Christmas Day wine ideas for blushing pink prawn starters

I’m keeping everything simple for my Christmas Day wine countdown. If you’re into off-the-wall Christmas Day menus then you won’t find a wine and food matching pair here.

My menu? A glass of fizz.  Then into a seafood starter such as a prawn cocktail, or my favourite … flash-fried Thai prawns. Then moving on to turkey and the trimmings, then Christmas pud and cheese.

Then more fizz?  Well, why not.

Let’s start at the beginning and prawns. Well, I tell a lie. Because breaking news straight off the shelf this week as the International Wine Challenge awarded medals to supermarket own-brand wines.

Marks & Spencer Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico

Top of the bunch was M&S, which scooped 73 gongs, including five gold medals. A particular judges’ favourite was Marks & Spencer Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico 2013 (£8). You know what? It would be amazing lightly chilled with a Crimbo Day seafood starter.

If you want a sparkle to start your Christmas Day then another Gold medal winner is Tesco Finest Vintage Grand Cru Champagne 2007, (RRP £24.99).

Tesco Finest Grand Cru Champagne
Tesco Finest Grand Cru Champagne

Don’t you worry on the sparkles front, I’ll give you lots more ideas before the Big Day.

Prawns, they’re gentle little things. If they were on a Christmas party dance floor they’d be doing that left to right foot shuffle, but they come into their own with a pizzazz of spice or creamy Marie Rose sauce. Then they raise the level to a bit of a hip wiggle.

On Christmas Day I’ll be sticking to whites so not to overpower their blushing little souls. But if you never touch a white, and it’s a red you want with your prawns, then seek out a fruity Beaujolais or a light pinot noir.

Christmas Day wine: Coates and Seely Brut Rose NV
Coates and Seely Brut Rose NV

But what’s this? More sparkles? Yes. Any excuse. Why not go for a sparkler with your seafood starter. Pink to make your eyes blink with delight. Coates and Seely Brut Rose NV ( £25, winetrust100.co.uk)  scores a whopping 97 out of 100 from the site’s masters of wine. It’s made in the same way as Champagne, but I love, love, love the fact that this English wine is labelled Methode Britannique.  Red berries, strawberry ice, dry, gorgeous, and a perfect Christmas treat and flirtatious match to prawns.

Freeman’s Bay Marlborough Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, Aldi
Freeman’s Bay Marlborough Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc

If that’s too much for your budget, then Freeman’s Bay Marlborough Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Aldi, £9.99) is exactly what it says on the vin. Sauvignon blanc, and sparkling too. If you love sauv blanc then you’ll love this; a lifting lime-edged sparkle at less than a tenner to go with your prawns.  My friends loved it. I know this because they “aaaahed”and then went quiet for a while.

Oh, come on then Janey. What about some other whites then? Well. Varieties I would recommend … a bright and lively vermentino or picpoul de pinet.

As I write, I’m sipping a picpoul from the Co-op, Truly Irresistible Picpoul de Pinet 2013 (£6.99) which is green apple-fresh with an easy squeezy swish of lemon to finish.

Christmas Day wine: Green Fish Verdejo
Green Fish Verdejo

Or try a crisp, characterful Chablis .. or a Verdejo …  a racy little Spanish number I discovered at a recent tasting  is Green Fish Verdejo (www.oddbins.com, £6.75). Zingtastic and worryingly moreish. Good price too.

Staying in Spain, Albariño  is one of my favourite favourites. It’s a Spanish grape grown in the north west of the country, near the sea, which is bang-on appropriate for prawns. Tesco finest* Albariño (£7.49) has light subtle creaminess speckled through with pears.

From the Wine Society, a blend of chardonnay and sauvignon spangles in the form  of Domaine du Tariquet, Côté Tariquet Chardonnay-Sauvignon (£8.50). Sherbert lemon and hints of stone fruit rise from the glass, mouth-watering citrus and grapefruit.

If your tastebuds need a weary Christmas Day nudge then this vibrant delight would come along and before you know it the prawns would have moved on from a hip wiggle to a full-on jive.

This first appeared in the saturday extra magazine December 6, 2014 

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