The best wine for turkey is Burgundy, but Chardonnay gets the nod over classic match Pinot Noir, a Decanter panel has decided.

Decanter expert Fiona Beckett and a panel of critics and wine professionals, including Rowley Leigh, chef-proprietor of London’s Le Café Anglais (sold in 2014), conducted tests to find the best wine for turkey Christmas dinner at the Goring Hotel in London.

In a surprise result, the winner for both turkey and for vegetables and other trimmings was a Chassagne Montrachet 2004, Les Chenevottes 1er Cru, from Jean-Noel Gagnard.

The ‘shock conclusion’ was that this ‘fine, minerally Burgundy’ went so well with the bird, both brown meat and white, Beckett said.

‘It not only held its own, but brought a refreshing lift to what is always an incredibly rich meal,’ she added.

Another shock was that the perennnial favourite wine for turkey, Pinot Noir, and other reds, fared relatively poorly.

The panel chose seven reds and one white for the test; wines that they thought Decanter readers would be most likely to field themselves.

They included a Châteauneuf du Pape, a claret –  Branaire Ducru 2000 vintage, Felton Road’s Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2010 from Central Otago, a St Emilion, a Volnay and a Seghesio Zinfandel from Sonoma.

‘The Volnay proved overwhelmed by the food…and the Felton Road tasted overpoweringly sweet’ and the Zinfandel and St Emilion were ‘knocked sideways by the stuffing and gravy,’ Beckett said.

Whether readers will be able to go against a century and more of tradition and serve white Burgundy with turkey is another question, she added. ‘But you can – and should – offer them a choice.’

(Editing by Chris Mercer)

Updated on 21 December 2015