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Wines for Christmas

With the festive season quickly approaching, that seasonal dilemma of which wines to stock up on arises. Read on to discover my top tips on which wines to choose.

The Christmas Eve Party

A glass of bubbles is always a winner when you want to get a party started, and while Champagne is the obvious choice, for the budget savvy wine hunter, there are other much more cost-effective alternatives out there. I always choose a Crémant to serve at a party – a French sparkling wine produced anywhere in France except the Champagne region. Crémant is made using the Traditional Method, meaning that a second fermentation in the bottle creates the bubbles in the wine. This is the same technique that is used in Champagne, and while every region will use different grape varieties in their Crémant, if you choose one from Burgundy (Crémant de Bourgogne) the same grapes will have been used to produce the wine as in Champagne too: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The resulting wine is so like Champagne that you’ll barely notice the difference.

Christmas Morning

Would it really be Christmas morning without a Mimosa? For me, it’s an essential start to a day where I know that my patience will be tested, but I am determined to remain merry throughout. The traditional Mimosa recipe calls for equal parts of freshly squeezed orange juice and sparkling wine (any Crémant left over from last night’s party would be perfect), but feel free to adjust the quantities as required. This highly gluggable breakfast beverage is perfect with croissants, eggs or smoked salmon.

Christmas Dinner

With a plethora of different flavours in a traditional Christmas dinner, choosing the perfect wine can be a challenging. I suggest choosing both a white and red for the table, so that there is something to tickle everyone’s taste buds. For lovers of white, a wine from the Burgundy region of France is a great choice. Made from the Chardonnay grape and often lightly oaked, the buttery and ripe fruit flavours of this wine will complement the flavours in the food nicely. If you prefer a zingier and zestier option, a Chablis from the North of Burgundy would work well too. For those who prefer red, a lighter variety such as a Beaujolais is a good match for Christmas dinner. My favourite choice for Christmas dinner is a wine from the Fleurie region of Beaujolais. Sometimes referred to as ‘The Queen of Beaujolais,’ Fleurie is one of the 10 Beaujolais crus. A quality wine with fresh fruity flavours of raspberries and cranberries and a light floral note, this is a real crowd-pleaser.

The Cheeseboard

An essential at the end of my Christmas dinner, I love a selection of different cheeses to nibble on for the rest of the evening. It’s difficult to choose just one wine to go with an assortment of different cheeses as the textures and flavours of different cheeses require different styles of wine to enjoy them at their best. In general, a light, refreshing white wine with high acidity, such as a Sauvignon Blanc or even a sparkling wine, will pair nicely with creamy cheeses like brie or goat’s cheese. With a stronger flavoured cheese such as mature cheddar, choose a bold red wine; Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec would work well. With blue cheese, a sweet dessert wine such as Sauternes or Port is the perfect complement.

Merry Christmas!

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