I have just returned from a fabulous 3 day Food & Wine Cruise on board the P&O’s Pacific Jewel where I shared wine and knowledge with guests. its a tough gig but someone has to do it. There were some points from my talks that I said I would share, so here they are.

Wines for Christmas Day

Type of Food What Works Well Suggested Wines Emerging or Less Common Alternatives

Smoked Salmon,


A dry white Sparkling or Riesling

Sauvignon Blanc



Gruner Veltliner

Prawns, Mussels, Octopus’



A dry white with a little more body Pinot Grigio

A cool climate Chardonnay


Sauvignon Blanc




Crayfish A dry white with more body and mouthfeel. A Chardonnay with a little Oak &/or age

Pinot Gris

Aged Hunter Semillon

Marsanne Roussanne or Viognier on their own or as a blend.
Whole Salmon.


More intense whites or lighter reds A dry Rose or a light Pinot Noir Gamay

Sparkling Rose

Ham, Pork,


More intense whites with good acidity

Light reds, lower in tannin.

Viognier, Chardonnay with a little age 3-5 yrs.

Rose or Pinot Noir


A lighter Grenache

Sparkling Shiraz

Duck or Goose Light to Medium bodied reds Pinot Noir

Sparkling Shiraz

Beef Medium to heavier bodied reds, depending on if it is roasted or BBQ’d and the day’s temp.



Cabernet or a blend of both.


GSM (Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre)

Christmas Pudding A fortified dessert wine Muscat or Topaque from Rutherglen
Sherry Oloroso, Pedro Ximinez
Botrytis White Riesling or Semillon
Pavlova or other sweet desserts Botrytis White Riesling or Semillon

Sweet Sparkling/ Champagne

Sauternes (FR)
Fruit based lighter desserts Late harvest whites Riesling


Sweet Sparkling/ Champagne


Sparkling sweet Rose (summer pudding)

Service Temperature for Wines

  • Non Vintage Champagnes : 6-8°
  • Lighter bodied whites and Vintage Champagnes : 8-10°
  • Medium and full bodied whites : 10-14°
  • Rose : 8-12°
  • Light, young and fruity reds : 12-16°
  • Lighter-bodied reds : 14-16°
  • Full-bodied reds : 16-20°
  • Sparkling Red : 6-8°
  • Dessert wines: 8-10°

Remember that in Australia room temperature in summer may be too warm to enjoy red wine at its best. In warmer weather its fine to chill your red wine and take it out of the fridge or off ice half an our before opening.