Written by Julia Lambeth I Photographs by Anchiy
One of my favourite things about Christmas is picking out wines to go with Christmas lunch. This can seem like a difficult task but in fact it should be a fun activity! When deciding on what to drink the first thing I would encourage you to think about what wines you like, and what would go well with your lunch. Remember, the most important thing is for you to have something that you are going to enjoy! That said, there are some wines that may work better than others. So I’ve listed my recommendations and reasons below, which can be found at different price points. Enjoy!
Starters While starter will vary, the main aim is the same, to get you ready for that main course. So often you will looking at something light, fresh, with a bit of acidity to get your mouth watering. And so the wine match should be the same: White – typically a fresh white wine with a good concentration of flavour and a fresh streak of acidity. Such as Picpoul de Pinet, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, or Sancerre. Red option –Light reds: For the starter you want a red wine that is light and will freshen your palate. Beaujolais or light Pinot Noir would be ideal options. Light in tannin and body, with fresh red fruit flavours, this is one of the few red wines that can be served with fish and can also be served chilled if you wish.
Sparkling: If you are feeling decadent why not open a bottle of something fizzy? A champagne will normally have the level of acidity required to provide freshness, along with bubbles and a more rich flavour than the white wines. Or of course you could go for some English Sparkling! The main event: Number one tip for this is: go with a wine that makes you happy! If you’ve got a bottle you’ve been saving, or a style you enjoy above all others, then this is the time. Aside from that, it depends what you are eating: Turkey: White – Chardonnay – preferably oaked. Think Chilean at lower end at Meursault at the top end with everything in between. It should have intensity, complexity, body and a fair dose of acidity. With roasted foods flavours are often intensified. It is this along with all the accompaniments (gravy, stuffing, roast potatoes, pigs in blankets etc) that you want to match to.
Pinot Gris is good for those that don’t like oak. Red – Pinot Noir – preferably New World. Many people would recommend a French Pinot, but personally I think New World is best, purely for the aforementioned intensity. Unless you’ve got the budget for a VosneeRomanee I would argue that something from Central Otago would be much better suited to your meal. Turkey being a white meat, it better suited to something not too high in tannins. Bottle aged red are also a good way to go (e.g. Rioja Gran Reserva, aged Bordeaux) Other meats: If you prefer a bit of beef or something a bit gamey, you can go for wine that are a little different. White – I’m going for something a little more left field here – but a Hungarian dry Furmint would be my top match. Unoaked yet spicy, this is full of flavour, body and character. When you go for wines to match with red meats, they need to have substance to stand up to it, which this certainly does. Again, Chardonnay would work, or a ripe Viognier. Reds – much more traditional with this – Bordeaux, or a lovely Italian Chianti or Barolo or a Spanish red from Priorat or Ribera del Duero. Old world works much better for me as I don’t want to be overpowered by a fruit bomb of a wine. Particularly with beef, where all the protein is just going to melt any tannins in the wine you can for something bold and hearty.
Veggies: I’m not going to forget the veggies and vegans out there! If you’re going for a nut roast the options I would recommend are: White – something oaky. Many oaked whites have a lovely roasted hazelnut or almond flavour to them, which would match to the flavour of the dish. Plus you need something with body and intensity, so maybe stick to New World, a South African Chenin Blanc would be perfect. Reds – I would stick to something fruity but not too tannic. If you like New World a Malbec or Shiraz would fit in perfectly here, or if you prefer something more traditional a Spanish Rioja Reserva would be lovely.
Dessert Whether you are having a Christmas pudding, Yule Log, Trifle or anything else, if you are having a dessert, the only wine to match with it is a sweet one. Here’s a few of my favourites: Sauternes – French dessert wine, marmalade, apricots and honey, great with fruity desserts Port – Black fruit and spicy, perfect with your pudding. Great with cheese too. PX Sherry – Thick, viscous, dried fruit and intensely sweet, I’d have this with anything! I hope that’s given you a few ideas. And of course if you want to find out more about any of the above wines you can always join in one of our wine tastings at South London Wine School to discover more!
Here is a small list of Christmas and New year events at the South London Wine school
· Wed 5th Dec – Gin Tasting Masterclass December £30.00
· Thu 6th Dec – Alsace Masterclass £30.00
· Fri 7th Dec – Chocolate And Wine Workshop Greenwich £30.00
· Thu 10th Jan – Introduction To Wine Tasting January £22.50
· Fri 11th Jan – Cheese And Wine Workshop Greenwich January £30.00
· Thu 17th Jan – Sake Tasting Evening £30.00
· Fri 18th Jan – Gin Tasting Masterclass January £30.00
· Thu 24th Jan – 8 week World Of Wine Course January Greenwich £200.00
· Thu 24th Jan – World Of Wine: Burgundy And The Loire Jan £27.00
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO MAKE A BOOKING, PLEASE VISIT SOUTHLONDONWINESCHOOL.COM