair well with a wide range of foods). Marchesi di Grésy’s lightly earthy rendition is a classic.
2009 Lang & Reed North Coast Cabernet Franc ($24)
John Skupny at Lang & Reed combines the ripe juiciness that California’s warm climate brings to Cabernet Franc with this grape variety’s classic tea-leafy character. The result is a cherry-inflected red that can seemingly pair with almost anything.
NV Lini Labrusca Rosso Lambrusco ($16)
This wild berry–inflected, scarlet-hued sparkling wine will make anyone forget the insipid sweetness that characterized many mass-production Lambruscos in the past. Lini, a small family company, has been making terrific Lambruscos since the early 1900s.
Article updated November 2011.
More Pairing Tips:
Perfect Wines for Any Meal
America’s Pairing Meccas
The Wine Stands Alone
5 Best Wine Bars for Pairing Practice
20 Wine Pairings to Try Before You Die
Sipping Without Spilling
The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Wine for Wine Dinners & Holiday Dinner Parties
An Expert’s Recommendation for Foolproof Wines this Holiday Season
Planning a special holiday wine dinner party for friends or family? You want it to be a party that will be long remembered.
Or maybe you are planning a low-key, informal ‘kitchen’ party for a few friends to celebrate. This will be a different experience, more casual where friends can loosen-up.
No matter the type of event, you probably have ideas about the menu you want to serve, the table settings to make everything beautiful, and the lighting and music to set just the right mood.
But when it comes to the wine, you have no idea. Choice abounds at the big box stores and supermarkets with rows upon rows stacked with bottles from top to bottom, priced from high to low.
How much to have on-hand, what types of wines to serve, and even which labels? It might be easier to grab the boxed wine and be done.
At Big Hammer Wines, we encourage you to slow down. You can elevate any food experience with the right wine and within your budget.
Here is our ultimate guide for choosing the right wines for your next dinner or kitchen party during the holidays.
The Ultimate Wine Dinner Guide to Getting Started
Whether you plan a formal dinner with fancy china and crystal goblets or a kitchen party with everyday dishes and stemless wine glasses, there are some basic considerations before you begin to choose the right wines.
- The number of guests drinking wine throughout the event.
- Whether you will serve wine to guests upon arrival before dinner.
- The number of courses, or the number of different dishes if serving family or buffet style.
- The types of foods you will serve.
- Whether any sauces are part of the menu.
- Whether guests will bring wine they expect to open during the evening.
If You Want the Best Wine Dinner Party, Serve the Best Wines
Wine enhances the meal and the experience so allow your guests to enjoy an elevated experience they will remember.
You could serve 2-Buck Chuck, but this would be insulting to the food, to the event and to your guests.
If you desire a memorable or special evening, plan on serving a higher quality wine than your day-to-day pour. That is, unless you drink Chateau Margaux on a Tuesday evening.
You can serve premium quality wines without breaking the bank and make your party standout. Many superior quality wines are available for you to choose from in the $20+ range.
You can certainly spend more if your budget allows. Be aware that wine quality generally increases as the price increases, especially from rock bottom prices. Once the price gets over $40, the quality differences are not as great.
Let your guests know in advance if you want them to bring wine and which wines to bring. Bringing wine to a dinner party causes anxiety in many people, so help your guests out by making a few suggestions.
Also, let them know if they bring wine as a gift that it may not be opened that evening. This helps avoid unmet expectations. They are welcome to bring something else or ask them not to bring anything.
Add Wine Variety for Conversation and Choice
When choosing wine, you might start with your favorites or what your guests prefer. Consider which wines would pair best with your menu.
Wine is very personal and not everyone will like what others might. A good option is to choose a few different wines so that everyone finds something they enjoy.
Also, choosing a variety of wines allows you to introduce unusual wines or wines your guests don’t normally drink. Then wine becomes a conversation piece, adding another dimension to the experience.
Choose the first wines and the last wines carefully because guests will remember these most often.
Starting with a sparkling wine creates a happy mood and ending with a dessert wine mellows out the end of the evening.
Sparkling Wines Aren’t Just Aperitifs
At the beginning of the evening, sparkling wines are the best option, though some guests may choose a cocktail. However, sparkling wines are the most versatile wines to serve throughout an entire meal, including dessert.
For sparkling wines, options include:
- From France: Champagne, Crémant,Pétillante, Blanquette de Limoux
- Italy: Franciacorta, Trento, Prosecco, Moscato, Spumante, Lambrusco (red)
- Spain: Cava
- Other countries with sparkling wines: Germany, USA (California, New Mexico and many others,) South America (Argentina, Chile, Brazil) South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and England
Sparkling wines can be pale in color, rosé or even red (Italy, Australia) with a wide range of prices.
Before you spring for something new and unusual, be sure you try it first and have more than one option. You don’t want your guests spitting out the sparkling before they’ve even sat down for dinner!
Tip: For those who do not prefer sparkling wines, serve a dry rosé. There are many choices from around the world at different price points.
White Wines Can Rule the Table
Serving white wines today goes beyond the traditional pairing with fish. White wines can be paired with an astonishing variety of foods.
The range of white wines is so vast, encompassing the lightest Pinot Grigio to the depths of Burgundy and Chenin Blanc.
As with any wine, match the body and flavors of the wines with the food: lighter wines with lighter foods, heavier wines with heavier foods. Sweeter wines, such asGewürztraminer, pair well with spicier foods.
This is good news for guests who don’t like red wines. Serving a heavier white alongside the reds allows your guests to choose what they like and still have a food pairing that works.
For all wines, consider any sauces in the dish and match with the sauce, not the underlying dish.
Some white wines to consider:
|Grüner Veltliner||Pinot Grigio|
|Pinot Blanc||Pinot Gris|
* Has many different expressions from steely Chablis to rich round California-style
And any of the thousands of white wines made from scores of other grapes in Italy and Greece. Plus, there are many blended white wines you might enjoy.
Try some white wines of the same grape, such as Chardonnay, but from different countries because they will vary in many respects.
Tip: To please a range of tastes, try a medium body Chardonnay or one of the pinot whites.
Red Wines Remain King of the Dinner (or Kitchen) Table
The traditional pairing is of red wine and meat, just ask Argentina.
However, there are a tremendous variety of red grapes and styles of wine. You can even pair red wine with fish, though with care.
The old rules, while steeped in experience and local knowledge, have been supplemented by new experiences and the global nature of food and wine today.
Some red wines to consider:
|Cabernet Franc||Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Petit Verdot||Pinot Noir|
And like the whites, there are thousands of red wines made from scores of other grapes in Italy, Spain and other countries, and many blended reds, such as Bordeaux.
Try some red wines made from the same grape, such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, but from different countries because these will vary in many respects.
Tip: To please a variety of tastes, try a medium body red such as Merlot or Grenache.
Dessert and Wine or Dessert or Wine?
Tradition says to pair desserts with sweeter wines such as French Sauternes, but now even sparkling wines are featured alongside dessert.
Other great wines to serve with dessert are Port wine from Portugal, Tokaji from Hungary, Icewines from Canada, Sherry from Spain, Passito from Italy, and other dessert wines and sweet wines from around the world.
You could serve just dark chocolate with port or sparkling wine with a few berries, or just a dessert wine on its own.
A small glass of luscious, unctuous dessert wine adds a perfect finishing touch to the end of a long or heavy meal. It will encourage your guests to linger a bit longer.
Tip: Dessert wines tend to have higher alcohol so they are served in smaller portions. One bottle should suffice unless you have a large group.
Great Dinner Parties Demand Great Wine
Make your wine dinner party or kitchen party special and unique by serving quality wine and varieties and styles to fit your menu and your guests tastes. Your party is guaranteed to be a success.
- Have enough wine on-hand. Plan on one bottle per person, about 4-5 glasses, over the course of the evening. Cork left-over wine and savor it the next day.
- The sparkling wine before dinner can be added on or included, depending on your guests.
- Dessert wines are served in much smaller portions so one bottle is likely to be sufficient.
- Bring your guests on a wine journey throughout the meal from lighter to heavier, drier to sweeter.
- Use different glasses for each wine to keep each wine clean, or separate glasses for sparkling, white, red and dessert.
- With a large gathering, serve wine in larger formats such as a magnum (2 bottles). They are fun and at the end of the evening, guests can sign the bottle.
- Serve plenty of water throughout the evening so guests do not get dehydrated.
- Offer coffee at the end of the meal but serve dessert wines before coffee.
Work with a Wine Expert
Offering your guests high-quality wine adds another dimension to your dinner party.
You want your guests to have a good time, be relaxed and be engaged, so choose a variety of wines to allow guests to compare and learn how wines taste with different types of food.
The best way to have the optimal wine and food pairing is to work with your local wine shop or other wine professional.
A wine professional can educate you about different wines that will suit your event. They can help you match wines with your menu and find guest friendly options.
The expertise of a knowledgeable wine professional will make all the difference.
About Big Hammer Wines
Greg Martellotto, owner of Big Hammer Wines, knows how to entertain, and he knows how great wine elevates the experience.
He is the consummate wine professional, having worked at all levels of the business from winery to restaurant. He tastes about 4,500 wines every year to ensure his clients have access to the best wines from around the globe.
Trust Big Hammer Wines for all your party needs. We will help you find the right wine for every occasion. Contact Big Hammer Wines today.
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Which wines for dinner?
Red wine works with bacon wrapped dates
Make it easy to decide. Stick to these eight wines.
- Buttery Chardonnay for dishes with cream sauces, cheese, shellfish
- Sauvignon Blanc for light foods, fish, chicken; good aperitif wine.
- Dry Rosé – versatile wine that goes with fish, chicken, cheese
- Pinot Noir – Red wine, goes with moderate to heavy foods, salmon, pork
- Zinfandel – pizza, pastas, grilled red meat
- Merlot – Red wine, beef, pork, lamb
- Cabernet – Red wine, the ultimate juicy steak wine
- Syrah – Red wine, BBQ red meats, pork ribs
- When serving guests, open two to three different bottles and let your guests serve the wine they like.
- Did your guest bring a wine for dinner? You should serve it along with other wine.
- If you open a bottle and it smells like wet cardboard, it’s bad. Bring it back to the wine shop.
Serving the Wine
- Make sure you have a good corkscrew. Use a knife or foil cutter to cut the very top of the foil on the neck of the bottle just below the top rim.
- Use clear medium-sized wine glasses.
- Pour the wine about one-third high in the glass.
- When serving white wine, it is a good idea to have a wine cooler.
- White wine is served chilled.
- Red wine is served at room temperature but better around the low 60’s.
- Make sure you have enough wine for your guests.
More in depth information wine information
- How to Taste Wine
- Wine Varietals
- Pairing Food & Wine
- Choosing Wine Glasses
- Spoiled Wine
Pan-Seared Day Scallop paired with a Sauvignon Blanc
Let’s face it, dinner parties can be stressful enough without having to worry about whether your choice of wine for the host will be up to the mark! So, we’ve teamed up with wine recommendation app Wotwine to give you some helpful tips on how to avoid the simple mistakes.
1. Find out what food is being served and choose accordingly.
2. Try to avoid the mass-market brands. Choose something that suggests you’ve taken some extra time to select something special for the evening.
3. Avoid going too far off-piste. That Slovenian natural wine might be a conversation piece but it’s also a taste that not everyone will want to acquire over dinner!
4. Make your host’s life easier by taking white or sparkling wines chilled down and ready to serve if needed.
Everyone likes to impress but that doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money. We’ve put together some suggestions in the £10-20 per bottle range that deliver excellent value, as well as a couple of cheaper options that really punch above their weight.
Fish and chicken
For the majority of fish and chicken dishes, Chardonnay is a safe option and we have picked out a couple of well-made examples. The Viré-Clessé from Macon in southern Burgundy offers excellent value, particularly if you stock up and buy a dozen online, in which case it’s currently 25% off! The Chablis is fairly-priced and a classic example of the lean, mineral and unoaked style that pairs so well with grilled white fish or shellfish.
Florent Rouve Viré-Clessé Vieilles Vignes 2015
Stockist: Marks & Spencer
Price: £14.50 (currently 25% off if you buy two cases of 6 online)
The wotwine? panel thinks this is worth: £18
‘Tasty, ripe wine with honeyed peach and crystallised lemon character and balanced oak notes’
Les Sentiers de Belene Chablis 2015
The wotwine? panel thinks this is worth: £16
‘Nicely made, complex wine with oyster shell and flinty minerality, subtle zesty lemon and meadow hay character’
Pairing wines with Asian foods can be a challenge. Spicy and often rich sauces need high acidity in the wine and a gentle sweetness will help to offset the chilli. Riesling is a great place to start and we have highlighted this example from Rheingau in Germany, which is ‘Extra Value’ according to wotwine? and currently on special offer at Waitrose:
Leitz Magdalenenkreuz Riesling 2016
The wotwine? panel thinks this is worth: £15
‘Good, typical off-dry wine with pure juicy lemon acidity and well-integrated sweetness. Pure mineral character and nice weight’
For lamb, we turn to Italy. The Piedmontese are the masters of the majestic Nebbiolo grape. Wotwine has selected an outstanding value example: a 2014 Barbaresco which is already drinking well. As an alternative, wotwine? suggests a Sangiovese from Tuscany, Italy’s other great black grape variety. This Brunello di Montalcino is a seriously classy wine from the legendary 2010 vintage and a bargain at £17. One to impress your friends!
Sainsbury’s Barbaresco, Taste the Difference 2014
The wotwine? panel thinks this is worth: £20
‘Attractive, youthful wine, nicely made. Bright red fruits and leathery, earthy wild herb character. Classy persistent flavours’
Piccini Brunello di Montalcino 2010
The wotwine? panel thinks this is worth: £30
‘Excellent, complex, balanced wine with beautiful maturity. Ripe cherry fruit, leather, tobacco, sweet spices on the well-structured palate’
Finally, if your host plans to serve up a hearty red meat dish, like steak or roast beef, then Malbec is a perfect pairing. Aldi’s Exquisite Collection is a well-priced Malbec which pairs perfectly with these dishes.
Exquisite Collection Uco Valley Malbec 2016
The wotwine? panel thinks this is worth: £5.99
‘Spicy, oaky wine with fresh dark berry fruit and wild herb character.’
Pinot Noir is surprisingly versatile and a good bet if you don’t know what your host is going to serve. It pairs well with richer fish such as tuna or salmon but is also a great accompaniment to chicken, duck, game birds and casseroles. The drawback is price, as Pinot Noir is notoriously difficult to grow and land prices in Burgundy are fast approaching Mayfair with a hotel on it! Wotwine? has therefore highlighted an easy-drinking option for the more budget-conscious from New Zealand, which is making some of the New World’s finest Pinot Noirs:
Winemaker’s Selection Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016
The wotwine? panel thinks this is worth: £9.50
‘Nicely made, fresh, balanced wine with juicy raspberry and strawberry fruit and good ripe tannins.’
If you’re looking for the best value wines when you’re out shopping, download the free Wotwine app for quick access to thousands of regularly updated wine reviews by an independent panel of Masters of Wine and professionals. Just pick up a bottle and scan the barcode or enter the name on the app to find out whether it’s good value for money.
Red or white? Pinot or rioja? Fruity or earthy? Choosing a wine to match your meal can often feel like pot luck, and the feast of different foods we tuck into at Christmas only makes the right wine choice more baffling.
Before you wear your eyes out squinting at wine labels trying to work out whether blackcurrant undertones or floral notes will go best with Christmas dinner, read on for our advice.
Whether you’re a turkey traditionalist, or branching out into beef, vegetarian or even fish dishes this Christmas, we’ve rounded up top tips from our panel of wine experts on the best food and wine pairings for Christmas Day. And fear not, we’ve got sweet treats covered too – from Christmas puds to fruity pavlovas.
If you haven’t got round to doing your food shopping yet, check out the best places to buy your Christmas turkey and trimmings
Best wines for turkey
If you enjoy the zing of cranberry sauce with your turkey, the key is choosing a wine that has a fairly high acidity without being overly sweet. This is to balance out the fruitiness.
This could be a young, ripe Californian zinfandel or a versatile pinot noir. We’ve tested a selection of wines for the 2019 winter season, and one of our experts felt a bottle costing just £5.99 would pair particularly well with turkey. Take a look at our best red wines for winter to find out more.
If you’re planning on serving your turkey with a more traditional accompaniment, such as bread sauce, then opt for a well-aged wine. These have fewer overbearing tannins so go nicely with meats with a low fat content.
A mature claret or even a rioja would be a good choice if you prefer red. White wine lovers should try a round, full-bodied glass (or two) of chardonnay.
Best wines for beef
Choosing a wine to go with your beef depends on the cut and how it’s cooked.
Lean cuts of beef, such as a filet mignon, need a lighter, less tannic red wine such as a pinot noir or merlot. Those who prefer white should stick with a chardonnay or (if you’ve got a sweeter tooth) a white zinfandel.
Any form of slow-cooked beef, such as a stew or casserole, needs to be matched with a bold wine to bring out the rich, earthy flavours of the dish. A full-bodied merlot would be a good choice to bring some fruitiness to the table.
If you really want to push the boat out, one of our expert wine panel suggested a posh beaujolais cru – though this may be one to save for when you don’t have to share it with a house full of guests.
Best wines for fish
The best wine to serve with fish is heavily influenced by what you’re serving it with.
A wintry fish pie pairs best with a chardonnay or dry rosé, whereas if you’re dishing up tuna or salmon you’ll want to serve a chilled, light red, like a pinot noir.
For cured or smoked fish the guidelines are slightly different. Dry sherry is your best bet, as its salty, slightly tangy taste works perfectly with smokier flavours. Serve it this chilled, if possible.
Best wines for vegetarian dishes
There’s a whole host of wines you can pair with meat-free options depending on the overarching flavour of the dish. As a rule, though, you’re best avoiding heavy reds and favouring fresher whites.
If you’re planning on cooking anything containing large amounts of chili, bear in mind that it acts as an irritant, making every flavour taste bolder than it is. For this reason, you’ll want to serve it with a clean, off-dry white such as a muscat or riesling. A rosé would work well too.
Anything with a green veg base pairs best with a slightly sweeter wine, such as a sauvignon blanc – those from Chile or the Loire Valley in particular. Lighter styles of pinot grigio or chenin blanc could also do the job, thanks to their crisp, fresh flavours.
To make your festive food shop that little bit easier, our food editors tried out almost 50 different plant-based products and picked out their favourite vegan Christmas eats for 2019.
Best wines for mince pies
If you find yourself reaching for a mince pie as a mid-afternoon snack or a substitute dessert, you’ve got a few different wine options.
The dried fruit flavours in a chilled, well-aged tawny port will complement your mince pie perfectly – especially if you opt for a pie filled with nuts. A sweet muscat is another good option, as it will balance out the high acid levels in the mincemeat.
For fans of bubbles, a sweet and fruity asti spumante could do the trick too, and its lower alcohol content might be an added benefit over the Christmas period.
If you’re on the hunt for a mince pie with delightfully buttery pastry and a juicy, fruity filling, look no further than our best mince pies for Christmas.
Best wines for Christmas puddings
Christmas pudding is a rich, hearty dessert, so you can go a little heavier with your alcohol selection. A light dessert wine, such as sauternes, might get lost in the spicy flavours of your pudding.
Cream sherry would be the ultimate (if unhealthy) luxury to pair with your pud, but may not be to everyone’s taste. A less filling alternative could be a nutty, treacly tawny port.
Don’t forget that Christmas puddings are already soaked in large amounts of alcohol, so you may even want to skip the booze for one course.
Aldi’s Specially Selected Exquisite Vintage Pudding was named the best Christmas pudding for 2019 by our panel of experts, but find out which other Christmas puddings fared well in our taste test.
Best wines for fruity desserts
To balance out the flavour of fruity desserts, our panel of wine experts recommends choosing a slightly sweeter wine; else you could risk it tasting on the bitter side.
For strawberry-based goodies, a sauternes is an excellent pairing, thanks to its balance of sweetness and acidity alongside apricot, honey and peach notes. This is typically served chilled, but if you own a bottle that’s more than 15 years old, it should be served slightly warmer.
If you’re serving up anything containing raspberries, a riesling is the best choice, provided the dessert isn’t too sweet – this risks overpowering the wine. A super-fancy option would be a demi-sec champagne, as this goes beautifully with fruity flavours.
Best wines for anything with caramel
You’ve got a couple of different options to choose from to match caramel’s sticky sweetness.
Our experts suggested either a madeira or a tawny port, as these are sweet enough to compete with the flavour of caramel without being too overpowering.
For those who want to stick to wine, a late-harvest pinot noir could be a good choice, especially if the dessert also incorporates elements of chocolate. An Australian shiraz would do the job nicely too.