Your Christmas Party Dinner – How to Pair Wines
You voted and we listened! You picked wine as your tipple of choice going into the festive period, so we asked some of our fantastic in-house experts to share their insights on the best wines to pair with your Christmas party feast. With these recommendations, and Karen Poynter’s tips for the perfect Christmas party dinner, you really can eat, drink and be merry!
Toasting and General Merriment – Sparkling Wine
Joanne Allen, General Manager at Clothworkers’ Hall adores one of our favourite sparkling wines: Nyetimber Classic Cuvée Brut from West Sussex, a 2009 vintage. Whether you’re having canapés, nibbles or just raising a toast to 2014’s successes, it’s sure to be a big winner with your friends and family.
It is a beautiful blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, with rich stone fruit flavours, an attractive texture and a fresh delicate finish. It’s available from Waitrose cellar for £23.99 has been voted better than some of the household named champagnes, and it’s a vintage!
A Smoked Salmon Starter – White Wine
Suzy Khan, from our team at Stationers’ Hall, has been a wine superstar ever since her days here at the ITA* head office. We asked her for her recommendations to match a classic smoked salmon starter.
I would recommend a Chablis to go with a smoked salmon starter. It’s a burgundy but it’s crisp, flinty and dry and would complement the fish well because it is sharp and cuts through the oiliness of the fish. The Chablis that I would recommend is the Domaine Louis Robin, France, 2012 which is a popular wine from our list.
You could almost believe that this cracking wine was a Premier Cru. A modern, voluptuous wine packed with fresh fruit layered with minerals and spice giving it a fantastic smoky finish.
A good dry French Sauvignon Blanc would also work. One of my favourites is a Sancerre. The Sancerre Blanc 2013 Domaine Vacheron is a great wine to go with a smoked salmon starter. It is fabulously aromatic with lovely gooseberry fruit flavours. You can get it from Majestic wines for £17.99 a bottle.
Roast Turkey and all the Trimmings – White or Red Wine
Steve Matthews, from our team at the Royal College of Surgeons, is well known for his passion for wine. We asked him for his thoughts on pairing wines for the main event.
If it’s going to be turkey with all the trimmings you’ve got to make sure you’ve got a wine that will be big enough for the Christmas bird!
For those of you white wine lovers, go for a wine that will stand up to the full flavours of a roast turkey, chipolatas and rich gravy. A Chardonnay that has rounded buttery flavours and a little oak age will be lovely but may be as it’s a Christmas party a little splurge to lovely Burgundy would be my first choice.
Viré-Clessé Vieilles Vignes 2013 Christophe Cordier is a smashing example of long finshing, slighty toasty oak aged white Burgundy. A perfect Chardonnay to wrestle with the turkey! £14.99 a bottle it’s a nice treat to put on the table and will get you some brownie points with the in-laws!
For those red wine lovers you’ve got a few to go for! The trick is to pick a wine with low tannins so either a nicely aged wine off your rack at home that’s been buy cheap clonazepam online aging quite softly or a wine that naturally produces less tannin. My first choice off the shelf would be from one the Rhone and this great Crozes-Hermitage at £11.99 per bottle is from one of my favourite producers. Syrah is dominant from around this region and it gives a lovely pepper note with black cherries and dark fruit a perfect balance with roasted Turkey lunch!
Desserts and Cheeseboard – Sweet Wines and Port
The team at Chester Boydknow attention to detail from the beginning to the end is crucial for a perfect event. It’s no surprise that Sarah Pittaway, Director of Operations, has the perfect match for your Christmas pudding and chesseboards. What better way to round off your feast?
By this stage of Christmas party Day, everyone is generally quite full of both food and drink so it is important to have a lightness of touch when selecting your wines to have with dessert or cheeseboards.
When it comes to dessert, the fruity spiciness of a Christmas pudding goes very well with any number of wines and you have a good range of choice.
My first suggestion is Muscat Beaumes de Venise which is £7.99. This classic dessert wine is lighter on the palate than some of the other Muscats as, thanks to the production process, it has less residual sugar. This means it is the perfect Christmas party dessert wine.
As with most dessert wines, Muscat Beaumes de Venise has strong notes of tropical fruits such as passion fruit, stone fruits such as peach and apricot, as well as the sweet citrus of orange. You will also detect honey and rose petals both on the nose and palate.This wine is also the perfect partner for a ripe stilton.
For my second suggestion, Decanter Awards Gold Medal winning De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon is an Australian dessert wine packed full of sweet, warming flavours for £19.99 a bottle. For a dessert wine it is relatively low in alcohol at 10.5% meaning there is more residual sugar and thus it has a more lush and decadent feel.
Cheese and wine pairing depends so much upon what cheeses are on your cheeseboard, but because it’s Christmas I will assume stilton. It should be borne in mind that many dessert wines will go very well with strong blue cheeses such as stilton.
Port is the obvious choice and really is for the hardcore Bacchanalians amongst you a tawny port is probably best with stilton as it has a fruity richness that will blend perfectly with the tanginess of a ripe stilton. Although it pushes up the price, it is best to go for as old as you can afford and 40 years is best with 30 years being very good and 20 years old still being of a lovely quality.
For those of you who cannot quite face the port but want something red, a Shiraz is the best wine accompany a stilton, with high acidity and tannins to balance the tangy fruitiness of the cheese, the black fruit flavours will compliment your cheese perfectly.
This blended Châteauneuf-du-Pape ‘Cuvée des Antiques’ 2012, £17.99 a bottle, has a full bodied flavour that will work well with the stilton but the blend allows for a lightness that makes it more suitable for the final course of a Christmas banquet.