Top pairings | Wine and turkey: Six of my favourite wine matches

Top pairings

Wine and turkey: Six of my favourite wine matches

Christmas being as traditional as it is you may already have your own favourite wine pairing for turkey but if you're looking for inspiration here are my six favourite matches

Remember Christmas dinner is not just about the bird but the flavourful stuffings, sauces and sides that go with it so what you want is a wine with plenty of oomph!


Not an inexpensive option, admittedly but the impressively embossed label has a real feelgood factor and the generous alcohol of the wine will hold its own with the stuffing and sides. Don’t try to do it on the cheap though. A decent Chateauneuf costs at least £15 (on special offer) and generally well over £20 as I pointed out in my recent article in The Guardian.

Other southern Rhône reds

More affordable options would be appellations such as Lirac (just next door to Chateauneuf), Gigondas and Côtes du Rhône ‘village’ wines such as Vacqueyras, Séguret and Cairanne. The 2010 vintage was a particularly good one. A magnum would make that choice even more impressive

Other GSM (grenache, syrah, mourvèdre) blends

‘Cos that’s the base of the Chateauneuf/southern Rhône reds. You’ll also find that style of wine in the Languedoc but also in Australia and South Africa. Often with the letters GSM on the bottle.


Time we rehabilitated Merlot which is a really delicious, crowd pleasing wine. Look for a smooth velvety style rather than a heavily oaked one. Chile has some well-priced examples.

Sparkling Shiraz

This is what the Aussies tend to have with Christmas lunch which is of course celebrated in high summer. If you don’t have the nerve to serve it with the meal itself crack open a bottle on Boxing Day. (Straight unfizzy Shiraz is also pretty good with a hot or cold bird)

Oaked chardonnay

A surprise, maybe, but at a Christmas tasting I did a couple of years ago for Decanter magazine a white burgundy - a Chassagne-Montrachet - came out tops. (Limoux chardonnay is a good low cost alternative.) You need to keep the gravy relatively light, obviously, but it’s surprising how well it works. Well worth having a bottle on the table for those who prefer white wine to red.

You could obviously serve other classic wines such as red Bordeaux, Burgundy or Rioja but I personally feel they’re better with other festive meats.

Bordeaux or other Cabernet blends - better with roast beef

Burgundy or other good Pinot Noir - better with roast duck or goose

Rioja - better with roast lamb

So what do you drink with your Christmas turkey?

Image © Vicuschka -

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