Drinks for the big day

Christmas day is growing ever closer (happy Christmas eve eve!) and you should be thinking about chilling those white wines. I’ve already covered aperitifs (Philippe Michel Crémant du Jura Sparkling Chardonnay with orange juice while we open presents? Be rude not to), so it’s about time we got stuck into Christmas dinner…

To accompany your prawn cocktail/ smoked salmon starter

Here you will need a crisp white wine such as Marks & Spencer’s enticing Cuvée Ressac Picpoul de Pinet 2010. I love this grape variety – it’s fresh, versatile and a real crowd-pleaser. For £7.99, it’s pretty good value too!

Tasty with turkey

Red or white? I say both! Pinot Noir and Burgundy would be the obvious choices, but (ever the Spanish wine fan) I recommend you try Rioja with your turkey and all the trimmings.

Gran Reserva Rioja wines are made with the finest grapes, are aged for at least five years, and are ideal for special feasts. Berberana Gran Reserva Rioja D’avalos, made from the Tempranillo grape, is silky and smooth, not too heavy and perfect for serving with turkey. Last time I was in Tesco, I stocked up on this wine as it was half price at £7.59 per bottle.

In terms of white, try an oaked Rioja such as Muga Blanco 2010. The buttery texture is dreamy with roasted vegetables and it makes a refreshing change from Chardonnay. You can usually get your hands on this wine for £8.99 when you buy 2 bottles or more bottles from Majestic, however it looks like they are out of stock! Instead, grab a bottle of Cune Barrel-Fermented Rioja 2009 from Waitrose Wine Direct.

Dessert wine

It has taken me a while to appreciate dessert wines, but in the right context, with a large bowl of pud, Tesco’s Muscat de Beaumes de Venise is full of sweet honey and juicy apricot flavours. Grab a half bottle for just £4.75, chill well and sip alongside chocolatey desserts.

If dessert wines aren’t your thing, serve Harveys Bristol Cream over ice with a slice of orange. The flavours of candied orange, dried fruit and toasted almond in this sherry will go perfectly with a mince pie or bowl of Christmas pud. Harveys is priced at £9.04 and is widely available across the UK.

Cheese board

Cheese and port go hand-in-hand (what’s not to love in that combination?) and Dow’s Master Blend Finest Reserve Port is half price at just £6.29 at Tesco (can you tell I shop in Tesco?!) Although it’s not the ‘finest’ port available, it has rich black fruit flavours on the palate, with a creamy mint chocolate element to it. Ideal with soft mild cheeses or chocolate truffles.

If you prefer a weightier cheese on your plate, try Aldi’s Bushland Premium Estate Barossa Valley Shiraz with a wedge of salty blue. Priced at just £4.99, this red is spicy and easy on the palate.

Any room left?

If so, I salute you! Treat yourself to a measure of Baileys Biscotti. Richer than your average, I doubt you’ll manage more than a thimble-full, but this creamy liqueur is warming with a subtle hint of almond. Baileys Biscotti is available in various supermarkets for £14.95 per bottle.

If you want me, I’ll be lounging on the sofa. Merry Christmas!


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Filed under Matching Wine with Food, Taste Test

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