There is no better way to get the Christmas festivities going than popping open a bottle of fizz. I intend serving a magnum of Champagne, but a good Cava or Prosecco will do nicely.
Sparkling wine goes well with a wide range of foods, so you could continue drinking it with your starter. The Charles Mignon Champagne below will certainly impress your guests, or for value the Aldi Contevedo Prestige is hard to beat, although the Prestige Cava Rosado rosé (Marks & Spencer €13.29) runs very close.
Salmon – smoked, raw or cooked – calls for a white wine with some flavour and texture; options include Chardonnay, Viognier, Albariño from Spain, or a richer Pinot Gris/Grigio. I would also consider a richer Grüner Veltliner from Austria.
The Godello from Spain below will certainly work well with all manner of starters, or if you want something very special, the Blanc d’Ogier 2012 is delicious.
A roast of beef is one of the most perfect accompaniments to red wine. The classic choices would be Bordeaux, Rioja Reserva or Chianti Classico, depending on your favourite country. But you could opt for a Cabernet from Chile or South Africa, Shiraz from Australia and Malbec from Argentina.
If you prefer lighter-bodied wines, a northern Rhône or Pinot Noir would be very good. This is an opportunity to bring out your very best red wines – and beef will show them at their very best.
The accompanying horseradish and root vegetables would probably be better with something younger rather than your oldest, most delicate wine.
Dunnes Stores have the very keenly-priced Domaine de la Bastide (€10), O’Briens have the very tasty Bethany Barossa Cabernet Merlot 2010 (€12.99), Donnybrook Fair have the excellent Casa Emma Tubewine Chianti Classico 2011 (€14.99), but if you want to splash out, the Rosalcy 2012 below will go perfectly with your roast beef.
Chocolate and chestnut truffle cake sounds both rich and sweet. I would tend to avoid standard dessert wines and instead serve something fortified. You could try out a Tawny Port served lightly chilled (64wine have the excellent Kopke 10 year-old for €15.90 per ½ bottle) or O’Briens have the Maury below. Alternatively, a fresher and livelier alternative is the Muscat de St Jean de Minervois – serve well-chilled.
You can happily serve most wines, red or white, with turkey. If your preference is for white, I would tend to go for richer, more powerful wines; James Nicholson has the wonderful Bourgogne Blanc from Patrick Javillier for £17.96/ €24.30. Try to avoid red wines with dry tannins; this does rule out Bordeaux. Rioja works very well; see below for one option, or Lidl have the attractive Cepa Lebrel Rioja Crianza for €7.99. You could also pick a Pinot Noir; Burgundy would do nicely, although Chile offers some real value.
Eunice’s show-stopping cake seems lighter than Domini’s; here I would go for a more elegant dessert wine. The Sainte Helene Saunternes below is excellent, or the Vina Laguna Muscat is a little more refreshing, possibly just what you need at this stage of the proceedings.
Aldi Cava Contevedo 11.5 per cent €10.49. Light creamy and fresh with juicy green fruits.
Charles Mignon Grand Cru Comte de Marne Brut Grand Cru Champagne NV 12 per cent €60. Delicious rich Champagne with ripe raspberry and redcurrant fruits, overlaid with brioche, finishing dry.
Stockists: Marks & Spencer
Terras do Cigarron 2012 Monterrei, Spain 13 per cent €12.99. Made from the Godello grape, this has very moreish plump melon fruits, backed up by a refreshing acidity.
Stockists: The Carpenter, Castleknock; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock.
Blanc d'Ogier 2012, M&S Ogier IGP Collines Rhodaniennes 12.5 per cent €22.75. A winning combination of plump peach fruits and spring-fresh light acidity. The perfect way to start your Christmas dinner.
Stockists: Donnybrook Fair; 64wine, Glasthule; The Drink Store, D7
Rib of beef
Domaine de la Bastide 2013 Coteaux d'Enserune 12.5 per cent €10. Light but firm dark fruits with a good tannic finish. Great with roast beef.
Stockists: Dunnes Stores
Rosalcy 2012, La lande-de-Pomerol 13.5 per cent €29.50. Rich, concentrated spicy dark plum fruits and well-integrated tannins. Decant a little ahead of dnner.
Stockists: Terroirs, Donnybrook
Rayos Uva 2013 Rioja 13.5 per cent €17. Harmonious, elegant pure dark cherry fruits, with a lovely freshness.
Stockists: 64wine, Glasthule; Blackrock Cellar; Ennis (SCR); Sweeneys, Glasnevin; Listons, Camden St.
Lidl Malbec 2014, Mendoza, Argentina 13 per cent €8.79. Satisfying juicy ripe dark fruits in a very crowd-pleasing style.
The Exquisite Collection Muscat de Saint Jean de Minervois 15 per cent €7.99. Sweet honeyed marmalade with a welcome freshness.
Gerard Bertrand Maury 2006 15 per cent €22.95. Rich warm raisins and soft red fruits serve very lightly chilled.
Sainte-Helene de Ch. de Malle 2011 Sauternes 13 per cent €24.50 per ½ bottle. Luscious intense honey, barley-sugar and orange peel.
Stockists: Wines Direct, Mullingar.
Vina Laguna Muskat Zuti 2011 11.5 per cent 216.95 per ½ litre. Lively refreshing elderflower fruits - perfect with lighter desserts.
Stockists: Donnybrook Fair; Gibneys, Malahide; Clontarf Wines.