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Canada is a country made up of many different cultures and as a result Christmas is really a multicultural occasion with people celebrating the day in a multitude of different ways. With this in mind it can be a challenge to define a traditional Christmas dinner as it's different for everyone.

As far as traditions go most of us have probably grown up with the customary Christmas menu of roast turkey with stuffing and all of the trimmings. Christmas dinner can also be a maple glazed ham, roast leg of lamb, prime rib of beef or roast goose.

If you are adventurous enough to explore new culinary territory, then the following tips and suggestions for Christmas dinner wine pairings may be of interest. There are two approaches to wine and food pairing.

The first is to choose your wine based on contrast and similarities. Salt contrasts to wines with acidity. That's why Champagne goes well as an apéritif with smoked salmon. Likewise, soy sauce-based Asian cuisine pairs well with Sauvignon Blanc or Rieslings with their fruit and acidity and a spicy Zinfandel works well with Mexican and Indian curry dishes.

The second option is to identify a dominant flavor in a dish - Once you have determined the dominant flavor, try to match that with a wine or the other way around. Match the weight of the wine to the food as well-delicate to delicate, bold to bold. That wonderful roast turkey may not be so wonderful with a powerful, tannic Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. However that expensive Cab you've been saving for a special occasion would be perfect for that prime rib roast.

A few suggestions for your Christmas Menu

Champagne or Sherry

These are two often overlooked apéritifs. When guests arrive prior to dinner try offering one of these wonderful wines with pre dinner appetizers. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Pinot Noir

If red wine is more to your liking then try a Pinot Noir or Beaujolais. Lighter in tannins than a Cabernet or Shiraz either one of these reds can be enjoyed with ham or turkey.


This red varietal with its flavours of white pepper and spice is a must when serving lamb. The tannins work well with the red meat and the spice offsets the slightly gamey flavour sometimes associated with lamb.

Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc

Any one of these whites can be enjoyed with ham or turkey. Riesling or Gewurztraminer has a nice balance between fruit and acidity while the Sauvignon Blanc tends to be crisp and refreshing.


A rich buttery Chardonnay is the perfect choice for roast goose. The oak and buttery flavours will compliment the richness of the meat while the acidity will cleanse the palate.Wine P

Cabernet Sauvignon

A must with roast prime rib. What more can I say?

Cheers and Season’s Greetings

Tags: Wine Paring Tips,, Wine,

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