As the holidays sneak upon us, it’s time to start thinking about what you’re planning on serving alongside your fabulous holiday feast. These French wines, complete with food pairings, will get you through Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve without a hitch. Starting off are lighter wines to take you from Christmas brunch through the apéritifs, then the list moves into suggestions for hearty main courses and through to dessert or after-dinner caroling. Whether you’re planning a traditional French Réveillon or a cozy meal with family, these are your French holiday wine picks from Frenchly.
Barton & Guestier Vouvray
This 2021 Vouvray from Barton & Guestier is marked by delicate floral, pear, and peach notes typical of chenin blanc. With a well-rounded flavor profile and refreshing finish, this affordable Loire Valley vintage is well suited to smoked salmon and soft cheese. Save it for a Christmas brunch with Eggs Benedict or bagels with lox and cream cheese.
Gérard Bertrand Organic Orange Gold 2020
Orange wines, traditionally produced in Georgia, have managed to maintain their trend factor over the years, so it’s no surprise that the French would dip their toe into this orange pond. Gérard Bertrand’s Organic Orange Gold 2020 is an affordable and approachable French option for the orange wine lover, with strong notes of Valencia orange, balanced with floral and mineral notes. Serve this as an apéritif along with a cheese platter before your meal (particularly with a matching wedge of mimolette).
Château Haut-Blanville Rosé 2022
The Château Haut-Blanville Rosé 2022 has a bright acidity with tropical aromas and notes of citrus and red fruits. This fun and feisty sparkling rosé from the Pays d’Oc is great as an apéritif, and would pair well with light cocktail bites like shrimp or goat cheese crostinis, or with a salad course for a refreshing beverage at the start of the evening.
Champagne Jeeper Blanc de Blancs Grande Réserve
If you’re looking to splurge on a nice champagne this year, we’d recommend the Blanc de Blancs Grande Réserve from Champagne Jeeper. This iconic champagne house is very nearly a grower’s champagne production (though not officially, due to a small technicality), and their signature Blanc de Blancs is elegant and refined, with a balanced acidity, creamy mouthfeel, and notes of citrus and brioche. Champagne pairs famously well with French fries, so this one would make a decadent latke pairing. But if you start your holiday meal with oysters as many French do, you might as well save the best for first.
Sieur d’Arques Crémant de Limoux Grande Cuvée 1531
If you’re looking for bubbles, but don’t want to shell out for champagne, a Crémant de Limoux from the Languedoc is an excellent alternative. This Sieur d’Arques Crémant de Limoux is effervescent and joyous, with notes of apple, brioche, and citrus. The high acidity in wines of this style make them perfect for pairing with seafood of all types, but they’d also be great with a cheese plate, some latkes, or any kind of apple-based dessert.
Château Tour Des Termes
Château Tour Des Termes is a structured Bordeaux from Saint-Estèphe, and falls under the prestigious Crus Bourgeois du Médoc classification. With notes of cassis, wood, tobacco, and a hint of sage, this wine is a great main course pairing for hearty centerpieces like Beef or Mushroom Wellington, duck, or lamb, ideally infused with a sage butter.
Souleil Vin de Bonté Le Rouge 2022
The French wine brand Souleil is a must-try for environmentally-conscious wine lovers who love a good deal. All of their wines are vegan and organic, and a percentage of their profits go towards ocean conservation. The grapes come from the Languedoc-Roussillon region alongside the Mediterranean, where some of the best value wines of the moment are coming from. Their Le Rouge is an under-$20 favorite with notes of blackberry, dark cherry, and a hint of leather, topped off with a refreshing acidity. This is another great main course pick, excellent for pairing with turkey, brisket, or suckling pig.
Domaine Filliatreau Saumur-Champigny ‘Vieilles Vignes’
The Domaine Filliatreau Saumur-Champigny ‘Vieilles Vignes’ is an organic Cabernet Franc from the Loire, and while this vintage will definitely age well, there’s no reason to wait to open it. Notes of plum and blackberry are underlaid with a distinctive earthiness, with hints of mushroom, graphite, and tobacco. Pair this with a foie gras or mushroom pâté, or a main course of lamb, veal, or pork in a fig or blackberry reduction.
Nicolas Durand Domaine des Bruyères 2020
The fruity Gamay grapes in this Beaujolais make Domaine des Bruyères a great choice for making vin chaud, or mulled wine, ahead of a night of caroling or a snowy walk to see nearby Christmas lights. A strong cranberry finish gives it a holiday edge that will mesh well with baking spices. And if, like me, you aren’t a fan of dessert wines, you can also pair this fresh, light red with a bûche de Noël (especially if it has raspberry jam in it), or jam-filled rugelach and sufganiyot.
Catherine Rickman is a writer, professional francophile, and host of the Expat Horror Stories podcast. She is currently somewhere in Brooklyn with a fork in one hand and a pen in the other, and you can follow her adventures on Instagram @catrickman, or on TikTok @catinthekitchen.