Wines to drink with turkey curry – Christmas leftovers

Fiona Beckett talks through wines to drink with your turkey leftovers after the big day, including how to go about pairing wine with turkey curry.

In Brief

  • Aromatic white wines with turkey curry: Think Viognier or Clare Valley Riesling

  • Chardonnay or South African Chenin Blanc with creamy dishes

  • Cold turkey with pickles and chutney deserves ripe, New World Pinot Noir or Spanish Bierzo

  • More food and wine pairing guides on

Full guide

As anyone who has ordered an outsize turkey will know, leftover turkey can go on for days but what wine should you pair with its different incarnations?

Wines with turkey curry

Curry it and you’re in a different register wine-wise. If you crave the zesty flavours of citrus and spice after days of rich eating you’ll also no doubt fancy a brighter zestier wine.

For me that means an aromatic white – something like a Viognier if you’ve given the turkey the korma treatment, a Clare Valley Riesling or Marlborough Pinot Gris if you’ve taken it more in a south-east Asian direction with a Thai green curry. Strong fruity rosés can handle a fair bit of spice too.

Going cold turkey with wine

Cold Boxing Day turkey is undoubtedly the simplest and the least demanding way you’ll serve it unless you go into overdrive with the pickles and chutneys. Without them you should enjoy a youthful red Burgundy or cru Beaujolais.

With them that had better be a riper, more robustly fruity Pinot Noir from, say, California, Oregon or New Zealand. Or, if you want to break out of the classic mould something else exuberantly juicy like a Mencia from Bierzo or an Austrian Blaufrankisch.

Turkey in a creamy sauce

Smother it in a creamy sauce as in a turkey pot pie or that rich retro favourite turkey divan and I’d go for a subtly oaked chardonnay or rich old vine Chenin Blanc from South Africa. Chardonnay, as I’m sure you all know, loves cream.

Hashing it together…

And with a turkey hash? Well if you’ve jambalayed it up with a bit of spice and sausage back to the reds I reckon. A simple Syrah or a young Rioja should do nicely.

The golden rule

As with so many other dishes it’s the flavours you put with turkey, a relatively characterless meat on its own that dictate the match.

For more of Fiona’s recommendations visit her website

Editing by Chris Mercer. Wine recommendations updated December 2017. 

Wine ideas for turkey leftovers