Wine tastes better when drunk with food and food is more enjoyable when eaten with wine. If you do not believe me try this safe experiment in the comfort of your own home.
Pour yourself a glass of wine, red or white, and cut yourself a piece of cheese. Have a good swig of wine to get a sense of its flavours and textures, have a bite of cheese and then another slurp of wine. I bet the wine tastes better.
There are scientific reasons for this, which I wont bore you with now but food and wine are a perfect match. At this time of year it is worth taking more care with wine buying especially for Christmas dinner.
What is eaten for Christmas dinner varies from nation to nation in Europe. In general some kind of poultry is consumed; turkey in the UK, goose in Germany and meat in The Netherlands. Scandinavians eat a fish dish called lutfish and there are many other regional variations. Also there are many options for starters and desserts. Bearing this in mind I will focus on what I have to eat at my mother-in-laws! There are, also, some simple guidelines to follow which do not require us to spend more money or be seduced with the many Christmas specials on offer in shops and supermarkets.
The most important thing is to drink what you like rather than stick with the so-called fish/white wine meat/red wine rule. Having said, the so-called rule is a reasonable one to follow, because in general those wines do enhance those types of food. The meal normally starts with an aperitif to whet the appetite. If nothing particular springs to mind a fino sherry or a brut nature Cava makes a good beginning.
It is also worth noting that both drinks can be drunk all the way through the meal; they are, after all, white wines when you think about it.
My starter is usually prawn cocktail made with marie-rose sauce and with this I would suggest a white from Rueda made either from the Verdejo or the Sauvignon Blanc grape. A Chardonnay from Navarra or Penedes is another option.
With the main course, it depends on what you are having. For white meats such as turkey you could continue with the white or maybe try an oaked Chardonnay or switch to a light fruity red such as a joven Tempranillo. Ham would go well with the Rueda wines already opened. If the meat is darker, then a red crianza would be good and a Priorato such as Nita would be perfect.
If there is a cheese course (there always is at my mother-in-laws) for a change try it with white wine or a dessert wine rather than the traditional red wine or port. You will be pleasantly surprised.
Finally, with the Christmas pudding or dessert try a sweet Malaga wine such as a Reserva de la Familia Moscatel or a really sticky Pedro Ximenez with the same name from Lopez Hermanos.
Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Frohe Weihachten! God Jul! Vrolijk Kerstfest! Joyeeux Noel! Nollaig Shona Dhuit! Hauskaa Joulua!