Christmas Day Wines

“Where are you spending Christmas” is a frequent question this time of year.  If you are lucky enough to be going to someone’s house as a guest, you might want to re-pay their generosity and hard work with some well-chosen wines.

Turkey and ham is the number one choice on Irish tables.  Which wines go well with turkey and ham? The key thing is to avoid wines with high acidity (Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling) which will make the turkey meat taste even drier than it is.  A fruity wine, with soft, 189853-250x377-Wine-with-Turkeyround acidity works best.

The best white wine to pair with turkey is Chardonnay.  It’s hard to beat Chardonnay’s rich round generous flavours. Pinot Grigio is a popular crowd-pleaser too, and would work well with turkey.

When choosing a red wine for turkey and ham, avoid anything that’s high in tannin, as it will overpower both the ham and turkey.  A well-cooked ham is juicy, and perhaps glazed with sweet honey or cider.  Choosing a fruity red with smooth tannin, will make the ham taste juicier and sweeter.

In grape varieties, Syrah/Shiraz is a great choice, followed by Pinot Noir and Merlot.  If you are looking at classic French wines, this will lead you towards the Rhône valley (including Côtes du Rhône, Gigondas, Châteauneuf du Pape which are blends of Syrah and Grenache), Languedoc Roussillon wines (Minervois, Corbières) and also Pinot Noir from Burgundy.

Rioja, particularly Reserva is a great choice, and very much a crowd-pleaser.  If you like Bordeaux, look for St. Émilion or Pomerol, or older vintages which have softened with time.  Beaujolais, including Fleurie would also be fantastic, and popular with people who like slightly lighter styles of red.

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La Marca Prosecco Spumante is a fresh sparkling dry prosecco and is the perfect start to your Christmas Day! With a vibrant bouquet of apple, white peach and honeysuckle. Recommended by The Sunday Times (Wine of the Year), and The Sunday Business Post. Wonderful with finger food, especially flaky or filo pastry titbits.

 

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Château Martinolles ‘Limoux’ Chardonnay  Limoux, is possibly the best source of Chardonnay after Burgundy, and infinitely more affordable.  Old vines deliver small yields of intensely-flavoured fruit.  Barrel-fermentation & oak ageing add layers of cloves, sweet spice & smokiness to this creamy, buttery, richly-flavoured wine.

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Château Paul Mas ‘Clos des Mures This Languedoc red is smooth, ripe and fruity, with plenty of blackberry, herbs, vanilla and soft spice.

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Sancho Garces Rioja Crianza is beautifully smooth, and richly concentrated.   Stewed blackberry, vanilla and coconut, with a feint lick of sweet spice on the finish.  Don’t let its inexpensive price tag put you off – it’s a little cracker, worth much more than the cost.  It’s also available in magnums this year!

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Château Chante Alouette St. Émilion Grand Cru is powerful, with rich ripe dark fruits, plenty of lead pencil shavings, and a long finish, not too grippy.