At any time of the year, discovering special wines and matching food is a tricky subject as the choice of taste, and what goes with what, ultimately comes down to personal preference.
So instead of me prescribing certain wines for drinking/pairing with your Christmas dinner this year, I’m going to suggest some alternatives that might add that something special.
Before I start I want to make two points that are important to me.
- Shop Local and be Independent.
This year, please shop local and remember all the independent wine retailers out there. At this time of the year, you will find many discounted deals on the traditional pairings of wines and foods. All I want to say is your local wine merchant is somebody that you can trust and is one who genuinely wants you to have the best wine experience possible. They are the ones that will stock the special wines.
And while tastes change and rules are there to be broken, quality should never be compromised – James
- Think About the People You Will be Sharing Your Wine With.
This Christmas, if you have a relative or old friend dining with you who only drinks say, Chardonnay – with everything – well then so be it. Don’t try and persuade them otherwise just because you got a bargain buy at the local convenience store.
Just make sure it’s a special Chardonnay that they can really enjoy. In fact, spending money on a good or unusual red wine for your guests will be a waste of money. What’s my point? Think about the people you will be sharing wine with this Christmas and ‘love the wine they’re with’.
That being said – all I will offer by way of a caveat is that the stronger the food flavours the harder it is to match a wine. Never fear though – myself or Donal here in Green Acres are always available to advise when looking for specific pairings or special wines.
As I alluded to above, the drinks I mention below are not intended to be prescriptive. While you may not have similar tastes or agree with all the pairings, I want to share them with you and hope there is some food for thought here.
While wine tastes change and rules are there to be broken, quality should never be compromised - #greenacresirl
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Special Wines on Christmas Day.
Everybody loves that sense of occasion that Champagne (or any other sparkling alternative) brings but sometimes people serve it too warm. Alternatively, if Champagne is chilled too much, you’ll miss out on delicate flavours and aromas. Cool it in the fridge for 3-4 hours or in a bucket of ice and water for 15-20 minutes.
By the way, so as to avoid shooting the pet with a cork travelling at 25 miles per hour, be careful how you open the bottle.
After removing the wire cage or “muzzle,” grasp the end of the bottle in one hand and the cork in the palm of the other hand. Twist the bottle and then tilt the cork slightly to release pressure from the bottle. Sip while exchanging gifts.
If pre-noon is too early for all those bubbles just add a little orange juice (Bucks Fizz). This will take away any hint of tartness. If your Christmas morning includes a swim, you brave people might indulge in a hot port or whiskey to warm up afterwards. If I was so brave I think I might like a Pineau de Charentes as it is far less alcoholic than say a whiskey.
If your morning has included sweets, biscuits or such nibbles and palates need to be refreshed, try a Blanc de Blanc Champagne, a dry Sherry, or a gin and tonic, (Green acres Irish Gin, of course).
A lot of people will stick to the traditional Chablis white wine with the starter. Particularly, if your starter is seafood, might I suggest an Albarino from North West Spain. If it’s a spicy salmon, for instance, try a Gewürztraminer from Germany.
Other options would be a dry white from Bordeaux, (Green Acres own label, Sauvignon Blanc is an option) or a light, fruity Pinot Gris from Italy. If you’re not having white wine at all, try a light red from Burgundy (Macon region) or a young Rioja from Spain. For something a little heavier in the mouth, try a Barbara d’Alba from North West Italy.
I could write a full blog post just on matching Christmas Dinner with various wines. But I will just say that depending on whether its chicken, turkey and ham, guinea fowl or goose it is usually best to match your wine with what else is on the plate rather than just the meat.
For the reds why not try either a Rhone Valley (Gigondas or St Joseph) or perhaps a quality Chateauneuf du Pape (please don’t compromise on quality – it’ll make all the difference to your experience of these wonderful regions). Some people swear by Bordeaux reds so I would suggest 2005, 2009 or 2010 all of which were excellent years.
For the whites, I would suggest staying in the Rhone Valley or maybe push the boat out and go for a Meursault from the Côte de Beaune in Burgundy.
Dessert and Cheese.
At this stage, it would be a good idea to refill the water jugs and even go for a short walk to aid digestion. When you do get around to having a dessert, it is not necessary to serve a sweet wine with it. Why not try a Port or PX Sherry instead.
I could write a full blog post on cheese and wine pairing but I found this infographic which explains it a lot quicker than I could:
After coffees, and later in the evening you’ll find people usually resort to their drink comfort zone be it wine, beer, spirits, water, tea and other non-alcoholic beverages. For me, I like to finish the day with a lovely glass of Armagnac, Cognac, or an aged Irish Whiskey, such as Green Spot, Middleton or Red Breast etc.
In fact, if Santa or any of my family are reading this and are wondering what to buy me this Christmas – a bottle of any of the latterly mentioned drinks would be just perfect. I do have enough socks thank you.
Hopefully, some of my thoughts above will help you choose your special wines for Christmas Day. If you need to see some prices – here is a special wine list we have put together just for this month – have a browse. If you’re still undecided please just pick up the phone, drop us an email or better still, pop into the shop for a chat.
On behalf of Donal, Paula, myself and the Green Acres team may I take this opportunity of wishing you and yours all the compliments of the Season, a super Holiday and an even better 2018.
If you would like to receive future articles from us just click here, or on the red subscribe button up on the right-hand side of this page.
We look forward to engaging with you again in 2018 – Cheers, James
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