Drink up it's Turkey time!! But what should we be drinking?
An aperitif literally means to prepare your stomach for food, so they key factor to remember is to stay light and not fill you up.
I would opt for a classic Champagne cocktail, a sugar cube soaked in angostura bitters, add a little cognac and top up with champagne, failing that perhaps try some Limoncello in the base of your glass and fill with Prosecco.
Its easy to head for a wine that we know we like for Christmas Day, its all to do with keeping it simple and staying the in the comfort zone, however all that prepping and effort that goes into the food and festivities deserves a little consideration, don’t despair though, the choices can seem overwhelming but they are not, stick to the basics of the chosen grape variety and we will have you paired in no time.
We all know that turkey is a white meat with a low fat content, meaning that it can dry out if not cooked correctly.
Wines to match should ideally be either a full bodied white wine like a Chardonnay or a medium bodied red, with a low-med tannin and fairly high acidity, like a good Bordeaux.
Pinot Noir always comes up by wine experts in a natural pair for Christmas Day lunch, keep the choices bold, the lighter wines will only be overpowered. Old world wines are the best ones to go for.
One must always take into account the fact that also on the plate is more than likely to be a a whole lot of fat, those roast potatoes need that goose fat to taste so darn good, this can give that harsh feeling of tannins in the mouth, the saltiness of the turkey can make tannins taste more bitter too.
Be aware of choosing a wine with too many oak characteristics, a mature Rioja could be a wonderful and relatively good value choice.
A ‘Puligny Montrachet’ is a good safe bet, with the high levels of acidity and mineral undertones in the wine this can really help cleanse the palate, meaning all those extra trimmings will be a delight to taste.
Dinner is over and you are feeling like a change of drink might be welcome but what to chose…. Well this all goes down to what you are eating for pudding…. A little bit of everything I hear you say….hmmmmm…. Slightly more tricky.
Let's be honest, a glass to two of bubbles is welcome at any point over the festive period. A Sparkling Moscato can go easily with nibbles before lunch but equally good with a heavy Christmas pudding, the textures are a wonderful contrast.
If you are going for cakes then a Sauternes or Semillon are a great match, the flavours of sweet biscuits, honey and dried fruit really bring out the syrupy feel to the mouth.
For Christmas Cake, why not try a Eiswein, salted caramel notes with a strong citrus really bring out many of those ingredients that go into Christmas Cake.
Parfaits and mousses go extremely well with a Riesling, opt to go for the sweeter side if you can.
Did someone say Sherry? Fortified wines are rich in themselves and are best reserved for later in the day when the big feast is out the way, if you feel like a nibble of chocolate or perhaps, toffee or caramel these go hand in hand. White chocolate and and nuts go brilliantly with a sweet sherry.
Christmas Stollen or marzipan or anything with Almond flavours are a match made in heaven with Tokaji (its said to be the worlds oldest sweet wine), whilst a little unknown, it is becoming more widely available in more and more shops.
At the end of the day, no doubt Christmas will be great, its been a tough year for all, any decision you make in regards to what drinks you suggest will be gratefully received, it does give a little something to bluff about whilst asking someone to pass the devils on horseback over!......
Merry Christmas everyone.