Festive food and wine: our favourite pairings
The festive season is fast approaching and now is the time to plan what we’ll be eating and drinking this Christmas.
Bibendum wine educator Kelly Rhymes shares her thoughts on the perfect festive food and wine pairings.
Sparkling to start
“Late morning is the perfect time to kick off the celebrations, when I plan to open a bottle of good quality Moscato d’Asti, like the Vietti Moscato d’Asti Cascinetta,” says Kelly.” This is the Moscato grape variety and is from Asti in North West Italy. It has a delicate sweetness that prepares the palate for the rest of the day, not to mention puts you in the party mood for the festivities. Plus it is generally only around 5.5% ABV – so you won’t be too tipsy to cook Christmas dinner!”
The main event
“For a traditional Christmas dinner, I would normally have a light fish dish to start, such as salmon and prawns with some fish pate. With this I’ll open a light and fresh Albarino from North West Spain, like the Bodegas Castro Martin A2O Albarino,” she says. “It has delicious flavours of citrus fruit and light stone fruit, along with great mouth-watering acidity. Another wine that would pair excellently with fish is the Domaine Les Ronces Picpoul de Pinet from Southern France. Again, this wine is light and fresh with zippy acidity.”
Kelly continues: “If turkey with all the trimmings is your choice, then there are many things to think about when matching it with wine: the stuffing, gravy, pigs in blankets, cranberry sauce... One of my all-time favourite wines to go with the main star is a South African oaked Chenin Blanc, such as the Stellenrust 52 Barrel Fermented version. This wine has great body, with lots of stone fruit and tropical fruit flavours that can pair well with difficult foods such as stuffing. Another great white wine option would be a medium to full-bodied oaked Chardonnay.
“For those who prefer red wines, opt for a lighter style such as a Pinot Noir or Zinfandel – like the Norman Hardie Pinot Noir from Canada or the Dry Creek Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel from California. The earthy and smoky characters of these wines are known to go well with the stronger flavours of a traditional Christmas dinner.”
Pudding and port
“Christmas pudding and mince pies deserve a wine that complements their flavour and the perfect pairing for me is a tawny port – like the Quinta do Vallado 10 Year Old,” Kelly says. “This wine is amazing when slightly chilled and goes remarkably well with rich chocolate desserts.”