JWL Issue #031: Christmas pairing - wine, goose and turkey

December 4, 2018

I’ve started thinking about wine for Christmas parties, Christmas Day and New Year recently. Special bottles we might open for a Christmas Eve supper or over lunch on Christmas Day are all up for debate.

Waitrose have got a particularly good offer on at the moment.

An aside: most supermarket ‘offers’ aren’t offers at all. Those '£10 down to £6’ markdowns are frequently just £6 masquerading as £10 wines for six months of the year.

Waitrose are doing 10 genuinely good wines at £10 that retail in the £14-20 for the rest of the year. I’ve included some of my favourites below.*


Louis Latour has a classic white Burgundy. It’s buttery, appley, ripe lemony, apricoty, and nods of honey. A lovely body & long finish. It’s £14.99, but I’ve seen it on offer at Waitrose a few times - so I’d buy as much of this as you can afford to stock up on when you see it on offer. 

If spicy reds are your thing, then the Hedonist Shiraz at Waitrose is a great choice. From McLaren Vale in Australia, this is - for a supermarket wine - a rare biodymamic wine. It’s also a great example of how biodynamics isn’t all barnyard aromas and funky noses. Would be a great choice with any dark meat over Christmas: save a glass for the fire. You can pick this up for £14.49.

El Piadoso Rioja Gran Reserva isn’t an every day wine. This 2008 feels like it’s entering its prime: as the notes of leather, vanilla, and charred wood combine with black fruits and spice giving a good nod towards a Bordeaux taste I had recently. (£16.99 at Waitrose).


Wine Pairing: Turkey or Goose

If you want to choose something to go with that turkey or goose this year already, here are a few pointers. 

First and foremost: buy what you love. Buy what you can afford. Don’t search for some perfect pairing. The perfect pairing is whatever you love, and lots of it. That’s true all year round but seems to need extra reminding at Christmas. 

That said… here is what will naturally go. 

On the turkey front: it’s a non-fatty white meat that’s not overpowering. That means you really need to avoid tannins which are just going to clash with the food. The easiest way for most people to reach that is stick pinot noir, gamay or other cool climate red grapes. For those with cellars full of older wines, open up something fully mature so that the tannins have softened. 

If white is more your vibe, full-bodied, oaky Chardonnay is the perfect way to go. That Louis Latour White Burgundy would be perfect! Goose, unlike turkey, is a heavily fatty bird. That means it needs acidity and a bit of residual sugar to match. For me that calls for the wine boffins’ favourite: riesling! But if an off-dry riesling isn’t your bag, you can just as easily stick to any cool climate wine and should be fine.

*Wines not on offer as of January 2020, however do keep an eye out for these wines listed.

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