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Best wines to pair with your Christmas dinner

It's that time of the year when many of us will be planning our feasts and festivities for the upcoming silly season.

Whether your Christmas dinner is a traditional sit-down affair, a casual barbecue at sunset, or a wonderful mish-mash of dishes from different cultures and cuisines, having the right wine on hand to complement the flavours of all your culinary delights is a must.

And if you're a guest, it's a thoughtful touch to discuss the menu plans with the host in advance so that you can arrive armed with the perfect wine to match.

This Christmas pairing guide was developed to help you add a little extra merry to your evening. It features a stunning selection of white, red and sparkling Nepenthe wines, all masterfully crafted in our home in the Adelaide Hills.

Cooking with tempranillo wine duck

Tips on pairing wine with Christmas dinner

Here are our top tips for selecting the best wine for Christmas dinner:

  • Pop a bottle of sparkling wine with your appetisers to set a cheery Christmas atmosphere.
  • Incorporate a light to medium-bodied white wine for lighter dishes such as seafood, poultry or white meats.
  • Take it up a notch with a full-bodied red wine for rich beef or lamb dishes.
  • Pick a sparkling or sweet white wine to match fruit-based desserts, while rich Christmas puddings and mince pies pair best with sweeter, fortified wines.




What wines are best served with seafood?

A mouth-watering platter of chilled prawns and oysters is, without a doubt, a quintessential Aussie Christmas treat. Dry white wine varietals, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, have vibrant citrus notes and zippy acidity, which perfectly match the salty and fresh flavours of a seafood spread.

If you plan on hitting the grill, complement the charred flavours of barbecued prawns or fish with a medium-bodied Pinot Gris. Its subtle nashi pear and green apple undertones are especially good for offsetting the rich flavours of swordfish or yellowtail kingfish.

And, of course, a bottle of refreshing Sparkling wine or Rosé is a classic choice for enjoying seafood outside on a warm and balmy evening.


What wines are best served with Christmas ham?

Will your guests be treated to the heady aromas of cinnamon and cloves wafting from the gleaming, glazed Christmas ham in your oven? If the answer is yes, you need a fruit-forward wine that complements the sweet and salty flavours of the ham without overpowering its delicate spicy notes.

We recommend pairing your glazed ham with a light-bodied Pinot Noir for its bright summer berry flavours, subtle spice and soft velvety finish. Pinot Noir is also an excellent match for traditional roast pork.


What wines are best served with turkey?

A crisp, clean-tasting Sauvignon Blanc with its subtle passionfruit and citrus undertones is a fantastic wine choice if you plan on having turkey as your Christmas centrepiece this year. And a little dash of cranberry sauce works well to offset the herby flavours in the wine.

Roast turkey also pairs well with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Gewürztraminer.


What wines are best served with duck?

A bold and velvety red wine with deep and fruity notes like a Shiraz pairs beautifully with the rich and fatty, gamy flavours of duck. Pinot Noir also works well if you prefer something lighter.

Looking for inspiration on how to serve duck this Christmas? Why not give our Roast Duck Salad and Pinot Noir recipe a whirl? With fresh rocket, baby beets, goat's cheese and balsamic vinegar, it’s sure to be a hit with your guests.


What wines are best served with roast beef or lamb?

Savoury meat dishes, such as roast beef or lamb, lend themselves to medium to full-bodied red wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, with its deep mocha and mulberry fruit flavours, is a classic choice for pairing with heavier red meat dishes. However, a fantastic alternative is a rich and elegant Tempranillo with its intense berry aromas complemented with hints of dried herbs and sweet spice.


What wines are best served with Christmas dessert?

Waiting at the finish line of a good Christmas feasting marathon is usually a rewarding spread of sweet treats. With its bubbly vibrancy and aromas of citrus and peach, a festive flute of Sparkling is delicious alongside a light and fruity pavlova, while the lemon and honey notes of a Semillon pair well with a soft and luscious Christmas trifle.

For more traditional desserts like Christmas pudding or mince pie, go for a sweet and sticky dessert wine like Sherry, Muscat and Maury.


Best wines for Christmas dinner Ready to choose your bottle of wine for the silly season?

We've rounded up a selection of our favourite Nepenthe wines to help you along. And if you’re looking for some culinary inspiration for your Christmas menu, explore our delicious range of wine-paired recipes.


Best red wines for Christmas dinner


Browse our entire range of Nepenthe Red Wines.


Best white wines for Christmas dinner


Browse the full range of Nepenthe White Wines.


Best sparkling wines for Christmas dinner


Browse the full range of Nepenthe Nepenthe Sparkling wines.


Best Rosé wines for Christmas dinner


Browse the full range of Nepenthe Rosé wines.

Spread some extra cheer this Christmas with Nepenthe. Browse our full range of wines to get started.