Choosing the right wine to accompany Christmas meals is a key point to succeed this holiday season. We often associate the price of wine with its quality, but this correlation is not always so clear.

To choose the right wine it is important to take into account our tastes and the type of food we want to accompany, that is, the pairing.
Here, from Cuina Canela Fina we explain some tricks to improve your pairings and create special gastronomic experiences:

What is food pairing and how can it improve a meal?

Pairing is the process of combining food and drink, wine in this case, in order to enhance the positive characteristics of both products. There are two main types of pairing:

  • By affinity. In this type of pairing, aspects such as flavor, aroma and color of both the beverage and the food are aligned. The key is to identify similar flavors and sensations and provide a link between them. An example would be a dish cooked with rosemary and a wine with rosemary notes.
  • By contrast. The aim is to find the balance between the drink and the food, compensating the excesses and deficiencies of both. An example would be blue cheese and sweet wine.

What kind of food can be paired with the main styles of wine?

Below, we present, in broad strokes, the main characteristics of each type of wine and some pairing possibilities.

Red wine usually has different shades of red or even purple. The color can vary according to the grape variety used, the winemaking process and the age of the wine. It has a wide spectrum of aromas: fresh fruit, flowers, herbs, wood, among others. Acidity is a key component in red wine, as it provides freshness and/or balance.

It could be said that there are four main categories of red wine in our country, taking into account the time of aging and aging. The classification would be: Vino Joven (3-6 months), Crianza (6-24 months), Reserva (3 years) and Gran Reserva (5 years). Even so, it depends on the region of origin of the grapes.

Rosé wine is a type of wine obtained from black grapes. Its pink tone will depend on how long it has been macerating, that is to say, how long the grapes and skins have been in contact before fermentation to achieve the color, aromas, etc. They are usually macerated for a few hours.

There are a great variety of types of rosé wine, depending on the grapes chosen or the process carried out for its elaboration.

These wines have a soft and light taste, with fruity and floral aromas, for this reason, it is considered a versatile wine. However, here are some general guidelines for pairing a rosé wine.

White wine is made from white or red grapes that are pressed without the skins. Unlike red wine, white wine is fermented without the skins, so it lacks color. It is also a lighter wine.

These wines can also be classified according to their elaboration and aging (young, barrel-fermented and crianza). Even so, the main classification of these wines is made according to the level of sweetness present in the wine, which will fit better with one type of dish or another.

White wine combines perfectly with white meats or stews, fish, cheese, olives or fruit. It is also your perfect ally for starters or appetizers and even for your desserts.

What are the main pairings for Christmas meals?

Christmas appetizers:

Many Christmas menus begin with some light starters to whet the appetite, such as salads or canapés. The best option would be to accompany them with a white wine. If the starters include cold meats or cheeses, it would be better to combine them with a full-bodied red wine. Depending on the intensity of the cured meats, the classification given above should be taken into account; the more intense the flavors, the more aged wine will be necessary.

First courses:

In these Christmas dates, some of the most typical dishes are broths and soups. If the preparation of these dishes is with meat and/or vegetables, the best combination will be to accompany them with a young red wine. But if the first course includes soft creams or cannelloni with bechamel sauce, the best choice will be a fresh white wine.

Fish and seafood:

The best ally for seafood and fish is almost always white wine.

Even so, if you are going to serve seafood with intense flavors, such as lobster or red shrimp, it could be interesting to pair it with a crianza red wine. And as for fish, if it is a fish with a strong and characteristic flavor, such as salmon or tuna, it could also be accompanied with a young red wine or a crianza.

Meat dishes

Traditionally, meat dishes have always been accompanied by red wines. Even so, it is necessary to identify what type of meat is involved to find the best pairing and which wine fits according to the aging.

If the meats are poultry, they are usually combined with soft red wines or even a white wine could be used. If the meats are small game or pork, we will tend to pair them with a crianza red wine. Finally, if it is a recipe with red meat or big game meat, the wine that will most enhance its flavor will be a reserva or gran reserva red wine.


Desserts are the ideal opportunity to surprise, so it is vital to take into account the degree of sweetness of the wine and the type of dessert. As a trick, we recommend that the darker the color of the dessert, the darker the wine should be. For example, vanilla desserts with white wine or chocolate desserts with red wine. It could also be a good option to use a sweet wine.

In summary, for Cuina Canela Fina the knowledge of pairing in reference to Christmas meals is essential for the creation of an unforgettable meal this holiday season. The pairing of a Christmas menu is just one example of how we can enhance the positive characteristics of each food or dish that is served or cooked. Knowing the wines and their possible pairings always creates a more complete gastronomic experience.

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