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What You Need to Know About Serving Wine!

Ideal Wine Company guide to serving wine
We take you through the best ways to serve wine to ensure your drinking experience is perfect every time! 

We all love to drink wine, but it can be confusing to understand the best way to serve it. The way it is served can have a dramatic impact on our drinking experience. From the size of the glass to the best temperature to serve different wines, there are so many variables to take into consideration. This week, Ideal Wine Company will take you through the best ways to serve wine to ensure your drinking experience is perfect every time!

  1. Know your glassware

A fundamental element of any drinking experience, the proper glass will make your wine taste better. A wine glass controls the tasting experience, so here are some basic rules to make sure you’re choosing the right glass for your drink.

  • White wine: look for a glass with a smaller bowl to help preserve floral aromas and deliver more aromas to the nose. The smaller surface area will also help the wine keep cooler for longer.
  • Red wine: go for a glass with a larger bowl to deliver more aroma compounds and diminish the burn of ethanol as it is further away from the nose. Likewise, the larger surface area allows the ethanol to evaporate. In addition, the wider opening allows for a smoother taste.
  1. Understand the ideal temperature to serve

A common rule to understand is that there are different ideal temperatures for serving wine. Some of the more delicate floral aromatics in fine wines are completely subdued at very cool temperatures or burn off too quickly when the wine is too warm. While we know that red should be served warmer than white, here are the temperatures to aim for when serving wine.

Red wine: tastes better when served slightly below room temperature. Aim to serve it around 12-20°C. Light red wines usually work best at the lower end of the spectrum.

White wine: look for a temperature between 7-14°C. Remember, zesty whites should edge on the cool side and oak-aged whites are more suited to the warmer side.

Sparkling wine: 3-7 °C is great for most affordable sparkling wines. Try serving high-quality sparkling wines and Champagne at white wine temperatures.

  1. Decant your wine

When it comes to red wine, decanting is one of the best things you can do! This simple move will greatly improve the flavour. Simply pour the wine into a glass pitcher or wine decanter and let it sit for around 30 to 45 minutes before serving. This allows the ethanol flavours to evaporate and the wine to get to the perfect temperature.  With the exception of very old red and white wine, almost no wine will be harmed by decanting. This is sure to improve your drinking experience.

  1. Hold your glass the right way

Once you’ve poured your wine, remember that how you hold your glass can still affect the taste. For red wine, hold the glass by the bowl. As your hands are naturally warm, this will gently heat up the wine and allow your red to be served at an ideally warmer temperature. For white wine, you don’t want it to be warm. Instead of holding the glass by the bowl, hold it by the stem. This allows the bowl and the wine to stay at a cooler temperature.

These basics are always great to remember and can apply to almost any glass of wine you drink. No matter what wine you serve, you’ll be sure to have the best experience possible with these tips.

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The Best Ways to Serve Champagne at Your Next Party

No matter the occasion, Champagne is the perfect accompaniment – or focus – for all celebrations. Whether you’re marking a special occasion or relaxing with friends at a dinner party, Champagne is one of those indulgences that never goes out of favour! This week, Ideal Wine Company is sharing recommendations for the best ways to serve Champagne to make your celebrations pop!

Ideal Wine Company Serving Champagne
We’re sharing our recommendations for the best ways to serve Champagne to make your celebrations pop!

Always serve your champagne chilled

Champagne should always be served cold. The optimum temperature should be between 8-10°C, which you can achieve either by chilling the bottle in the fridge for 4 hours or in a Champagne bucket filled with ice and water for 30 minutes. If it is served below this temperature, the aromas can be hard to detect. Should the Champagne be warmer than this ideal temperature, the taste will be heavier, and your drink will appear less bright.  A good rule to remember is that you should never put a bottle of Champagne in the freezer or serve it in pre-chilled glasses as it will lose some of its sparkle.

If you are serving Champagne straight from the fridge, we recommend that you open the bottle and allow it to warm slightly before serving.

Open the bottle gently

When you open your Champagne, there are several techniques that you can use. However, all stem from the same basics. Firstly, you must remove the foil and the cage. While you’re gently untwisting the wire cage of the cork, make sure to keep the bottle upright. Use your thumb to keep the cork from releasing unexpectedly.

Once this is done, you can remove the cork. The simplest way to do this is to firmly grip the cork in one hand and gently twist the bottle at the base in the other hand. While doing this, try to keep the bottle at an angle pointed away from you and your guests. This helps to cut down on any hazardous cork removals! The cork should instead emerge softly from the bottle, with a gentle pop. Powerful Champagnes and bottles from tightly wound vintages, such as options from 1996, should be opened an hour or so before you enjoy them.

Make sure you choose the right glass

Contrary to popular belief, the standard flute is not the best way to serve Champagne. This glass can constrict the wine’s aromas and flavours, limiting the experience. A standard white wine glass or a flared flute are better options to choose from. Make sure that your glasses are clean and polished as this will give the purest bubbles.

And serve!

Champagne must be poured well to maximise the bubbles and experience. Start by holding your glass at an angle. From here, pour a small amount of wine into your glass and let any foam subside. You can then pour a little bit more into the glass. This technique helps to preserve the bubbles, making a lighter finish for drinking. Be careful not to pour to fast.

It’s also a clever idea to only fill your glass between a third and half full. As Champagne warms quickly, this will keep your Champagne cooler and more enjoyable as it is not left out to warm.

Champagne is a delicious and versatile drink that can fit any occasion. With a wide variety of foods that pair well, a bottle of Champagne is a good match for many meals and events. Using these basic tips, you’ll be able to make the most of your Champagne, no matter where or when you enjoy it.

Spice Up Your Wine Selection With Mexican Food

When you think of Mexican food, the most obvious beverage accompaniments are usually tequila and beer. But did you know that wine and Mexican food work really well together?  Here at Ideal Wine Company, we love the mix of spicy and bold flavours of Mexican food, and there’s a wine to go with every dish.

When you’re serving wine with Mexican food, there are key rules to remember so that you get it right. Let’s get started…

Ideal Wine Company wine and Mexican food
When you think of Mexican food, the most obvious beverage accompaniments aren’t usually wine.

Match spice with sweetness

As a general rule, the spicier your food is, the colder and sweeter your wine should be. It’s also worthwhile looking for lower alcohol wines and moderate tannins. All these elements will help to dissolve the burning sensation of chilli, leaving heat that is tasty but doesn’t linger on your palate.

Match colours

Try matching the colour of your wine to the colour of your meat. If you choose a white meat, opt for a white wine. Likewise, red meat works well with red wine. Look to the protein of your dish to advise you on where to go with your wine. Although this is the case with most foods, it’s still a good rule to live by.

The rule of green herbs

If your food contains a lot of green herbs, chances are it will work well with wine with high acidity and more herbaceous flavours. These types of dishes, therefore, work extremely well with Sauvignon Blanc, due to its acidic and herby flavours, often underpinned by citrus notes.

If your herby dish also contains a kick of chilli, try opting for a fruit-forward Sauvignon Blanc. This will balance the spice with sweet, creating a more rounded finish.

Suggestions by sauce

With so many dishes comprising of key Mexican sauces, we’ve got wine suggestions to match the most popular sauces.

  • Chilli sauce: It doesn’t matter if this sauce is sitting on top of your enchiladas or used as a dip, a German Riesling is the way to go. Its fruity notes counteract against the chilli to create a refreshing finish to a flavourful taste.
  • Guacamole: There’s no denying the popularity of guacamole. Whether you’re serving this on nachos, as a dip or in a burrito, this creamy and slightly spicy sauce is a staple of Mexican food. We recommend using a light and refreshing wine such as a dry Riesling, a Sauvignon Blanc or a Verdejo. These will really let the flavours of avocado and lime shine.
  • Pico de Gallo: This fresh and chunky tomato salsa, made with onion, jalapeno and coriander, can be used in a variety of Mexican dishes. If you’re serving a dish with this salsa, look for minerality and dryness in your wine choice. Notes of citrus will also help the flavours of the pico de gallo come into prominence. Try varieties such as Albariño, Vihno Verde or even a Grüner Veltliner. If you want to get back to basics, a good Pinot Gris is a great staple for this salsa.

No matter what your favourite Mexican dish is, these basics will carry you through almost all varieties, plus it’s fun to experiment along the way. Why not try it for yourself and let us know your perfect wine and Mexican pairings.

Why cake and wine are a match made in indulgent heaven

Some food and drink pairings seem to just fit – wine and cheese, tea and cake – but you don’t often see cake and wine paired. However, there are many wines that really complement cakes and sweet treats. But what works? Should your wine be sweet or dry? And what about dessert wines? At Ideal Wine Company we’ve got everything you need to know about pairing wine and cake!

Ideal Wine Company wine and cake
At Ideal Wine Company we’ve got everything you need to know about pairing wine and cake!

Red velvet cake with Pinot Noir

Deliciously chocolatey and with its cream cheese icing and distinctive red colour, red velvet cake is a very popular cake. This smooth-textured cake brings with it and deep richness means that this wine works best with an equally deep red. Try opting for a Pinot Noir to accent the chocolate undertones in the cake using cherry and berry flavours. These fruity notes will lift the cake and its naturally low tannins result in a lighter finish.

Chocolate cake and a red blend

Good old-fashioned chocolate cake is also very popular. With a cake this rich, it’s best to pair it with an equally indulgent wine that combines a few varieties’ best elements. Try looking for a blend that combines varieties such as Cabernet, Grenache and Syrah. The earthy notes will work to counterbalance the richness of the cake. Make sure your wine choice isn’t too sweet, as this can be overwhelming with the chocolate.

Cheesecake goes perfectly with a white dessert wine

When it comes to cheesecakes, any flavours you add can affect your choice of wine. As a rule of thumb, however, it’s a promising idea to address the cheesecake’s fat content with your choice. As most cheesecakes are made with a high fat content and creamy texture, try opting for a dessert white wine. The acidic nature of these wines is useful for cutting through the fluffy texture. This will help to cleanse your palate, lighten the flavours and keep every mouthful refreshing.

Lemon cake and Prosecco

As lemon is a light and refreshing flavour, your wine shouldn’t be too bold. This could overpower the cake and make the wine too dominant. Prosecco is similarly light, with delicate flavours of orange and citrus that will intensify the tartness of the lemon. This wine and cake pairing creates a perfect balance, allowing both the food and beverage to shine. Perfect for a fresh and light finish.

Birthday cake and Bordeaux

Birthday cake calls for a celebration. Its flavours of vanilla sponge, fruity jam and sweet icing create a delicious but powerful sugary hit. To counteract this, try using a bold red such as a Bordeaux. With berry notes, this wine will perfectly match the sweet notes without overwhelming your palate. The earthy aromas of a Bordeaux will ground the cake in deep and oaky flavours, giving a good balance to the cake’s heavy sugar content.

Pairing wine with cake, what’s not to love!  Another top tip for if you’re not sure where to start with choosing your wine, is to look at the icing. If the icing is a particularly strong flavour or dominant part of the cake, it will most likely to affect the dessert more than anything. Work with flavours you love and always try to balance out the sweetness. It’s always worth putting in the effort because when wine and cake come together, it’s really delicious.

The Perfect Wines for Burns Night

Falling very year on 25 January, Burns Night is an amazing celebration of the life and poetry of Scotland’s national bard Robert Burns. It’s traditionally associated with a large consumption of whiskey, but at Ideal Wine Company we’re here to show you how wine can be the perfect addition to your Burns Night. Focusing on the traditional meal of haggis, neeps and tatties, we’re ready with useful tips for pairing wine with this bold meal.

Ideal Wine Company Wine and Burns Night
Burns Night is an amazing celebration of the life and poetry of Scotland’s national bard Robert Burns – here are the perfect wines for Burns Night.

Cabernet Sauvignon – bold and brash

With haggis being a bold flavour to stand up to, make sure your wine is matching it. Bold food pairs well with bold wines. This full and vibrant red wine is the perfect addition to your Burns Night feast. Its brash jammy blackcurrant complements the earthiness of the meal. Cabernet Sauvignon’s hint of cocoa also works to soften the rustic flavours of the dish, making it more approachable. With sweet tannins on the finish, the wine brings together the blackcurrant, earthy haggis and rich fruitiness in a harmonious sip. A luscious and big-hearted Cabernet Sauvignon will do the job well.

Champagne – a light fizz perfect for celebrating

No celebration is complete without a delicious sparkling wine. With a light and refreshing quality, Champagne works as the perfect counter to the fattiness and spiciness of your meal. With plenty of acidity and an earthy sweetness, the light and fruity flavours of the wine can easily cut through your dish and cleanse your palate. Opting for a crisp dry Champagne will go a long way in elevating your heavy meal.

Cabernet Franc – balances berries and acidity

An unexpected choice, a Cabernet Franc is a surprisingly delicious addition to your meal. This wine brings a pronounced flavour of ripe red berries on both the palate and the nose, creating an interesting fruity experience. Its herbaceous notes are wonderfully weighted and provide a reasonably pronounced acidity. These characteristics make it perfect for cutting through the richness of the haggis and potato heavy meal. Bringing a much-needed uplift, this delightful wine provides a lively counter to your food, creating a balanced experience.

Gigondas – full-bodied and richly textured

This unique French wine offers a rich bouquet of fine, spicy aromas and a rich red colour. Notes of red fruits, including cherries and crushed strawberries, and ripe black fruits, such as blackberries and blackcurrants, can be detected on the nose. This light and sweet aroma provides an ideal counter to the rich haggis. With wild flavours of truffles and woodland on the palate, this complex wine provides enough earthiness and lightness to both complement the flavours of the haggis and cut through its bold taste. Try looking for a spicy wine with round tannins and a slight oaky taste.

Wine makes a great alternative to whisky on Burns Night. The spicy, fatty taste of haggis needs a wine with acidity, bold flavour and a slight sweetness. Given the heartiness of the meal, try for a heartening full-bodied wine that packs a punch.

Top Tips for Cooking with Dry White Wine

Ideal Wine Company dry white and food pairing
We’ve put together our top tips for cooking with dry white wine.

A good dry white wine is ideal for enhancing a dish. Adding it while cooking meals from risotto to fish can add a welcome burst of flavour without adding any unwanted sweetness. With such a wide variety of dry white wines out there, Ideal Wine Company has some useful tips to help you cook with wine.

  • Avoid cooking wines

If a wine is labelled as cooking wine, this means it’s probably unfit to drink. A good rule to remember when selecting your wine is to make sure you’d want to drink it. As you’re adding this flavour to your dish, you want to enjoy it.

  • Don’t over-extract the wine

As you cook the wine, the alcohol will evaporate. This extracts the flavour profile of the wine and imparts this onto the dish. Be careful not to over-extract the wine as you could lose the subtly of the flavours.

  • Stick to light dishes

As a general rule, dry white wines work best with light dishes, such as chicken, pork, veal, soup, seafood, shellfish and vegetables.

White meats, cream sauces and gravies

When cooking white meats, cream sauces and gravies, use a rich dry white wine. Cooking with wine in a cream sauce or gravy makes it more difficult to balance the acidity or monitor how much of the wine has reduced, an intensely flavoured and thicker wine is a better choice. Try using a Chardonnay, as this widely available wine provides the rich flavours needed to carry these dishes.

Vegetables

Vegetables work best in a light dry white wine. For this, try opting for a Sauvignon Blanc. This classic white wine has fruity and herbal notes that match the freshness of the vegetables. When used in cooking, this wine takes on a lightness and earthy sweetness that truly enhances the vegetables. As one of the easiest wines to cook with, a splash in the pan when deglazing will go a long way.

Risotto

With many varieties of risotto, it can be hard to find a universal wine to match all. As a general rule, a crisp and unoaked variety works well with classic risotto flavours such as mushroom or chicken. Try opting for a Pinot Grigio, as the versatility of the wine allows it to pair with a great deal of flavours. Bringing a round and full-bodied richness, its lemon-citrus flavours will balance the earthiness of the grains.

Seafood and Shellfish

Seafood and white wine is a classic pairing. The flavours of your seafood or shellfish can be greatly enhanced by the addition of a crisp dry white wine. These add a fruity minerality that is perfect for cooking. A good Pinot Noir is always a timeless pairing.  It’s worth looking at how fatty your fish is. A more acidic wine does a great job of cutting through fattier fish, such as salmon, and brightening your palate.

Dry white wines can add a great deal to your dish. Bringing balance, fruitiness and acidity, your food will take on a greater depth of flavour. Through looking at the elements that make up your meal, you’re sure to find a wine ideally suited to your needs.

Pairing Wine with Your Leftover White Meat

While roast dinners are one of Britain’s most popular and delicious dishes, we often find ourselves with a lot of white meat leftover. Whether chicken or turkey, there are plenty of ways to repurpose them. Each tasty incarnation that your leftover can take has a unique flavour profile and matches well to different wines. With a wide range of dishes being made from leftover white meat, Ideal Wine Company is here to guide you through the perfect wine choice for your meal.

Ideal Wine Company wine and white meat
Ideal Wine Company is here to guide you through the perfect wine choice for your leftover meat.

Curry, Thai and noodles – aromatic and bright wines work well

Though white meats are not usually bold in taste, currying them, whipping up a roast meat Thai dish or adding to noodles will change their flavour completely. Introducing spices is a great change for leftovers and a lighter wine alternative will match this. Zesty flavours of citrus will brighten up your dish.

How you choose to curry your white meat will affect the wine you choose. Should you opt for a korma style creamy sauce, an aromatic white is sure to match well. Try a Viognier for a citrus boost to cut through the creaminess of the curry. If you decide to take a Southeast Asian approach with your curry, such as a Thai green curry, it is advisable to adapt for a lighter sauce. The frequent use of coconut milk and spice makes these dishes harder to pair. A Riesling or Pinot Noir are always good options to balance out these delicate dishes.

It’s worth remembering that strong fruity rosés can handle spice too, with their light zesty flavour uplifting leftover white meat.

Risottos – look for light and crisp

When adding white meat to a risotto, the dish tends to be richer and more savoury. To work with this, it is best to look for a wine that is similarly richer, while also containing some good acidity. Try pairing your risotto with a light creamy Chardonnay, which won’t overwhelm the subtle flavours of the dish but brings enough acidity.

For a bolder pairing, a Pinot Noir also adds a subtle fruitiness to your risotto. This works particularly well if your dish includes truffles or truffle oil.

Salads – acidity is key

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, leftover white meat works well in a salad. With salads, the dressing you choose is most likely to affect your wine choice. With most salad dressings being vinegar based, remember the rule ‘acid with acid’. Pairing a wine too low in acidity to a naturally acidic dressing will cause the wine to be drowned out. Opting for a high-acid variety, such as an Albarino, will provide the perfect balance for your salad.

Sandwiches – youthful or robust reds are perfect

A sandwich is a classic form leftover take. When pairing your sandwich with wine, it’s all about the components that accompany the meat. In its simplest form, a youthful red Burgundy or Beaujolais worth well to bring new life to the meat.

By adding pickles or chutneys, you are introducing a new dominant flavour. With this in mind, try looking for a riper and robustly fruity Pinot Noir. Whether your accompaniment has a sweet, spicy or sharp finish, this fruity option provides a balance that will bring your sandwich flavours together. It’s always a good idea to look for juicy flavours when adding chutney or pickles.

Other options – creamy sauces in pies or simply with the meat – opt for a classic white

Whether your creamy sauce is used in a pie or simply on top of cold meat, its best to stick to a classic pairing for this. As white meats are not a bold tasting, the sauce becomes the key element to match. With cream, you can’t go wrong with a subtly oaked Chardonnay or a Chenin Blanc. These two white wines counteract against the richness of the cream to cleanse the palate and bring a lightness to the dish.

When pairing your wine with your white meat leftovers, the golden rule is to concentrate on what you are adding. Meats like chicken and turkey are adaptable meats and will take on the flavours of whatever is added to it. Let your additions dictate what wine you match with your dish.

Champagne Cocktails to Delight This New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is a time for celebrating and what better way to celebrate than with champagne? While a simple glass of champagne is delicious enough on its own, this party season is the perfect time to liven up your drink. Tasty and fizzy, champagne cocktails add a little kick to the festive season. Here at Ideal Wine Company, we’ve got a bounty of suggestions for your perfect champagne cocktail to see in the New Year.

Ideal Wine Company Champagne Cocktails
Here are our top Champagne cocktails to delight this New Year’s Eve.

The Classic Champagne Cocktail – a decadent drink

This classic choice is a popular one for parties. With its sweet and tart balance, it provides a depth of flavours that uplift the champagne’s natural freshness with a harmony of citrus bitterness.

How to prepare: To make this classic cocktail, place a sugar cube at the bottom of a champagne flute and cover with 3 to 4 dashes of Angostura bitters. After this, pour in enough cognac to cover the sugar. Top up your glass with cold champagne and garnish with a twist of orange. A perfect choice for a self-indulgent treat!

Death in the Afternoon – a strong sip

Claimed to be created by the novelist Ernest Hemingway, this drink is named after one of the author’s most famous works and is known for its strength.

How to prepare: This drink is a simple but effective creation. Pour 30ml of absinthe into a glass. Top this up with your champagne and watch as your drink takes on a cloudy colour.

Kir Royale – a French delight

This delicious drink originated in France, but is now popular all over the world. Nice for a special occasion year-round, its blackcurrant-based flavour adds a fruity twist and boosts the subtle sweetness of your champagne.

How to prepare: This cocktail is quick to make, giving you plenty of time to spend with friends and family this New Year. Simply combine 1 part crème de cassis to 4 parts champagne to create the perfect drink!

Bellini – a peachy classic

Invented in Harry’s Bar, Venice in 1934, this cocktail is served in a traditional champagne flute. In this modern twist, its combination of peach purée and champagne makes a great start to any celebration.

How to prepare: The basis of a Bellini starts with preparing the peach purée. Place peeled peached in a blender and purée until completely smooth. From here, fill your glass one third with the purée and the remaining two thirds with your champagne. An easy to make, but delicious choice this festive season.

Champagne cocktails are always a delicious addition to any party. A top tip to remember is to always choose a champagne that you would want to drink as this forms the base of everything. From here, whether you choose one of these options or try an entirely new concoction, whatever drink you choose to try is sure to be a hit.

The Perfect Wine to Serve with Your Christmas Dinner

Christmas dinner is arguably the biggest and most anticipated meal of the year. Whether you serve turkey, beef, ham or something more unusual, there’s a wine to suit every Christmas dinner meat choice perfectly. Here’s what you’ll find on the Ideal Wine table this Christmas.

Turkey – avoid tannins

Ideal Wine Company corkscrew
The Perfect Wine to Serve with Your Christmas Dinner

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a turkey. This traditional favourite is not a powerful meat and has a low fat content. The wine you choose to match it shouldn’t be too overwhelming either. Try to avoid serving anything heavy with tannin as this will clash with your meal. The lack of fat in the dish leaves nothing to soften the tannins, leading to an accentuated and harsh taste in the wine. On a similar note, the saltiness of the turkey will also make the tannin in your wine taste bitter.

A full-bodied white wine or a medium-bodied red, both with low to medium tannins and high acidity, will work well. If you’re opting for a white, try a Chardonnay. This enticing accompaniment pairs well with both your turkey and all the traditional trimmings. Its oaky richness provides notes of both sweet and spice, while its creamy acidity benefits the meat that can sometimes be dry.  Look for wines with a high level of minerality and acidity, to cleanse the palate and cut through the richness of the meal.

If you’d prefer a red wine, look towards the more robust varieties. Options such as Pinot Noirs and Beaujolais Crus are known to pair well with turkey. These medium tannin and medium bodied reds bring a fruity element that complement trimmings like cranberry sauce, while also bringing a sweet freshness to your plate.

Ham – add a dash of sweetness

Hams are a delicious addition to your Christmas meal. Whether you choose to bake, smoke or honey your ham, the salty meat needs a wine that will add a touch of sweetness. Try serving a German Riesling with a touch of residual sugar. Providing plenty of acidity, this palate pleaser provides enough sweetness to counteract the meat’s saltiness, without being overwhelming. Alternatively, look to an Alsatian Riesling if you want less sugar. This will bring more body to your wine and provide a richer palate profile.

If you’re looking for a red wine accompaniment, try looking for a variety lighter in body and overall style. Beaujolais, Pinot Noir and Spain’s Tempranillo grape exhibit subtle tannins and an easier going pairing profile that works well with ham.

Beef – opt for a bold red

Undoubtedly, red wine is the perfect pairing for beef. A large variety of reds work with this meat due to its richness and gamey flavour. A bold Cabernet Sauvignon, a rustic Tempranillo or a Barbaresco are just some of the wines that would be perfect for your Christmas dinner. These varieties are strong enough to mix and mingle with the bold flavours of the red meat, while also bringing out subtle nuances of beef.

Duck – red or white

When it comes to pairing wine with duck, be aware of the special features of the meat. While it is strong like beef, it also has a unique, fatty profile and an intense gaminess. A red is usually the best option if you are roasting, smoking or braising the duck. To pair with this, try using a red wine from Burgundy or Bordeaux.

If you’re serving your duck with a fruit-based sauce, try opting for a white. This means the sauce will not be competing with your wine choice and the wine will cleanse your palate to prevent an overwhelming sweetness. Gewurztraminer, Riesling, and Sauternes wines all work well with fruit-based duck dishes.

Christmas is a time to celebrate and come together. Whether you’re trying something new with your meal or sticking to a classic choice, always choose a wine you’ll enjoy. No matter what meat you choose for Christmas dinner, there’s a wine for your table.

Top Wine Pairings for Your Christmas Desserts

Christmas is a time for indulgence, meaning there’s always room for a dessert. The variety of sweet treats this time of year is endless. This is an Ideal Wine guide to pairing your dessert and wine this festive season!

Ideal Wine Company christmas desserts and wine
Here are our top wine pairings for your Christmas desserts.

Shiraz – works well with gingerbread and caramel

Originating in south-eastern France, this dark skinned red grape produces a full-bodied wine. With fruit flavours of blackberry and blueberry and notes of vanilla and allspice, this is usually an oaky choice. The spiciness of this red wine works well with cinnamon, ginger, caramel or nuts, making a versatile choice. Try pairing this wine with a seasonal classic, gingerbread. The versatile notes in the wine will complement and bolster the spice heavy dessert. Alternatively, this wine works well with caramel based offerings, so would work well with any Christmas chocolates you enjoy this season!

Pinot Noir – a perfect pairing with chocolate desserts

When pairing wine and desserts, a commonly accepted rule is ‘the darker the pudding, the darker the grape’. If you’re serving chocolate, it’s a good idea to follow this rule and pair with a dark red wine. Pinot Noir works particularly well with chocolate, as the sweet flavours of red cherries, raspberries and strawberries bring balance. Counteracting the richness of the chocolate, the fruitiness of the wine provides the perfect natural sweetness. If you’re serving a yule log this season, Pinot Noir is a classic go to.

Riesling – ideal for fruity desserts

If you’re looking to serve a lighter and fruity option, a Riesling would be a great match. This wine pairs well with fruit such as pears, apples or peaches. This light white wine is refreshing and crisp, making a welcome break from the heavy fares usually served at Christmas. Try serving this with tarte tatin, as the acidity of the wine will cut through the potentially overwhelming sweetness. A perfect choice for a non-traditional Christmas serving.

Muscat – compliments creamy desserts

Muscat wine naturally has a pronounced sweet and floral flavour. With many varieties to choose from, from a dry bubbly wine to a sweet dessert wine, this grape pairs well with creamy textures. Working particularly well with the flavours of Greek yoghurt, cream cheese or anything cream based, it could easily compliment a cheesecake or yoghurt based pudding. As it works well with creamy offerings, try serving Muscat with a soft cheese board. From brie to camembert, this wine will balance the richness with a soft sweetness that won’t overpower.

What do I pair with Christmas pudding?

When it comes to the showstopper of Christmas desserts, it can be difficult to know what wine to serve. With so many flavours to compliment, look at what elements make up your pudding. Some are much darker and stickier than others, presenting you with two real options for serving. Either embrace the intensity of the dessert and serve something equally dark, such as a Pinot Noir. The fruity flavours are sure to find an equal in the dessert. Alternatively, try something light and fresher for contrast. Look for a Muscat with notes of orange or apricot. This will lift the dessert and counteract the richness of the pudding.

When it comes to desserts, sweet is not the only option. Find a glass that you enjoy and stick to basic rules of serving. Find a wine with complimentary notes to your dessert and bear in mind the darkness of the dessert and grape.