The Best Wines for Christmas | Wine Enthusiast
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Your Official Guide to Christmas Wine Pairings

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When it comes to the holidays, there’s never a one-size-fits-all drinking plan. Plenty among us will mark the festive season with an electric green Grinch cocktail spiked with melon-flavored Midori. Others will gravitate toward the minty “It’s a Wonderful Life” cocktail doctored with Irish cream liqueur. More still will prefer spice-scented aquavit, or velvety hot buttered rum. But for those of us kitchen-oriented folk, who’ve been planning our Christmas menus since July? Wine—and specifically, the right wine to pair with food—is the name of the game.

It’s not always an easy equation. What’s the just-right bottling to accompany a glistening ham drizzled with a sauce of Port and sweet-tart cherry preserves? Or a wine that dazzles alongside a plateful of salty baccala, also known as salt-dried cod?

Never fear, we’ve tapped the experts in Wine Enthusiast’s Tasting Department for bottlings that’ll make any of these fantastic Christmas-ready dishes sing.

The Best Wine for Ham: Netzl 2019 Rubin Carnuntum Zweigelt (Carnuntum)

92 Points Wine Enthusiast

Few dishes wow quite like a dramatic ham centerpiece. Ham Stuffed with Prunes and Apples does the trick; it’s served with a sweet-sour sauce that mingles rich pan juices with tawny Port and sticky cherry preserves. Serve it alongside this medium to full-bodied red, which delivers concentrated flavors of ripe dark plum, black currant and a hint of loam.

$31 Wine-Searcher

The Best Wine for Turkey: Tablas Creek 2021 Patelin de Tablas Red (Paso Robles)

The Best Wine for Rack of Lamb: Bodegas Muriel 2016 Fincas de la Villa Reserva (Rioja)

93 Points Wine Enthusiast

Of course, who’s to say you have to choose just one showstopper dish? Our Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb with Gremolata, roasted over a bed of fresh thyme and rosemary, makes for an elegant affair. Between bites, sip this dark ruby-hued bottling, which delivers flavors of blackberry, black cherry, anisette, menthol and violet against a rigid tannin backbone.


The Best Wine for Salt Cod Stew: Alexakis 2020 Assyrtiko (Crete)

90 Points Wine Enthusiast

Partaking in the Feast of the Seven Fishes? Perhaps add to the menu an Italian-inflected Salt Cod Stew, cooked into a luscious, spicy ragu and served over ultra-creamy polenta. It cries out for this textured and glossy Crete bottling, which conveys balanced notes of citrus and melon.

$15 Vivino

The Best Wine for Roasted Whole Fish: Napa Cellars 2021 Chardonnay (Napa County)

91 Points Wine Enthusiast

You can’t go wrong with a simple Roasted Whole Fish with Herbs rubbed with olive oil and stuffed to the gills with pungent garlic. It’s a lovely accompaniment to this rich, full-bodied Chardonnay, which offers mild acidity amid generous accents of butter, vanilla and nutmeg.


The Best Wine for Brussels Sprouts: The Eyrie Vineyards 2020 Estate Pinot Gris (Dundee Hills)

92 Points Wine Enthusiast

Think you don’t like bitter greens? Try these holiday-appropriate, butter-glazed Brussels Sprouts with Radicchio and get back to us. It makes an unlikely dream team with this singular Pinot Gris, which packs a fascinating aroma of struck flint, herb and soil after a rain.

$28 Vivino

The Best Wine for Pear and Parsnip Gratin: Domaine Laporte 2021 La Terre des Anges (Sancerre)

91 Points Wine Enthusiast

Don’t settle for a standard potato gratin. Mix things up with a hot, bubbling Pear and Parsnip Gratin swimming in heavy cream and butter. Don’t worry, it still counts as a vegetable. (It’s the holidays, OK?) Pair it with this acid-forward Sauvignon Blanc, which fittingly serves up flavors of warm apple and pear.

$18 Wine-Searcher

The Best Wine for Barley and Butternut Squash Salad: Anselmo Mendes 2021 Muros Antigos Alvarinho Alvarinho (Vinho Verde)

92 Points Wine Enthusiast

Lighten things up (but not too much) with this pomegranate molasses-swathed Barley and Butternut Squash Salad studded with toasted pecans, dried cherries, red onion and sage. It’s hearty enough to stand up to this dense wine from the Minho Valley, which in addition to great acidity and bright fruit also delivers a deep richness.

$20 Wired For Wine

The Best Wine for Whiskey Pumpkin Pie: Seppeltsfield NV Para Grand Tawny Red (Australia)

94 Points Wine Enthusiast

We’re in dessert territory, people! It’s hard to argue with Whiskey Pumpkin Pie spiked with dark maple syrup and a hit of liquid smoke, so don’t even try. It plays nicely with this Australian Para Grand Tawny, which in addition to a lovely acidity on the palate, conjures aromas of dusty library books and leather armchairs (good things, we assure you), plus baked raisins, molasses, coffee beans and warm spice.

$40 Wine-Searcher

The Best Wine for Hazelnut Cookies: Volpaia 2015 Vin Santo del Chianti Classico

93 Points Wine Enthusiast

Don’t forget to leave some cookies out for Santa. Easy Crescent Cookies, packed with ground hazelnuts and dusted in a blanket of confectioners’ sugar, perhaps? While you’re at it, don’t forget to leave the big guy a glassful of something lovely, like this white Trebbiano-Malvasia blend. With sweet notes of marzipan and acacia honey, it presents aromas of maple syrup, ripe apricot and vanilla.

$69 Vivino

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All products featured here are independently selected by our team, which is comprised of experienced writers and wine tasters and overseen by editorial professionals at Wine Enthusiast headquarters. All ratings and reviews are performed blind in a controlled setting and reflect the parameters of our 100-point scale. Wine Enthusiast does not accept payment to conduct any product review, though we may earn a commission on purchases made through links on this site. Prices were accurate at the time of publication.