BryonySmithIt’s the time of year to get together with friends and family to enjoy some great company, food and wine. For Bryony Smith, Manager of Majestic Wine Abingdon, half the fun is in selecting the perfect wine to go with the big-day banquet. With so many different flavours and palates to cater for, it can be a tricky process. Fortunately, there are some classic combinations you can always fall back on and here she reveals more…

Smoked Salmon

Smoked SalmonIf, like us, you serve your smoked salmon with black pepper, granary bread and a lemon slice, the Pouilly-Fumé ‘Las Cascadelles’ has a flinty minerality and intense aromatics that marry the smoky fish and citrus flavours wonderfully. Or you could try something more unconventional, like Prinz von Hessen’s dry, refreshing, green-apple-and-lime-laden Riesling Kabinett. It’s an incredibly elegant, well-balanced wine and a great palate cleanser. (And at 11.5% ABV, it’s a lighter start to lunch.)

Pouilly-Fumé ‘Les Cascadelles’ 2009, Caves de Pouilly-sur-Loire
£9.99 or £8.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Riesling Kabinett Trocken 2008, Prinz von Hessen
£9.99 or £7.99
when you buy 2 bottles*


TurkeyXmas2010Picking the right wine for the traditional Christmas centrepiece is a big responsibility. I’ve chosen two full-bodied whites and a classic red Bordeaux to top off your turkey to perfection.

We’ll start with Domaine Cordier’s Mâcon-Charnay. This is a great-value alternative to the Côte d’Or, with bags of oaky richness on the nose and a palate
packed with peaches, ripe apples and honey. A great match for chestnut and sage stuffing and honey-roasted parsnips.

Sonoma-Cutrer’s great Californian Chardonnay from 2008 is full-bodied and rich in ripe-fruit and vanilla flavours, and robust enough to tackle roast turkey and all the trimmings. Then again, you could go for a soft, approachable red Bordeaux from the great-value Côtes de Castillon region. Lots of ripe plum fruit, liquorice spice and smooth tannins will suit the white meat of turkey, especially when served with a rich pork and cranberry stuffing or ‘pigs in blankets’.

Mâcon Terroir de Charnay 2008/09, Domaine Cordier
£10.99 or £9.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay 2008, Sonoma Coast
£14.99 or £9.99
when you buy 2 bottles*

Premier Vin du Château de Pitray 2006, Côtes de Castillon
£8.99 or £7.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Glazed Ham

GlazedHamXmas2010My mum’s ham glazed with marmalade and served with Cumberland sauce is my all-time number one Christmas dish. Domaine Chanson’s Bourgogne Pinot Noir has the perfumed sweet red fruit and winter spice to complement the dish’s sweetness, while its light tannins won’t detract from its subtle flavours.

If you’d rather go white, Clos d’Yvigne’s Bordeaux-style offerings are just the thing. The Princesse de Clèves is a typical Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle, with subtle lemon and grapefruit flavours to complement the glaze, yet refreshing lightness and acidity.

Réserve du Bastion Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2007, Chanson Père et Fils
£9.99 or £8.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Clos d’Yvigne ‘Princesse de Clèves’ 2008/09, Bergerac Sec
£8.99 or £6.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Whole Salmon

My tip for this increasingly popular Christmas dish is to stuff the fish with dill and lemon slices, then pour over a few tablespoons of vodka before roasting to keep it deliciously moist. And to go with it? Well, Chablis is the archetypal salmon wine – a perfect union of lightness and delicacy. Or for a full-bodied alternative, try this offering from Terredora. A complex, peachy white made from the ancient Italian Falanghina grape, it will go particularly with a creamy sauce like hollandaise.

Chablis 2009, Domaine Servin
£10.99 or £9.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Falanghina 2009, Terredora
£9.99 or £7.99
when you buy 2 bottles*

ChristmaspuddingChristmas Pudding

Only the richness of an Aussie Muscat can match the power and intensity of Christmas pudding. I’d opt for Buller’s Fine Old Muscat: a flourish of raisins, prunes, candied peel, molasses and toffee with a fair dose of residual sugar to match. It’s beautifully smooth and moreish, but do try to save some for the cheese board…

Buller’s Fine Old Muscat NV, Victoria
£15.99 or £12.79 when you buy 2 bottles*

Cheese Board

CheeseBoardXmas2010A well-chosen cheese board deserves equally great wines. I love a full white wine with soft cheeses. Try this controversial but fabulous match for yourself by pairing the full-bodied but elegant Saint-Veran ‘Les Crais’ with a ripe Brie or Epoisses from Burgundy.

Clos d’Yvigne’s Bordeaux-style ‘Le Rouge et Noir’ is a great match for harder cheeses, with lots of ripe plum and blackcurrant fruit backed up by cedary oak. Crucially, its ripe tannins balance the proteins found in cheeses to give a creamy, mellow texture.

St-Véran ‘Les Crais’ 2008/09, Domaine Cordier
£18.99 or £17.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Clos d’Yvigne ‘Le Rouge et Le Noir’ 2007, Bergerac
£9.99 or £7.99
when you buy 2 bottles*

Boxing Day Roast Lamb

Roast lamb is a Boxing Day tradition in the Smyth household. And Syrah is undoubtedly the traditional wine match. Domaine Les Yeuses’ medium-bodied offering is loaded with pepper spice and garrigue herbs, but also the ripe black fruit, tannins and acidity to stand up to roast lamb.

Those preferring a fuller-bodied red should plump for an Argentinean Malbec such as this Viñalba Reserva. Packed with ripe red and black fruit and lower in tannins than the Syrah, it complements the flavours of the lamb with a mouth-filling, smooth richness.

Domaine Les Yeuses ‘Les Epices’ Syrah 2008, Vin de Pays d’Oc
£8.99 or £6.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Viñalba Malbec Reserva 2008, Mendoza
£9.99 or £8.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Roast Duck

RoastDuckXmas2010Robert Mondavi’s 2008 Pinot Noir has all the classic flavours that make the grape so great with game: perfumed, enticing red fruits on the nose; a smooth body underpinned by savoury notes; crisp acidity to cut through the fat of the duck; and sweet fruit to enhance its richness. D’Angelo’s Aglianico del Vulture is another excellent choice, with ripe red cherry fruit, dried herbs and distinctive spicy notes balanced by refreshing acidity. These are flavours that would be boosted beautifully by serving your duck with a red wine and herb sauce or with herby potatoes.

Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir 2008, Napa Valley
£14.99 or £9.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Aglianico del Vulture 2007, D’Angelo
£12.49 or £9.99
when you buy 2 bottles*

Cold Meats

Look no further than a good Beaujolais to go with the appetising simplicity of your cold cuts. The Beaujolais-Villages from Domaine des Nugues is a personal favourite, with more of the region’s characteristic kirsch, raspberry and soft spice notes and fewer of its bubblegum flavours.

If you’re after a white to go with your leftover turkey or salmon, the 2004 Château de Rully is a good option. A few years of bottle ageing have produced a mellow and intense wine that’s full enough to cope with the endless trimmings on offer at Christmas, not to mention any leftover cheese.

Beaujolais-Villages 2008/09, Domaine des Nugues
£9.99 or £7.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Rully 2004, Château de Rully
£12.99 or £9.99
when you buy 2 bottles*

*Prices are valid from 02 November 2010 to 31 January 2011.

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