There is no better joy than opening a fabulous bottle of wine for Christmas dinner and sharing it with family and friends. Pairing wine with food is not as difficult as it may appear. It is all about balance, light foods with light bodied wines, medium foods with medium bodied wines and heavy and hearty dishes with full bodied wines. Here, Joe from The Wine Buff in Galway shares his top Christmas food and wine pairings.
For starters, smoked salmon is one of the favourites with The Wine Buff customers. Choose a nice Champagne like Herve Mathelin Privilege or a Chablis from Domaine Colbois, which has good acidity to bring out the salmon’s smoked flavour and oily texture.
For many of us, Christmas dinner is all about the turkey. As turkey is a low-fat meat, avoid wines that are too tannic, as they will make the meat seem harsh and dry. There are also many other flavours and textures with the stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy and all the trimmings, so any fruity wine with low or integrated tannins and good acidity will work well. Good red options are Apollonio Copertino from Puglia in Italy, the fantastic Chateau Rocher Gardat from Montagne Saint Emilion or Domaine Maratray-Dubreuil Pinot Noir from Burgundy. Try an excellent full-bodied Chardonnay like the Mas de Novi from Languedoc for white.
For Dessert, a general rule is to have a wine that is sweeter than the dessert itself. For traditional sherry trifle, pair with a Pedro Ximenez, and pair Christmas pudding with a good Ruby port.
When the cheese plate appears, leftover wines from the dinner are good options, but there are also some exceptional cheese and wine matches. Hard cheeses like cheddar or Manchego pair well with medium bodied Rioja. Sancerre or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent match with goats’ cheese. Blue cheeses pair well with sweet wines, like Sauternes with Roquefort or stilton and Cashel blue with a superior quality tawny port like Van Zeller 10-year-old.
The Wine Buff Galway, 17 Eglinton Street, Galway City. thewinebuff.com