Christmas Food and Wine Pairing: Best Combinations

Hear from Wine Ark’s Head Keeper of the Bottles John Cuff ahead of wine lovers’ favourite season.

Christmas Food and Wine Pairing: Best Combinations

It’s that time of year! While planning the festive menu for family and friends, the age-old question arises – what wine do we serve with turkey?

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to pairing food and wine, but there is one phrase to keep in mind – “always match like with like.”

Light foods work best with light wines, and heavier foods work well with heavier wines. In its simplest form, that is about it to food and wine pairing.

But if you’re interested in delving deeper into specific matches, here are a few of my personal favourites to inspire your Christmas wine list.

Christmas Food and Wine Pairings


Is there anything that epitomises an Aussie Christmas more than fresh, local tiger prawns? Our family favourite includes placing them on fresh bread rolls with a touch of home-made mayo.

Complement this dish with a glass of Sparkling or a Riesling. If you are looking for French, Roederer Brut Premier NV is by far my personal favourite – clean, elegant and with a great acid line to combat the fats from the mayo and prawns.

If we are buying local, the multiple award-winning Swift Sparkling from Orange in NSW is my go-to or a lighter style of Tasmanian bubbles.

These cool climate regions produce brilliant sparkling wine. You could also go for a Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc from Adelaide Hills. Why Adelaide Hills and not NZ? Less punchy, tropical, grassy notes.


If you head down the smoked salmon route with the classic dose of dill, capers, cream cheese and bread, you can’t go past a good Hunter Semillon, Clare Riesling or Bubbles.

If you prefer to sear your salmon on the BBQ, look for a cool climate Chardonnay (Yarra Valley), or if your salmon is en papillote (baked) with herbs and citrus, opt for a Sauvignon Blanc.

Bold reds will destroy the flavours, but if it must be red, look for a lighter style of Pinot Noir.


If you’re a traditionalist and love a good old glazed ham, Australian Shiraz is a brilliant match to the sweetness of the glaze.

Other good options are a McLaren Vale Grenache or GSM. Like it lighter? Pinot Noir is your best bet.


Nothing beats the intoxicating aroma of a turkey crisping in the oven. In Australia, turkey at Christmas means Sparkling Red, if you’ve never tried it – you must!

This iconic Australian beverage brings out the richness of the meat, whilst providing a perfect synergy with the cranberry sauce.

Other bottles to line up include a fuller Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or an aged Barolo. You can also move towards older aged Shiraz as the tannins are softening with some retained sweetness.


If you have room left for fruit pudding, a small glass of Rutherglen Muscat can work a treat.

For something a little lighter, try botrytis Semillon (classic sticky) or if you are rocking the classic Aussie pavlova, don’t go too sweet – late harvest Semillon or Riesling are brilliant.

Managing Your Collection

Wine Ark

If you find that you have over catered in the drinks department, we have a solution to keep your favourite bottles in perfect condition until next year or your next excuse to drink them.

Wine Ark offers secure, conveniently located, climate-controlled wine storage – we can even deliver your bottles to you when you’re ready to drink them.

Book now in one of our cellars in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Sunshine Coast or Perth and manage your festive wine collection with ease.

Subscribe to our Blog

View the privacy policy.