Food & Wine Pros | 10 offbeat Christmas wine pairings to suggest to your customers

Food & Wine Pros

10 offbeat Christmas wine pairings to suggest to your customers

One of the reasons people most appreciate independent wine merchants is that they can talk to them about the kind of wine that will suit the meals or occasions they're planning.

Although it's busy Christmas is no exception so here are a few ideas to have up your sleeve . . .

Smoked salmon

Almost everybody thinks smoked salmon is the best match for champagne but unless it’s a canapé or a sandwich there are many other options. Sauvignon blanc - probably their favourite white - is a much better pairing

Seafood cocktail

Many customers are still resistant to riesling but with a seafood cocktail with a tricky-to-match cocktail sauce it really comes into its own. Personally I love the floral style ones from California or Washington state (see this Bonny Doon pairing) but a good Mosel riesling is also wonderfully refreshing

Cold poached salmon

It's hard to beat chardonnay, admittedly, but what about a Provencal rosé (which will also have the virtue of using up current stock before the 2021 vintage comes in ;-). (For other Provençal rosé pairings see here.)


I know you’re going to want to upsell to Chateauneuf but there are so many other handsomely bottled southern Rhône reds, you’ll get kudos for suggesting a cheaper alternative. Like a Lirac for example.

Christmas ham

It’s a struggle to get people to take Beaujolais seriously but a good Morgon does suit a Christmas ham perfectly. And a lighter style is brilliant with the Boxing Day feast. Remember to remind them to serve it lightly chilled.


Off-dry riesling again may be the best pairing but most people are instinctively going to want a red. Steer them towards an Italian red, preferably a barolo or a Langhe nebbiolo. For more options see here.

Christmas pudding

For many people Sauternes is the automatic go-to for a dessert but with Christmas pudding I’d much rather have a rich, marmaladey Tokaji

Mince pies

There’s more to mince pie pairing than cream sherry, good though that is. Madeira - also good with Christmas cake - would make a nice change, or an Australian ‘tawny’. For more ideas see here.


Suggest extra dry prosecco which, as I’m sure you know, is sweeter than brut. Perfect.


Everyone is wedded to port but I promise you sloe (or damson) gin is every bit - if not more - delicious. Wouldn’t want Christmas without it.

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