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Fabulous food is the heart and soul of a wonderful Christmas. And with all of the effort that goes into creating that perfect festive feast, it seems a terrible waste not to put a bit of thought into what you’re drinking with it.
After all, the right wines could lift Christmas dinner to a completely new level, while the wrong bottle could go down as badly as a mountain of soggy sprouts. With that in mind, Majestic Wine Dorchester Manager Simon Smith steers you through the season with his pick of wines to complement some classic Christmas and Boxing Day courses.
Dived scallops from the nearby Dorset coast are a real festive favourite at our home. This dry white has enough body to complement the scallops’ texture, without overpowering their delicate sweetness.
Grüner Veltliner 2008, Weingãrten, Weissenkirchen, Austria
From the picturesque Wachau Valley, this has lemon, grapefruit and gooseberry on the nose, with subtle notes of white pepper. The citrus theme continues on the palate, with a fine mineral length and touch of spice on the finish.
Red or white with the turkey? That’s the big Christmas question for many people. The answer’s simple: keep everyone happy with a bottle of both! I’ve chosen a finely textured white Burgundy and a red that won’t overpower the delicate flavour of the meat but can still handle all the trimmings.
Réserve du Bastion Bourgogne Chardonnay 2007, Chanson Père et Fils, France
Pale lemon in colour with a subtle nose of white flowers and citrus fruit. The palate is balanced, with more lemon and citrus flavours, then a fine mineral backbone giving a long, satisfying finish.
Réserve du Bastion Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2007, Chanson Père et Fils, France
Supple and medium-bodied with crunchy yet ripe tannins, this lovely Pinot shows the purity of fruit and elegance of the vintage with a medley of cherry, raspberry and spice on the nose and palate.
I would suggest a relatively rich white to complement the texture of goose. This stunning Côte de Beaune Chardonnay also has the mineral edge to cut through the fattiness of the bird.
Saint-Aubin Blanc 1er Cru 2007/08, Gérard Thomas, France
Largely sourced from the Premier Cru vineyard of Chatenière, this has stone fruit aromas, a nutty complexity and subtle citrus flavours. The long finish is supported by a Puligny-like precision and firm minerality.
Salmon En Croute
This stunning Gargenega from east of Verona flatters the delicate flavour of the salmon, but has enough weight to deal with the buttery pastry.
Soave Classico Suavia 2007/08, Italy
White flowers, citrus fruit and almonds on the nose; on the palate, its rich, fruity characters are balanced by a fresh lemon acidity.
Christmas pudding is a bit of a blockbuster, so try pairing its dried fruit flavours with the sweet, raisined fruit of this sumptuous Aussie sticky
De Bortoli Show Reserve Liqueur Muscat NV, South Eastern Australia
Classic rancio aromas of figs and sultanas alongside coffee and caramel. The palate’s packed with dried fruit and raisins with a luscious texture that coats the mouth without being cloying.
Hard cheeses and mature cheddars demand something full-bodied and red. This has all the dark juicy fruit and velvety tannins needed to deal with those strong flavours.
Stump Hill Shiraz 2006, McLaren Vale, Australia
A premium Shiraz offering up intense bramble, plum, spice and mocha notes, a palate of ripe black fruits and velvety tannins.
Sweet wines and blue cheeses are a classic combination. This is one of the best, with the weight, texture and sweetness of the Sauternes providing the perfect foil for the creaminess and savoury characters of the cheese.
Castelnau de Suduiraut 2006, Sauternes, France
Sweet spice, candied peel and dried fruit aromas jump out of the glass. On the palate, a seam of acidity underpins the sweet ripe fruits to balance the sumptuous mouthfeel.
Did you know?
There is a fifth taste sensation (after sweet, sour, salty and bitter). It’s called ‘umami’ and it describes the savoury, ‘brothy’ taste that occurs naturally in protein-rich foods like meats, mushrooms and dairy products. It’s the umami quality of blue cheeses that makes them work so well with sweet wines.
Having been lucky enough to have tasted at this Domaine in September, I couldn’t look past this beautifully crafted, refreshing Burgundy as the perfect partner for rich, fatty duck. If you’re going specifically for wild duck or mallard, I’d go for the ‘Clou d’Orge’, which gains greater depth and structure from older vines and which we stock in small amounts.
Ladoix Rouge 1er Cru ‘Les Corvées’ 2006, Domaine Chevalier, France
Well-balanced and showing great finesse, with dark cherry and blackberry aromas and hints of oak on the nose and palate, supported by ripe, velvety tannins.
The sweetness of a glazed ham needs a fruit-driven wine that’s also fresh enough to deal with the slightly salty character of the meat.
Yering Frog Chardonnay 2007/08, Yarra Valley, Australiatles
The ripe citrus and tropical aromas of this cooler climate Chardonnay continue on the palate which is fresh, intense and beautifully framed by subtle French oak.
The Boxing Day cold meat platter cries out for a refreshing, light to medium bodied red with bags of juicy fruit, such as this Gamay from one of the best known Cru villages in Beaujolais.
Moulin-à-Vent 2007/08, Château de le Terrière, France
Fragrant, with dark cherry notes leading to a structured, well-balanced palate with loads of dark berries and more cherry fruit. The finish is pure Burgundian elegance.