Most of us will be reaching for a bottle of red when eating the turkey, white sauce, stuffing and roast potatoes next week — but white wine is also a good, if less common, choice.
The general consensus around white wines and Christmas dinner is that Chablis, or other wines made with Chardonnay grapes, are the best option because they are complex enough to complement everything that is usually found on a dinner table at Christmas.
The Chablis region in north-west Burgundy produces lean and flinty wines that are incredibly French thanks to cold winters and warm summers. Like many French wines, Chablis tends to be expensive. Unlike many French wines, Chablis is often worth the premium, although it is sensible to shop around.
Most Chablis is categorised as Petit Chablis and tends to be fruity and fresh. These are good wines, but for Christmas Day you may well want to push out the boat and buy a Grand Cru. These wines are much fuller, richer and aged for some time in oak barrels. The slightly oaky taste makes them very suitable for a starter of salmon or prawns as well as to imbibe with the turkey.
Supply lines are difficult this year and there seems to be little point in recommending particular wines at the moment; so many shelves are empty and it may prove impossible to find a particular wine. Good alternatives to Chablis are any other wines made with Chardonnay, either from France or further afield.
The other grape that is made for days like Christmas is Sauvignon Blanc, which originates in the Bordeaux region in south-west France but can now be found all over the new world. Loire wines such as Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre can be found in most supermarkets and off-licences and make a great accompaniment to both seafood and turkey.
For those who want to keep to white wine throughout the meal, there are plenty of good dessert wines these days to drink alongside your plum pudding. Close readers of this column will know that I am a huge fan of dessert wines but often despair at the cost. In recent years, prices seem to be going down as more and more supermarkets stock good examples.
One of the best-value dessert wines around right now is Aldi’s Specially Selected Sauternes 2016, which is selling for just €9 a bottle and would be an ideal accompaniment to both plum pudding and blue cheese. Happy Christmas!