How to Match Wine with Christmas Lunch

Learn more about the best wines to drink over the festive season, with these tips from Jeff Long, Food and Beverage Manager at Bimbadgen in the Hunter Valley.

1) What are the best wines of the season?

Summer calls for lighter styles of wines due to the Australian heat. Some great examples for summer are.

• 2010 Bimbadgen Estate Semillon, with lifted lime and lemon zest – a refreshing summer wine
• 2009 Sancerre, Le MD de Bourgeois, Henri Bourgeois, with tropical fruit, flint and a clean mineral palate
• 2011 Bimbadgen Ridge Rose, a great example of a fresh, vibrant and refreshing rose
• 2007 Domaine Tempier Bandol Rose, a complex Rose of stone fruits and redcurrants

2) What’s a great drink to have on special occasions over the festive season

You can’t go past bubbles during the festive season.

On Christmas morning while the kids are opening their presents. I like to have a Bucks Fizz, a half/ half mix of freshly squeezed orange juice and Bimbadgen sparkling Semillon and on special occasions I love to open a bottle of Vintage Champagne, a 1988 bottle of KRUG from Reims is perfect, this wine is complex and the delicate bubbles tease the palate and beg for more.

3) What are the best wines to match with Christmas lunch?


I like to start with a Sparkling Rose with canapés. Bimbadgen’s Sparkling rose is like drinking strawberry’s and cream with a dry finish. You need to start with a wine that opens your palate, so you can enjoy the flavours of the courses to follow.

Oysters and Seafood

With Oysters and Seafood, there is a famous saying in the Hunter “Seafood and Semillon”, so you really can’t go past a young Semillon with oysters, prawns and sashimi.

• 2011 Bimbadgen Estate Semillon is fresh, fruity, citric and with great acid.
• 2009 Chateau La Freynelle, Entre-deux-Mers, from Bordeaux is good example of a French Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc with excellent fruit and a lean crisp finish.


Seafood with more depth like lobster, Fish and Balmain Bugs require an aged Semillon or Riesling.

• 2007 Bimbadgen Signature Semillon is developing well and has some nutty characters and is textural on the palate.
• 2003 Josmeyer, Grand Cru “Hengst” Riesling from Alsace has a rich apple nose and tight acid to break down the fibres.

Turkey, Ham and Pork

Turkey, Ham and Pork deserve a rich Chardonnay, Condrieu or Red Burgundy

• 2000 Batar Querciabella, Chardonnay from Tuscany is one of my favourites. It has depth, creaminess, buttered toast and complexity.
• 1998 Condrieu ‘La petite Cote’ from Cuilleron is an amazing Viognier with rich apricot and other stone fruit, perfectly balanced.
• 1992 Vosne Romanee ‘Les Suchots’ 1er Cru, Mongeard- Mungneret needs no explanation, its just beautiful.

Christmas Pudding

Christmas pudding needs a fortified wine and 2 really good examples would be:

• Bimbadgens NV fortified Verdelho is rich and nutty
• Sanchez Romate PX Cardenal Cisneros Sherry, this is Christmas pudding in a glass.


Chocolate is easy and requires a heavy Red with depth and length.

• 2007 Bimbadgen Bald Crusader is a perfect match to any chocolate and is matched at Esca Bimbadgen with a de-constructed Cherry Ripe from the dessert menu.
• 2006 Bodegas Roda ‘Roda 1’ Tempranillo, Rioja, Spain is a rich overzealous wine with great tannin and spice.

4) What drink do you recommend we leave out for Santa?

Santa needs something sweet and I recommend a bottle of 2006 Bimbadgen Estate Botrytis Semillon or if you want a Ferrari for Christmas the next year, a bottle of 1988 Chateau d’Yquem.

Here are a couple of delicious recipes to try from the Esca Bimbadgen Winery Restaurant menu -

Seared Scallops, Escabeche Of Vegetables, Gazpcahio Sorbet

Strawberry and Sparkling Rosé Semi Freddo

5) What’s happening at Bimbadgen over the Christmas period?

Esca Bimbadgen is embracing the festive season and Executive Chef Ebonnie Newby has created a Christmas Degustation beginning with a complimentary glass of Bimbadgen Sparkling Rose to excite some Christmas cheer, followed by 3 courses to delight your senses. Choose to match your meal with Bimbadgen Wines and indulge in a complete food and wine experience. Cost: $65 per person or $80 with wine match.

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