The top 10 wines to drink this Christmas
PUBLISHED: 14:47 18 December 2017
Jeremy Dunn, chief wine tutor at Norfolk Wine School shares his festive wine wish-list and explains what will work best with turkey and all the trimmings.
‘Tis the season to be jolly, and to keep your festiviies full of cheer, a selecion of wines that’s versatile enough to met every occasion is key.
For a party red or white it’s hard to beat southern Italy for quality and value. Norfolk Wine School’s favourites are the Triade Rosso (red) and Triade Bianco (white) both £8.79 at Waitrose. A couple of easy-drinking crowd pleasers that are a cut above your average party plonk.
The are both made with the local Italian grape varieties and are packed with fruity flavour.
On the day itself it’s nice to kick things off with some fizz. To go with canapes or a smoked salmon starter try a sparkling rose. Bouvet Saumer Rose Brut NV, £12.99 at Majestic Wine won’t overpower lighter nibbles and its acidity cuts through the oiliness of smoked salmon.
For my pre-dinner tipple I’ll be opening a bottle of Italian Lugana 2016 ‘Il Gruccione’, Nunzio Ghiraldi, Lombardy, £12.99 at Adnams. It’s a very elegant and beautifully textured wine with piercingly bright stone fruit flavours.
Turkey is a light white meat and has a low fat content (which is why it can dry out easily) so it’s important to get the right balance in your wine. A full-bodied white wine with a bit of oak, or a light to medium-bodied red wine will both work well, as long as the red doesn’t have too much tannin.
This is where Chardonnay comes into its own. One my my favourites is from Argentina - Catena Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2016, Mendoza, £13.99 at Majestic Wine. It’s a creamy, concentrated wine with ripe fruit, a touch of vanilla and is more than a match for turkey and all the trimmings.
If you prefer a red then try Escarpment The Edge Pinot Noir 2016 from Martinborough in New Zealand, Waitrose £14.99. It’s rich and silky with crunchy redcurant and ripe cherry fruit, which is delicious with turkey, savoury gravy and sweet cranberry sauce.
If you are serving beef, or your guests want to try something a little different, then I recommend Morellino di Scansano 2015, Serpaia, Maremma, at Adnams, £11.99. It’s an Italian red made with the Sangiovese grape and has plenty of ripe black cherry fruit, spice and good acidity, making it a very versatile food match.
With the traditional desserts of Christmas pudding, Christmas cake or mince pies, the complex and nutty, mature dried fruit flavours of Taylor’s 10 Year Old Tawny Port, widely available £20, are wonderfully complementary. Serve it lightly chilled for a refreshing finish to your meal. For a more traditional dessert wine to pair with cheesecakes or creamier desserts try Cabidos Vin Doux, Cuvee Saint Clement, Petit Manseng 2014 50cl £9.95 from The Wine Society.
With salty blue cheeses, Port creates a sweet contrast. Remember your Port etiquette. Always pass the drink around the table to the left, and never let the bottle rest on the table until the last glass has been poured.
This year try something a little different, The Bishop of Norwich Cape Blend from South Africa, £22 at Harper Wells in Norwich. It’s named after a former bishop of Norwich, beleived to be Henry Bathurst, who held the post from 1805 until his death in 1837 and was often accused of hogging the Port. It’s made in South Africa (so it can’t be called Port which has to come from the Douro Valley in Portugal) but is made with the same grape varieties and then fortified to create a Port-style wine with silky smooth, rich red fruit. It’s superbly satisfying and a great way to finish your Christmas meal. Merry Christmas!