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Matchmake this Christmas with perfect food and wine pairings

07 DECEMBER 2012

Christmas is a time for family and friends, fantastic food and wonderful wine. Everyone has their own traditions, with old favourites and a "must have glass" before, during or after dinner but, for most, Christmas revolves around luncheon.

To make your festive feast one to remember we have put together a guide of wines to serve with each course during the day, so pop on the paper hat from your cracker and listen up.

 

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Smoked Salmon
This isn't a hard one, in fact most people reading "smoked salmon" will have said that it's got to be NV Champagne, especially Blanc de Blancs. Champagne is generally a blend of three grapes: Pinot Noir (red), Pinot Meunier (red) and Chardonnay (white). Our pick is a style made only from the white Chardonnay grape, which gives lovely citric acidity which is perfect for cutting through the smokiness of the Salmon.

Other wines that would work: Chablis, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, even a light malt whisky! Our pick: The award winning NV Henriot, Blanc de Blancs


Turkey
This big bird with the traditional British accompaniments of bread sauce and chipolatas is lovely with a Pinot Noir or aged Bordeaux. Stay away from tannins in young Cabernet or Shiraz. Tannins are responsible for the drying sensation in the mouth that some red wines create that make your teeth stick to your lips. If your turkey is still not fragrant enough with the addition of cranberry sauce then go for a big, fruity red (but still with medium/low tannins) such as Pomerol or St-Emilion. For white lovers get stuck in with full bodied Chardonnays of Burgundy or the New World.

Other wines that would work: Chilean Merlot, Californian Zinfandel, white Burgundy.
Our pick: Massale Pinot Noir, Kooyong, Mornington Peninsula 2011


Goose
This luxury bird has a lot of oil and fat so needs a good amount of acidity and tannin to cut through. Red Burgundy, Cabernet Franc or a fine Barolo would all be at home here. White lovers should go for an aromatic Riesling or Gewurtztraminer.

Our pick: Barolo Sorano, Ascheri, 2008


Christmas Pudding
The flaming centre piece. Let this light up your table and use it as an excuse for sweet wine. Australian Muscat is a winner, with a dark, deep colour followed by sweet toffee and nut flavours which perfectly compliment the contents of the pud. Hurrah for getting to this stage of the lunch, that sugar hit is what you need to battle onto cheese and Christmas games after lunch. Other wines that would work: Muscat de Beaumes, Tokay or Mosacto d'Asti.

Our pick: Rutherglen Grand Muscat, Chambers Rosewood NV

Cheeses
You’re nearly there and an assortment of cheeses come out decorated with a bunch of grapes. The bad news is there’s no one wine to match every cheese, so you’ll have to try them all:
- Hard cheese such as Cheddar goes magnificently well with juicy, ripe fruit and smooth tannin so a young Port, Southern Rhone red or Southern Italian reds are the way to go.
- Soft cheese such as Brie would get lost with a bottle of Port or red wine so I hope you’ve kept some of the acidic white back from the smoked Salmon because Sancerre or Riesling is your friend here.
- Blue cheese can be overpowering for some people, but a little sweetness can make this a heavenly end to the meal. Look for Sauternes, Tokay and of course, the famous Christmas Port.

Our pick: Quinta Do Crasto, Vintage Port 2008

With thanks to Harry Fawkes from Great Western Wines

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