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Best wines to pair for Christmas lunch by top sommelier

Planning the best Christmas Lunch or dinner can be a tricky and a tall order, however, if your menu is sorted and you looking to pair it with the best wine, why not take suggestions from Best Wine Sommelier in the country, Wikus Human? 

Human was awarded the accolade in 2021, and is the head sommelier for The Marble Group. He has assisted us with his top suggestions for the best wines to pair with your Christmas lunch or dinner menu. 

Best wines to pair with Christmas lunch and dinner

Meat: Gammon

Wine: Red Wine, lighter reds such as Pinot Noir or Cinsault

Reason: Human explains that reds tend to have higher acidity which cut through the richness of the gammon. “Gammon lends itself to white meat, similar to poultry, so you don’t want to overpower the flavour of the meat with the body or tannin of the wine.”

Top sommelier Wikus Human. Picture: Supplied

Wines to choose from: 

Crystallum Petermax Pinot Noir

Waterkloof Seriously Cool Cinsault

Meat: Lamb

Wine: Red Wine, Medium-bodied reds such as Merlot or Syrah.

Why: The top sommelier says medium reds tend to have a medium body and tannin. “Christmas lamb roasts normally differ quite a bit from traditional lamb cutlets as the roast tends to render all the fat.

“An overly heavy wine is not needed to stand up to the fat, opting for a more medium-bodied wine will be much more suitable not to overpower the lamb.

“Because lamb roast tends to have a lot of spices and herbs it can influence the choice of wine, “so medium-bodied, old-world Syrah’s would be a better fit,” Human says.

Wines to choose from:

Almenkert Merlot

Keermont Syrah

Meat – Turkey

Wine: 2White Wine or MCC

Reason: “If you are deep frying your turkey, MCC would be a great pairing. If you are roasting your turkey, a wooded chardonnay will lift the complex textures of a turkey, while a fresher style of chardonnay will offer a more delicate mouthfeel for the lighter turkey meat.”

Wine or MCCs to choose from

Colmant Brut Reserve

Vergelegen Premium Chardonnay

Bouchard Finlayson Sans Barrique

Meat – Beef

Wine:  Red Wine

Reason: For this meat, it depends on the cut of the beef. Human says, “for leaner cuts, a lighter or medium-bodied red such as Pinot Noir, Merlot or Syrah will be more suitable not to overpower the flavour of your beef. For fattier cuts, perhaps look at a full-bodied red such as Cabernet Sauvignon where the tannin will soak up all the fattiness and richness of the meat”.

Wine to choose from:

Uva Mira Merlot

Gabriëlskloof Syrah on Sandstone

Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon

Meat – Chicken 

Wine: White Wine

Reason: “An oaked Chardonnay or aromatic white wine such as Viognier will pair well with the buttery crispy chicken skin and compliment the spices and stuffing of the chicken. Very important to not serve these wines too cold, as these wines tend to do better at a slightly warmer temperature.” 

Wine to choose from:

Groote Post Kapokberg Chardonnay

Lismore Age of Grace Viognier

Best wines to pair with Desserts

Festive desserts vary from the traditional fruit pudding or Christmas cake to South African favourites malva pudding, peppermint tart to trifle.

Human suggests Dessert wine Natural sweets or straw wines will work well with most desserts. “The most important rule for pairing dessert wines with desserts is to try and match the sweetness level of your wine with your dessert. 

“Be careful not to have an overly sweet dessert wine to avoid an overly sweet finish to your meal.”

He says for chocolate rather pair it with Ruby ports and sweet cherries.

Wine choose from

Keermont Fleurfontein

Mullineux Straw Wine

Boplaas Ruby Port



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