If you’ve decided to serve goose rather than turkey this Christmas you’ve already opted to be adventurous. So you could arguably be adventurous about your choice of drink too.
I say arguably because family members often get a bit odd around the festive season, digging their heels in and insisting on having something they’ve had hundreds - or at least tens of times before.
Goose is, of course, stronger-flavoured than turkey - more like game but - crucially - quite a bit fattier which makes it essential in my book to look for a wine that has a fair level of acidity. It also tends to be accompanied by powerfully flavoured accompaniments such as chestnuts and red cabbage. Other traditional (and very good) accompaniments are potato or potato and apple stuffing, apples and prunes which can also affect your pairing:
Here are my suggested options:
Probably the best match of all if you’re planning an apple or apple and prune stuffing. A dry spätlese Riesling would be ideal, cutting through the fat and providing a subtle touch of sweetness. The drawback is that your guests may well expect a red - but there’s no reason why you can’t serve both
A bolder choice still for Christmas. Obviously it’s not to everyone’s taste but if you serve a slightly spicy stuffing, especially one that contains dried fruits and/or ginger it would make a great match. Again look for a top quality wine with some intensity from Alsace or New Zealand which is making some great examples
My preferred reds with goose, Both have the structure and acidity to cope well with the rich flavour of the meat. They’re also impressive special occasion wines which is what you look for at Christmas. I wouldn’t be inclined to serve red cabbage with them though.
Probably the most likely wine to please your guests and certainly the one to choose if you’re going for red cabbage, sweet potatoes or other richly flavoured veg. I’d choose an example with some sweet, silky fruit rather than big tannins otherwise you may suffer from palate overload
A safe bet - just as good with goose as it is with game. Likely to be popular with older members of the party.
And some beers to go with goose
These are just as good a match for goose as wine is if truth be told but there are, admittedly, likely to be fewer takers. No harm in having one or two available though
Probably the most off-the-wall choice on my list but for those who like it - and since writing my beer book An Appetite for Ale I now do - it’s a brilliant match.
Hand pumps at the Goose Island Brewery in Chicago