Festive wines to enjoy with your Christmas Day meal

Sacchetto Moscato IGT Veneto NV

PRESENTS bought? Wrapped and under the tree? Thinking of the Christmas meal and festive wines? Well I’ve not done the presents thing – but I’m well on with the drinking thing. Let’s go.

Guests arrive. Sacchetto Moscato IGT Veneto NV (www.nakedwines.com £10.99 or £7.99 if you’re an investing Angel).The wine notes describe it as tasting like liquid lemon sorbet and they are not wrong. It’s like a weak cider meets 7Up with little alcohol taste at all (it is, after all, only 7% abv so a gentle start to Christmas Day).

While it may be too sweet for some palates, as an aperitif as the presents are opened, it could work wonderfully. If you want soemthing with more oomph, then Taittinger Brut Reserve NV (save £10 at Sainsbury, it’s £26.99 until Christmas Eve) is a pin-bright fruit-soft Champers with a famous label to impress guests.

Go fruity for the Christmas feast with a glass, or two, of this robust red Sainsbury’s Barbera D’Asti 2011 (£7.99 and two for £12 until January 1st). Its cherry and vanilla flavours are like a liquid Bakewell Tart and it’s a good bottle to uncork when people come calling to drop off their pressies. Worthy of a toast to Santa.

The contrast between sweet and sour is a big part of the traditional Christmas dinner, with its mix of flavours like cranberry sauce with turkey, or parsnips with sausage and bacon.

Frog’s Leap, a 2010 Napa Valley Zinfandel (Asda, £19.99), is an excellent companion to this festive blend. It’s packed with summer fruit flavours that hint at sweetness but stop short of being too jammy – like the best cranberry sauces.

But it’s no lightweight, either – with 13.8% alcohol, it still has plenty of depth and character to cut through savoury tastes like that rich turkey gravy.

Kaiserstuhl Pinot Noir 2008, Christmas wine
Kaiserstuhl Pinot Noir 2008

My Christmas Day favourite is pinot noir. Gamey mushrooms and a rain-dripped woodland are on the nose in a bottle of Kaiserstuhl Pinot Noir (£13.95 www.thewinesociety.com). This German pinot from the heart of Baden has a classy red fruit and cherry taste with a finely balanced acidity. Perfect whether you’re having turkey, goose, beef or maybe all three.

Beringer Founders Estate Chardonnay 2011 (£11.99, Majestic) has 14% abv and isn’t backward in coming forward with its oak-infused notes. But it’s not overbearing for all that and I likened it to a Masterchef pudding to drool over. Fresh fruit in layers of vanilla with a buttery honeycomb topping. Not too weighty for the sweet scrummy side dishes of lemon-sizzled sprouts (yum) and caramelised roasted carrots.

Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis 1er Cru Vaulignot 2011 (£16.99 www.virginwines.co.uk) is a white which can move effortlessly from a seafood starter to the main event and deliver on all counts. Crisp, dry, with both citrus and stone fruits.

Asda Extra Special Barolo is reduced from £15 to £11, and an IWSC Silver 2013 award winner to boot. Produced from Nebbiolo grapes in north west Italy, this ruby red wine is strong on the nose with a hint of cherry. Since the turkey is still on order I drank it with a Sunday roast chicken. This robust red is not for the faint hearted with a flavour that lingers on the palate. It was too strong for the chicken and would be better suited to earthy Boxing Day red meats.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Published in the saturday extra magazine December 14, 2013

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express

Perk up your Christmas leftovers with a drop of wine

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Touraine Sauvignon Blanc

PHEW. That’s that for another year . . . now, what to do with the Christmas leftovers in the fridge.

If you don’t have some turkey or sad sprouts staring at you when you reach for the milk, I’ll eat my hat – if I wasn’t too busy eating what’s left of my Christmas ham.

I’ve bought some pomegranate seeds to perk up my turkey in a pilaff – with cook book guidance from Nigella – and I’ll be sipping a crisp sauvignon blanc.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Touraine Sauvignon Blanc (£8.49) is from Touraine, in the Loire Valley – more commonly known for SB from the appellations sancerre and pouilly-fumé. The grapes are grown on clay and chalky soils which bring a flint- sharp edge to the classic flavours of gooseberry, apple and citrus zests. Refreshing, dry and pale straw, it has a restrained nod of fruit to brighten up your turkey.

The Co-op also has a Loire SB worth seeking out, Sancerre Domaine Raimbault 2011 is reduced by £3 to £9.99 until January 1. It is made to the north of Sancerre and has a well-defined, but subtle sauvignon fruit character and a refined mineral edge. Try a sauvignon blanc with those sad fridge- imprisoned sprouts, but not before you perk them up with a buttery, black- peppered flash in a frying pan – with a squeeze of lemon.

Muscadet Sèvre-et- Maine sur Lie, Domaine des Ratelles, 2011 (£6.50, www.thewinesociety.com) is another Loire white, light-bodied with a gentle citrus and green apple background. As it has been on the lees, it brings a hint of creaminess. Pour a glass, then make linguine pasta with ribbons of smoked salmon tickled with dill and a whizz of lemon and creme fraiche – or any light-ish cream Auntie Bessie didn’t devour.

I’m eyeing up a viognier to drink with the leftovers of my ginger- beer soaked, apricot-jam baked ham.

F Stephen Millier Angels Reserve Viognier 2011 (from £6.99, www.nakedwines.com) is a delicious, full-on Californian glug of peaches and cream in a glass. Or try Zilzie Viognier which is on offer at Asda for £5.48 until January 3.

If your ham simply needs cheese and bread to satisfy, then seek out a Bordeaux blend.

South Africa’s Vergelegen Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot / Cabernet Franc 2009 (RRP £10.99 Majestic) is medium-bodied with a smooth and spicy mix of berries on the nose and the palate.

Now we’ve emptied the fridge, let’s think of 2013.

For party-time bubbles, Morrisons Cava Rosado, from north-eastern Spain, is on offer for £4.99 from £7.49. It’s a pink to drink with pals, with strawberries fizzily flirting in your mouth – it has won a bronze Decanter award, too.

Stay in Morrisons for Decanter silver award winner Pongracz Brut (£13.99) a stylish South African chardonnay and pinot noir sparkler. It’s a delicious mix of apple and buttery pastry, like an apple choux bun of moreishness to sip and sip some more.

Finally, once Big Ben has sounded, raise a glass of Taittinger Brut Réserve NV (RRP £37.99 Tesco, Majestic, Sainsburys and Waitrose).

This is the signature cuvée of Champagne Taittinger and is made with 40% chardonnay with the grapes coming from prime vineyards. It has a fresh nose with typical hints of biscuit and brioche, but it has lingering levels of vanilla and stone fruit, too.

All the best for 2013 from me and mine to you and yours – chink chink.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.