6 Wines to be Paired with Famous Christmas Food
In order to best prepare for the coming holidays, we would like to make six wine suggestions for pairing with traditional international Christmas dishes. Although actual recipes and their execution may vary from home to home, making the pairing a thankless task, we are confident that these wines will add value to the experience.
To many, the traditional main course is all about the stuffing and sauces, but let’s concentrate on the meat itself and the commonly used spices such as thyme, sage, or rosemary. Now, the safe bet would be to go with a medium-bodied red, but we believe a structured, aromatic white would make a truly exciting pairing. Which would also allow us to “cover” a range of other potential ingredients, such as onions, breadcrumbs, butter, or, indeed, other herbs, as well as dried meats and/or nuts.
So, how about a gentle amphora-aged wine, a Sauvignon Blanc with subtle aromas covering the spectrum of various spices and with a body capable of keeping the turkey aloft on its way to heavenly delights? For all its intensity, Tomac Amfora Sauvignon is not heavy at all, countering the fat of the dish with freshness. If you desire to indulge in a true feast, do not overcool the wine and use wider wine glasses for aged Chardonnay.
It is almost a sacrilege to some when you insist that sprouts are no more than a side dish. There is also the myth that sprouts do not pair well with wine. True, Brussels sprouts may have a slightly bitter taste, but there are some wines that can cope with their polarising character.
Obviously, a lot will depend on the recipe used, and some components, such as cheese, sausage or other strong-flavoured ingredients, might just have enough clout to stand up to all this “sproutiness”…
Even so, we might just have something up our sleeves… Say, we focus on sprouts simply steamed or fried up with bacon.
The answer is anything but ordinary. Plančić Ager Reserve is a blend of local varieties made in a traditional way and carefully oak-aged, its aromas ranging from Mediterranean herbs to Muscat-like. It is a very versatile wine, but by no means boring. Its ability to cope with many different dishes does not diminish its character, the latter creating a true synergy: a combination in which wine itself works as the ideal spice, elevating the experience.
Often served as a side dish, but roast potatoes have a distinguished profile on its own. Most often, potatoes are cut and roasted in the oven with plenty of either poultry fat or olive oil. Herbs and spices are always introduced to shape the outcome. Besides salt and pepper, parsley, time or rosemary can be used.
Such a dish may seem simple but add some of the wine magic and you might wonder. How can that obscure Sansigot provide such fullness and complexity paired with that scoop of simple roasted potatoes?
It somehow fills in all the right places simultaneously enhancing aromatics with corresponding peppery and salty profile. Sansigot’s refreshing and borderline rustic character is not overshadowed by heavy handling in the cellar. It is light in body, and although in warm vintages like 2017 it might need some bottle time to balance, Sansigot is never heavy.
Pigs in blankets
Small sausages wrapped in bacon are not necessarily endemic to the UK, yet there is a UK tradition placing the dish in the context of the Christmas table. Come to speak of it, in Croatia these bites are also treated as a main ingredient, not just as “garnish” surrounding the turkey.
Anything special to recommend for pigs in blankets, you say? But of course! Unless they happen to be extremely spicy, small sausages wrapped in fried bacon make an unexpectedly great pairing for one of our sparkling reds, the Griffin Dark Side Brut.
All that bubbly fruit is guaranteed to make you crave pork. Just when you think you can’t possibly have another bite of that greasy, crispy little piglet, the dark red bubbles do their job, leaving your palate clean and plenty of lingering fruit & earth aromas in their wake. Refreshing and nourishing at the same time. You’ll be wanting more!
In this case, it’s hard to miss. Yet, why just settle for pairing this with something we already know? Why not go for something that’s written in the stars… a match made in heaven! A blissful touch of… ok, let’s not get too carried away.
At least not before you’ve opened Kosovec Frankovka to accompany this epic meal. Think of the puff pastry crust around the juicy beef… and then THIS wine!
The wine needs to be well balanced, not overly tannic, just the right amount, not too extracted, but enough body to stand up to beef, not a hair out of place, neither alcohol nor acidity sticking out…
Moreover, it needs to also bring its own flavor to the table. Some deep fruit with slightly rustic nuances… what a salivating experience, putting these two together!
We can only wonder how many of the Christmas Puddings actually survive until Christmas, but the one thing that we are certain about is that a rich, sticky, mixed dried-fruit cake, where apple and citrus zest vie for supremacy with brandy and spices, needs something extra special to pair with.
The sweet bitterness lifted by the concentrated grape juice meets the complex flavours of the Christmas pudding head-on. It is his majesty Muscat that comes to our rescue, but not just any old Muscat… Behold San Salvatore by the Benvenuti family!
San Salvatore is born in a micro-location in Istria, and aged in oak for 24 months. The grape variety here is the famous Muscat Momjanski. Its aromas of lychee, candied fruit, honey and nuts will not be overpowered even if you soak the Christmas Pudding in brandy…
We bet that these six wines will all perform beautifully, which is why we have selected them for our special Christmas case.
Christmas is coming! Avoid meaningless overeating, get the right wines to match, and prepare for synergy and synesthesia!