While most of us have a pretty good idea of what we’re going to cook for the Christmas meal, wine choices often get made during last-minute sweeps of supermarket aisles. To make choosing wine less stressful, bone up on the many varieties of Beaujolais that might be a perfect match for your holiday meal. The light, fruity red wines, best served slightly chilled, match menus all year round but really come into their own during the holiday season.
To warm you up for an evening of carol singing or Christmas card delivering try a light-hearted juicy quaffer from the Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages. Traditional Christmas meals go well with Fleurie a red from a region of France with the same name that means flowery. The wine actually smells of roses, violets, strawberries and cherries. The wine matches all kinds of roast poultry making it a good partner for your big bird.
Other crus with the kind of light, fruity elegance you’ll find in Fleurie include the Chiroubles or the slightly richer Juliénas or Saint-Amour. Their combinations of ripe fruit and acidity go well with a Christmas meal of the rich but fatty roast goose.
If you’re serving up a hearty roast this Christmas, you might choose a richer, heavier Beaujolais crus like Morgon, with its ripe dark fruit and broad-shouldered tannins. Or Moulin à Vent also goes well with roast beef, roast lamb or even game bird or a saddle of venison.
Brouilly is lighter in style than either Morgon or Moulin to partner with more delicate meats, like pork or tender lamb. Vibrant red fruits and juicy, food-friendly acidity make these wines a good match for Boxing Day’s cold cuts.
All Beaujolais wines will benefit from spending an hour or two in the fridge before you serve them – the ideal serving temperature is around 12-14ºC, just slightly warmer than you’d serve a white wine, but definitely chillier than most of us serve our reds. This “chill-ability” also makes these wines ideal drinks for a picnic or a barbecue when summer rolls back around.
Look out for Beaujolais wines in major supermarkets and off-licences.