As you may have gathered we enjoy a glass or two and so we thought it in your best interests (and ours) to get some expert advice to toast the Christmas season! Introducing our local wine & fizz expert Tori Locke. Tori has a passion for wine and food and currently working through her WSET wine exams whilst working for a wine merchant. We wanted to find out what Tori will be serving at her house this Christmas. So here is Tori’s advice for top tipples to cover all eventualities … clearly we are now scrambling to update our shopping lists!
The weather outside is frightful
but the wine is so delightful
I have no where to go
let it flow, let it flow, let it flow
The festive period is the one time of year where over indulgence and merry-making are actively encouraged, and in fact becomes the rule! The month of December becomes a hive of parties, a time to gather your nearest and dearest to share food, wine and laughter. The abundance of rich and exciting food can however throw even the most practiced host into turmoil, what wine to serve for each occasion? To help you spend a little less time fretting, here is a run-down of what I will be pouring throughout the season.
Everybody loves a Christmas party, a time to come together with friends before the big day. For me there is nothing more festive than a house filled with the smell of mulled wine. Lidl have a fantastic value Montepulciano at £3.99 that I will be using as the base for Delia Smith’s wonderful mulled wine recipe.
Of course no party is complete without a few bottles of bubbles, the U.K has gone crazy for Prosecco, with Britons drinking a third of all Prosecco produced in the world last year! However I’d like to surprise my guests with something a little different so I will be serving Pignoletto, an Italian sparkling wine which offers a little more fruit flavour and richness than Prosecco. Tesco finest Pignoletto is a great find at £8.50 a bottle.
As I wrap the last few Christmas presents on Christmas Eve, and pop the Christmas playlist on my music player I will be popping the cork on a bottle or two of Graham Beck brut. Graham Beck is a wonderful South African equivalent to Champagne. It is made in the same method, with the same grapes as champagne but doesn’t carry the famous name or indeed the famous price tag. It is rich and toasty with all the brioche flavours beloved of champagne drinkers, you can find it at a range of stockists for around £12.99 per bottle.
As the evening draws in the age old conundrum of what to serve Father Christmas with his mince pie arises. This year I’ll be reaching for the port; Fonseca bin 27 to be precise. This ruby red, full bodied fruity and slightly spicy port is the perfect mince pie accompaniment, it’s amazing with cheese too, you’ll find it at virgin wines, Amazon and Majestic for around £13 a bottle.
And so to the big day, hopefully you’ll have prepped everything the day before, allowing you to enjoy a flute of perfectly pink Cornish Camel Valley Sparkling Pinot noir (Waitrose £26) whilst everyone opens a few presents in the morning. If you have any left, it will also make the perfect partner to a smoked salmon starter or as a light aperitif before the big bold wines come to the table.
Christmas Day Wines
Christmas dinner is a rich affair and so commands equally bold wines. I like to serve both red and white so my guests have a choice. For the white I’ll be serving a rich and creamy white burgundy, a perfect bedfellow to turkey. Waitrose have a wonderful example from Louis Latour at around £13.
I’m going further afield to New Zealand for the red, and choosing a Te Terra Pinot Noir from the Martinborough Vineyard, £14.99 from Majestic Wine. This is an elegant wine full of ripe berries, cherries and plums, a perfect compliment to all of the Christmas Day meat choices.
Pudding matching Sherry
And lastly probably the hardest part of the meal to match to, Christmas pudding! I’m going to reach for an old favourite, Christmas pudding in a glass, Pedro Ximenez sherry, there are some fantastic ones around for a range of prices, Morrisons has a great one in half bottles for £6.
Champagne to toast the new year
As the chaos of the month begins to evaporate and the last of the wrapping paper has finally been recycled, we are given the opportunity to reflect on the successes of the year and look forward to the exciting times ahead. This is a time to break open a bottle of your very favourite drink, mine is Ruinart Blanc de Blanc Champagne, and I fully intend to raise a glass to all those I am lucky enough to be celebrating with, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!