Pre-dinner drinks are traditionally sparkling, so the first question is rosé or not rosé? The second question is English or not? The list of sparkling options is enormous so you could go for something you really like, or perhaps treat yourself by trading up. For example, if you enjoy the non-vintage from a particular Champagne house, Christmas might be the time to try its Blanc de Noirs or Vintage.
Let us assume that the first course is fish or seafood. With fish or seafood, cooked, smoked or raw, it’s got to be white wine and convention suggests dry white wine, but it is undoubtedly a matter of personal preference.
I must give a shout-out for The Pished Fish, based in Mayfield – its booze-infused smoked salmon is just amazing.
A main course of turkey suits a lighter wine style, but it’s not essential. With all that’s going on from rich sauces, bold brussel sprouts and pigs in blankets, there are a range of flavours that a bold full-bodied red can easily work with. Even with nut roasts there are still a number of strong traditional flavours to take into consideration. But do take into account the number of people and think about trading up to a larger format! Magnums and Double Magnums add to that party atmosphere and you won’t spend half your time taking corks out as the drinking gathers pace.
It’s Christmas so my first suggestion is to go back to Champagne! Try a rosé or a demi-sec, but even the standard brut will match sweet foods. It’s a great palate cleanser, so compliments the food in that remarkable practical way of allowing you to enjoy each mouthful of dessert afresh. There are new sweet wine options to explore, such as Vin Santo from Italy, or some new world wines where you will find the sweetness not so over-powering.
Port and bold reds are the obvious choices, but most cheeses, with the exception of strong, hard varieties are actually better complimented by white wines.
Salt loves sweet. Sweet wines beautifully balance the saltiest cheeses such as hard Grana, blue cheese, aged Gouda, or feta.
Fresh and soft cheeses love crisp whites, dry rosés, sparkling wines, dry aperitif wines, and light-bodied reds with low tannins. Wines with apple, berry, stone fruit, tropical, melon, or citrus flavours work best.
Visit our shop in Royal Victoria Place, just by Santa’s Grotto if you’re looking for last-minute inspiration. We have hundreds of wines available to suit most budgets, so come in and see what we have.