Perfect wines for lunch on December 25

Perfect wines for lunch on December 25
Perfect wines for lunch on December 25th

Festivities might be very different this year, but at least there are some wonderful wines we can raise a glass to absent friends and families with. Focusing on the main course and toasting both classic and more left-field matches, I’ve selected several irresistible ideas to help light up your Christmas…..

1) Pedro Ximénez sherry (probably the world’s sweetest wine) or liquid Christmas pudding!

Co-op Irresistible Pedro Ximénez Sherry, Emilio Lustau, Jerez, Spain (Co-op, £6, Alc 17%, 37.5cl)

Richly layered with plenty of satisfying dried figs, raisins, caramel, liquorice, cocoa and toasted coffee, this dark, thick, gloopy, sweet elixir will make palates dance when paired with blue cheese, Christmas pudding, chocolate brownies, dark chocolate or poured over vanilla/dark chocolate ice cream. Serve lightly chilled in a white wine glass. Made from wine aged for around 12 years in the solera system, this hidden Co-op gem punches well above its weight.

2) Crisp and bright purse-friendly bubbly from France’s fashionable & mountainous Jura

Specially Selected Crémant du Jura Chardonnay 2018, France (Aldi, £8.49, Alc 11.5%)

Champagne is festive, but so too is English bubbly, Cava and also Crémant. There’s nothing quite like the sound of a popping cork to get you into the party mood. Like Iceland’s Maison de la Rougerie, Crémant de Bordeaux (£8.75), this Aldi cracker is consistently one of the best budget traditional method sparklers on the shelves, with crunchy orchard fruit and citrus flavours. Just the sort of zesty, crowd-pleasing inexpensive fizz that everyone needs in reserve this winter. Ready to roll. 

3) Luxuriant, versatile & rich Sicilian white to line up alongside the turkey & all the trimmings

Nero Oro Grillo Appassimento 2019, Sicily, Italy (£8.99, mix six, Majestic, Alc 13.5%)

Dreaming of a white (wine) Christmas and cooking turkey, goose, salmon or veggie dishes? Look no further. Grillo, a natural white Sicilian crossing, is a delectably different candidate for Christmas lunch. Intriguingly, this one is partially made by means of both ‘appassimento’ methods of twisting the bunches on the vine in mid-August and then leaving the grapes to dehydrate naturally in the vineyard. As with Amarone, Recioto and Sforzato, here they were dried on mats for around 15 days, losing around 10-15% of their original weight. Expect bright acidity and lashings of upbeat yellow peach and exotic orange fruit, plus hints of citrus blossom, thyme and grapefruit, fleshed out with a honeyed and gently spicy finish. Buone feste!

4) Have yourself a Kékfrankos Christmas with a red from Hungary’s Mediterranean corner (& most southerly wine region), Villány

Kékfrankos Reserve Heumann 2016, Hungary (£14.99, The Wine Society, Alc 14.5%)

If you want a free-spirited turkey showstopper try this lively, organically farmed red from the great German / Swiss-owned Siklós estate in Hungary’s southernmost wine region. One of the country’s finest red cultivars, kékfrankos is a direct translation of blaufränkisch, the early budding and late ripening dark-skinned variety that likely originated in today’s Slovenia. This one delivers lacy tannins, plus layers of black cherries, blueberries and plums with a soupçon of eucalyptus and vanilla, decorated with a necklace of piquant acidity. Neatly played, bright vinous excellence, this is a stellar non-mainstream red to pour with turkey – and rather canny buying too, I might add. It’s also just the ticket with beef stroganoff and goulash. Decant it to bring out the lovely aromas. Refreshingly elegant.      

5) Fruity & Moreish Bruce Jack-In-An-Eco-friendly-1.5L Box!           

Bruce Jack Chenin Blanc 2020, bag-in-a-box 1.5L, Western Cape, South Africa (£10 until 2.1.21, then £13, Tesco, Alc 13%)

A first for the innovative team at Bruce Jack Wines, this fully recyclable 1.5L boxed white, is a seriously appealing, joyful even, chenin at a rather juicy price. It was designed to be both practical (as the contents have a longer life than an opened bottle) and have much lower carbon emissions than glass. All poached apple, ripe pear, melon, beeswax, lemon curd and pineapple scents, it’s perfect with turkey, veggie curries, soft cheeses and Asian foods. On the offer this is a steal that’s certain to capture that comforting tree-hugging feeling too.

Or if you don’t like wine but love beer why not try this?

Brouwerij De Koninck ‘Bolleke’ Antwaarpse Pale Ale, Belgium (£2.29-£3.80, Beer Sniffers/Beers of Europe/Noble Green/Fuggles Beer Café, Alc 5.2%, 330 ml)

The ‘King’ of Belgian beers pairs brilliantly with roast turkey and all the trimmings. Flagship material for Saaz hop devotees. Antwerp in a bottle and available to order in from the Tunbridge Wells branch of Fuggles (‘Bolleke’ is the famous bowl-shaped glass.)

Follow James @QuixoticWine



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