A festive round of Christmas cocktails starts any celebration off on the right foot, and boozy batches of Christmas punch ensure that the host (or designated house mixologist) doesn’t have to stand behind the bar all night. But whether you need a delectable wine to pair with every course that appears on your carefully curated Christmas menu or that perfect bottle to kick back and uncork while marathon watching your favorite Christmas movies, many of us have a hard time choosing the best Christmas wines to serve.
You know the moment at the liquor store: You’re standing in front of the display, mentally cycling through your menu, your flavor preferences, who’s coming to dinner and what they liked to drink last year. And those who order their wine online might not even have the in-store sommelier to guide them toward the best bottle. Never fear: We have suggestions for every flavor profile, style preference and price point that will satisfy every palate around your table.
In general, when pairing wine with food, match like with like. A delicate fish or chicken dish, for example, goes great with a light-bodied white like Pinot Grigio or Chenin Blanc. If you’re serving prime rib, ham or lamb with equally rich sides, you may want a more assertive, bolder red wine like Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon. And if you’re going for Thanksgiving redux with turkey and all the fixins’, a nice Pinot Noir or Gewürztraminer will usually fit the bill. Read on for our recommendations for this year’s best Christmas wines, from traditional to modern flavors.
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You can almost taste the mineral-rich soil in this crisp, light-bodied Riesling with notes of citrus and peach. It adds balance to cheese plates or spicy appetizers, but tastes great with turkey, pork or other white meats too.
Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
If you’re serving special-occasion shellfish, like lobster thermidore, crab legs or scallops in white wine sauce, you need a wine that’s up to the task. This crisp, oaked Chardonnay has enough butteriness to complement those flavors, but it’s crisp enough to cut through the fat and leave your palate ready for the next bite.
Brunello di Montalcino
Try this acidic red wine alongside rich, meaty dishes with lots of flavor, like pot roast, ribeye or even a hearty winter stew. It has a lightly spicy, sandalwood character that won’t overwhelm your palate when there’s a lot on the menu.
Clif Family Winery
Lightly lemony and dry with hints of honeysuckle, cloves and rose petals, this Anderson Valley Gewürztraminer is so much easier to drink than it is to spell. If you serve turkey, chicken or seafood for Christmas, pair it with this crowd-pleasing white.
Napa Valley Mountain Cuvée
This bold Bordeaux blend from the Napa Valley comes in strong with plum, red currant and floral notes, as well as a little vanilla and spice, making it perfect for holiday sipping. Try it with a cheese course, elegant main dishes like a standing rib roast or even a tray of grandma’s Christmas cookies.
Syrah Mourvedre Viognier
Hailing from South Africa, this slightly smoky, forest fruit-forward wine is certified sustainable and viciously delicious. With some subtle baking spice notes and a refreshing dryness, it would taste especially great alongside grilled or roasted meat.
Chianti Classico Riserva
If all you know about Chianti is that movie line, pick up this bottle, stat. With cherry, plum and woodsy flavors, fans of dry, full-bodied red wines will love drink it up. Serve with pasta and red sauce, an Italian-accented Christmas dinner or alongside the appetizer spread to get the party started.
Beaujolais Villages 2020
When I was growing up, one of my aunts always brought Beaujolais to Christmas dinner to celebrate the end of one year and the approach of another. This lighter-bodied red, which has raspberry, strawberry and some zesty accents, goes well with just about everything. Try it with pork loin, ham or lamb chops.
Blindfold White Blend
The Prisoner Wine Company
Made from a blend of Chardonnay, Roussanne, Viognier, Chenin, Blanc, Muscat and Vermentino, this is a uniquely bold white with butterscotch, citrus and apricot flavors. Serve it with creamy dishes like pasta alfredo or macaroni and cheese.
CA Brut Sparkling Wine
Pop open a bottle of bubbly and make a difference while you do: Every bottle purchased of this brut sparkling wine helps feed a child in need. Besides, it doubles as decor. Turn this off-dry, crisp white into Mimosas, a French 75 or pour it solo for brunch.
Liven up your holiday party with a lightly sweet sweet, effervescent red that just begs to be poured alongside a plate of pasta. Pour this one to that one moscato-drinking aunt who swears she hates red wine. Serve it lightly chilled to really highlight those tiny bubbles.
2018 La Jalousie
Domaine du Closel
Dip your toes (and tastebuds) into biodynamic, low-intervention wine with this sprightly white made from chenin blanc grapes. While every bottle of biodynamic wine tastes a little different, you can expect a fresh, crisp and lightly fruity flavor that pairs well with seafood, cheese platters and pasta.
Endless Crush Rosé
Yes, you should pour rosé with Christmas dinner. This balanced, slightly acidic bottle is made with Pinot Noir grapes, so it has notes of watermelon, strawberries and a little grapefruit to keep it from tipping over into too-sweet territory. It works well alongside pasta, cheese and turkey. Serve lightly chilled.
With rich, intensely fruity flavors that bring to mind spiced blackberry jam, this is a special bottle to pour alongside any beef or red meat main. It would even hold up next to dessert, especially chocolate or red berry treats.
Domaine de la Conseillère Juliénas
A rich, ruby red wine with tongue-scrubbing acidity, fresh strawberry and raspberry flavors, this bottle can stand up to whatever you’re putting on the table. Try it with roast beef, pork or lamb.
2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
With a complex, layered flavor that has elements of plum, cherry and some mocha and baking spice, this wine could almost serve as a side dish. While it pairs perfectly with prime rib or a roast, I also like to pour assertive wines like this one alongside spice-forward Thai, Indian and authentic Chinese cuisine, too.
With a velvety finish, tropical fruit and berry notes and a nice medium body, this merlot from Argentina will please every palate at your table. Merlot works nicely with just about any red meat, cheese and even tacos or pasta.
Alta Langa Metodo Classico Oudeis Brut 2017
Made from a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this sparkling wine tastes bright and clean with hints of citrus and a little sage. If you like starting your festivities off with a glass of bubbly, or need a special bottle to toast, pop this one.
Made with a red grape that’s native to southern Italy whose name means “black bitter,” this wine made with native yeasts from old-vine grapes has a deep, complex flavor with elements of forest fruits, cherry, and a bit of spice. Try it with sausages or game meat, fried food or just about any savory dish.
Blanc de Blancs 2015
Frank Family Vineyards
Crisp, lively and perfect for a festive occasion, this 100% Napa Valley Chardonnay sparkling wine has notes of lemon zest, green apple and a little breadiness. Hold the orange juice – you’ll want to drink this special sparkler all by itself alongside brunch, chicken or fish, or a cheese course.
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