The presents may have been bought and wrapped, the turkey ordered and the vegetables mentally prepared, but according to Jonny Gibson from Sussex Wine School, most people give little thought to the perfect wine to accompany Christmas dinner.
Jonny said: “People spend so long planning what they are going to eat at Christmas, so it makes sense to give a little thought to what to drink with it. Pairing food with the right wine can really make Christmas dinner special – you just need to know what to look for.
“A white burgundy can really enhance turkey or goose, and contrary to popular belief, you can have red wine with poultry – a red burgundy works equally well. For duck or roast beef, I’d choose a claret like 2007 Chateau Bois Malot, Bordeaux Superieur AOC, available at Wine Discoveries. Not forgetting vegetarians, an Italian red like Sangiovese or a white from South West France like Côtes de Gascogne is wonderful with nut roast.
“Using the same wine throughout a meal can make a pudding taste very dry, so it’s always best to switch when the Christmas pudding and mince pies are served. My advice is to have a wine sweeter than the dessert, perhaps a wood-aged tawny port or a Muscat Beaume de Venise, Rivesaltes or a Riesling Auslese. Port is also a must with stilton and the sweetness of a Sauternes contrasts well with salty roquefort. For a New Year’s Eve celebration, I go for Champagne every time. It doesn’t have to be French though – some of the English sparkling wines are excellent, including Ridgeview Grosvenor 2009 and Limney Estate 2006.”
Sussex Wine School’s tasting evenings run throughout January and February at The Brew House Hotel, Tunbridge Wells, beginning on 10th January covering wines from Bordeaux, the Rhone Valley and the South of France. Vouchers are available to purchase from £22.50 for specific dates or can be used any time throughout the year. For more information visit www.sussexwineschool.com.