Top Tipples to Add Some Sparkle to Your Christmas Party

A presentation at Corney & Barrow by Emma Young

Christmas is the season of indulgence, and it is the perfect excuse to enjoy plenty of your favourite treats such as rich foods, delicious hot chocolates and other sumptuous, seasonal treats. Something that is sure to be high on your list of Christmas essentials is a few good bottles of wine. 

Wine is the perfect companion for whatever you’re getting up to this festive season. If you are snuggling with a good book on the sofa then a glass of wine will go perfectly, or if you’re enjoying dinner with friends or family then you will want to make sure you have plenty of wine to go around the table. 

Choosing the right wines for every Christmas celebration or everyday occasion can be a little tricky. There is conventional wisdom that can be used to guide your decisions, but when it comes to wines it is all about personal preferences. This is true when it comes to wines for yourself, but when you are buying wine as gifts or to cater for a group occasion, then you will want to look for something a little more crowd pleasing yet luxurious. 

Wines for a date night

Date night with your partner should be a cosy and romantic affair, and over Christmas the dark evenings call for candles and a rich red wine to go with your deeply savoury dishes. Beef dishes flavoured with garlic, mushrooms and onions are perfect with a deep rioja or a nice pinot noir. Lighter dishes like chicken and fish are great with a lightly acidic cabernet sauvignon or a crisp chardonnay. 

If you want something with some sparkle, a dry prosecco is gorgeous with most date night dinners, especially lighter foods, or as an aperitif or accompaniment for your dessert course. Other sparkling wines can add a different dimension to your meal and are an indulgent treat to share with someone special.

Wines for a party

Choosing wines for a party can be tricky because you want to choose something that people will enjoy, but you also want to choose something that is unexpected and will be appreciated for its complexity and luxury. If you really want to wow, choose something like a Champagne or a fine red or white vintage. The trick to choosing something that is more than your everyday bottle of wine is to look for a time tested favourite, or to look to the small batch vineyards for something more unusual. 

If food is being served at the party you will want to choose wines that pair well with the menu. To keep things simple yet highly enjoyable for your guests, look for classic pairings that will enhance each course. Generally speaking, pair red wines with heavier meat dishes. The richer the dish, the richer the wine will need to be so the flavours aren’t lost on the palate. Lighter dishes, fish dishes and salad courses are generally best served with a crisp white wine that is of a similar flavour intensity to the food being served. 

Wines as gifts

If you know someone well, the chances are you will have some idea of what kind of wines they prefer. Even if you only know their preferences on red or white, this is a good starting point for you to go on to help you choose a gift. Wine preferences are very personal and there are thousands of different kinds of wine, ranging from sweet, syrupy dessert wines to full bodied reds, to crisp, dry whites. Generally speaking, a medium bodied red wine or a dry, citrusy white are good options that will be appreciated by most wine drinkers.

If you are struggling, or have a bigger budget for a wine gift, you might like to choose a hamper of different kinds of wine. There are lots of different suppliers and you will be able to choose from a variety of wines ranging from everyday table wines to special edition, vintage bottles. Some wine hampers are curated collections that are designed to showcase the very best of a certain kind of wine or as a representation of a particular vineyard’s offerings. Others are chosen along other themes, or you can put one together yourself.