If you’re starting to plan your menus for the festive period, why not allow us to give you some special wine recommendations that are guaranteed to make the occasion all the more memorable.
Whether a luxurious brunch of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon or pre-festive meal canapés of smoked salmon and cream cheese blinis, a top quality Loire Sauvignon Blanc like the Pouilly-Fumé ‘Argile á S’ Bouchié Chatellier makes a big impact. This property sits right next door to arguably the best producer of the Pouilly-Fumé appellation, Didier Dagueneau, and is a gem in its own right. The soils here are quite unique with a high concentration of flint (silex) in the soil, which lends the wine a rich, gun flint minerality adding great complexity to the refined fruit that cuts through the oily salmon like a hot knife through butter.
If you plan to serve a dressed poached salmon, the more delicate flavours along with a touch of dill are a perfect match for Tenuta Olim Bauda’s Gavi di Gavi DOCG. From the best-rated vineyards in the heart of the commune of Gavi, Olim Bauda produce their Cortese grapes organically and make a beautiful fruit and floral expression of one of Italy’s finest white wines.
A glazed gammon or ham on the bone is another Christmas staple that compliments poultry, especially for a cold cut supper. A fabulous Spanish twist to this old classic is to make a spiced membrillo (quince paste) glaze like the one on BBC Good Food’s website (https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/spiced-christmas-gammon-membrillo-glaze).
Served warm with dauphinoise potatoes and garlic roasted greens, this would be complimented perfectly by the rich Amarone della Valpolicella Classico by Cantina di Negrar. The sweet Morello cherry and chocolate combination with silky tannins along with the 15.5% alcohol make this a powerful wine without overpowering the food.
Mushroom Wellington/Nut Roast en Croûte
There are some equally delicious vegetarian options that shouldn’t be overlooked. Packed with flavour and texture, these will impress the meat eaters as much as the non-meat eaters amongst the family.
Michelle Alston behind ‘the last food blog’ has created two great recipes, one for a twist on the famous Wellington using mushrooms instead of beef (https://www.thelastfoodblog.com/mushroom-wellington/) and the other a show-stopping variation on the traditional nut roast (https://www.thelastfoodblog.com/nut-roast-en-croute/).
For these dishes, we recommend going all out for Domaine Larue’s Saint-Aubin 1er Cru ‘Les Champlots’. This classy white burgundy shows the complexity and elegance that old vine Chardonnay can achieve when in the hands of talented winemakers like brothers Didier and Denis Larue. Using just enough oak to add another layer of texture to the wine, this will make an unforgettable meal.
Turkey or Goose
If you’re fortunate enough to have secured a turkey this Christmas, it’s likely you’ll have a tried and tested recipe to produce that perfect roast on the big day itself. All that’s left is to find the perfect wine to pair with it. The aforementioned Saint-Aubin will make a heavenly pairing but equally delicious would be a silky, perfumed Pinot Noir like Rully 1er Cru ‘Clos du Chapitre’ from Domaine Jaeger-Defaix.
Hélène Jaeger-Defaix tends her 40 year old vines organically, making red burgundy with great purity, balance and length that drink beautifully in their youth.
If goose was to be this year’s substitute for turkey, the Rully would again work brilliantly as the juicy acidity would cut through the fattiness in the meat.
Pheasant & Partridge
With a plentiful supply of game birds this festive season, the options are endless from warm partridge/pheasant breast salads to a coarse pâté to a show-piece roasted bird in a bird. The Saint-Aubin would again make an ideal partner for the salad. The pâté and roast would need something heftier and richer so the Amarone would make an ideal choice or how about a classic red Bordeaux like Château Gaudin AC Pauillac 2003.
2003 was a super-hot vintage and turned out deliciously ripe Cabernet-based wines. Gaudin is a small family-owned property that focuses on Cabernet Sauvignon with a little Merlot, Carmenère, Malbec and Petit Verdot, and comes from the famous commune of Pauillac, home to 3 of the 5 top first growth Chateaux. With 18 months ageing in new oak barrels adding a subtle cigar box spice component, this wine is now in its prime drinking window.
A slow-cooked joint of beef or rich, short-rib stew with creamy mashed veg can make another great alternative to poultry without losing that touch of opulence. This level of richness needs something equally robust yet silky like Luis Canas’ Rioja Reserva. Rather than play around with single bottles, why not treat yourself to magnums instead. They not only look more impressive on the table but they always show better as they’re the optimum size for aged wines and this 2013 vintage is absolutely on point for Christmas.
After the disappointment of last year, 2021 will be the year to go all out and celebrate in style. If you’d like more inspiring ideas, please do get in touch and we’d be delighted to help e: email@example.com t: 01756 748855