Wine that goes with anything: bottles to match the whole Christmas meal

If you’re into pairing wine with food, you probably like the idea of finding a bottle that will sing with a particular dish or course. For me, that’s part of the fun of planning a meal, but I accept that at Christmas it may be a hurdle too far. So why not relax, just pick a wine you like and drink it right through the meal? Easier said than done, admittedly, especially if there’s a crowd of you, all of whom are likely to have different preferences (although they could always bring along their own bottle, couldn’t they?). But it really makes sense if there are just two or even one of you.

If it’s got to take on all comers, what type of wine should it be, though? Some are more accommodating than others. I wouldn’t go for a wine with an outsized personality, such as gewürztraminer or amarone, and expect it to go with everything. But smooth, creamy whites such as unoaked chardonnay, Gavi di Gavi and pinot blanc are pretty easy-going, while Alsace pinot blanc, in particular, is a much underrated white that can easily do duty for a white burgundy; oaked white rioja is useful, too, and well priced.

Reds are also a matter of taste, and I’d opt for a light red such as a pinot noir, rather than a full-bodied one, because it can happily handle fish and salads as well as meat-based meals. One of my current favourites is the Bobo cabernet franc bag-in-box in this week’s pick – it isn’t cheap, true, but it is organic and I like it so much that I’ve been drinking it with practically everything in the week or so since I opened it. Another variety you may not have come across is mencia, a grape from northern Spain with a similar bright, breezy character to beaujolais.

And why not rosé, come to that, because it’s not just a swimming-pool wine? Provence rosé, in particular, is popular with just about everyone, and even if you balk at serving it with the turkey, it will work fantastically well with the leftovers or any other cold spread. If the Château de Berne Cuvée Or in my pick has sold out, which is very possible with Waitrose’s £10 offers, the Co-op’s very decent Irresistible Provence Rosé 2022 (13%) is currently on a deal at £9.50 in store.

Finally, if you feel like splashing out, champagne goes with practically everything. Shop around for a deal – at this time of year, the supermarkets are falling over themselves to lure you through their doors – but Aldi’s Veuve Monsigny (£14.99, 12.5%) and Lidl’s Montaudon Champagner (£14.49, 12%) are both reliably good value.

Five bottles (and a box) to take you through the meal

Schlumberger Pinot Blanc 2019 £12.95 in larger Co-op stores (£13.75 online), 12.5%. Cut-price alternative to white burgundy.

Château de Berne Cuvée Or Provence Rosé 2022 £10 (on offer, down from £15.99) Waitrose, 12.5%. Classic, pale, crisp Provence rosé on a very good deal. Cool-looking bottle, too.

M&S Creation Pinot Noir 2022 £13 (on offer), 14%. Gloriously silky, burgundy-style pinot from South Africa.

Château de Parnay Blason 2021 £46 for 2¼ litres Bobo Wines, 12.5%. Irresistibly fresh, easy-drinking, light red from the Loire.

Viore Mencia, Bierzo 2021 £10.99 Adnams, 13%. If you love beaujolais, you’ll love Spain’s vibrantly fruity mencia. A real crowd pleaser.

Gutter & Stars All My Friends Chardonnay 2022 £33 , 13%. Absolutely stunning English chardonnay made, would you believe, from grapes grown in Essex’s Crouch Valley. One to tease your wine snob friends and relatives with (and to drink with some posh seafood).