Wines to serve at Christmas dinner: Think full-flavoured and rich
You need wine that will work well with stuffings, sauces and vegetables
This week, wines to serve with your Christmas dinner. I will take a look at sparkling wine next week, surely the best way to start the festivities. Just make sure you have some canapes, tapas or nibbles to provide soakage. If you are in the mood to splash out, I will also look at a few more expensive wines next week.
I have been writing online about Christmas wines from our supermarkets for the past few weeks, so take a look there if you are looking for some less expensive options.
You could serve a riesling, sauvignon blanc or crisp, unoaked chardonnay with most fish starters or salads. However, I generally look for a textured white, which means a richer chardonnay, viognier or South African chenin blanc. That way, white wine drinkers can continue to drink the same with their turkey, goose or vegetarian dish.
Turkey will go with a variety of foods; the question is what goes with all of those full-flavoured stuffings, sauces and vegetables. Ideally, you want a wine that is reasonably full-flavoured but without too many drying tannins
Good-quality white burgundy is an option, as are oaked Chilean and Australian chardonnay. I have featured a few chenin blancs from South Africa throughout the year. O’Briens has a good selection including the wine featured below and Marks & Spencer has the M&S Classic No 5 Workhorse chenin blanc (€11.80). For a chardonnay, Mitchell & Son has the Pellehaut 2019 (€17).
Turkey, like chicken, will go with a variety of foods; the question is what goes with all of those full-flavoured stuffings, sauces and vegetables. Ideally, you want a wine, red or white, that is reasonably full-flavoured but without too many drying tannins. Anything from the southern Rhône (I covered Côtes du Rhône on October 3rd) or similar blends from the Languedoc or Australia, garnacha from Spain, rioja, pinot noir and syrah are all good options.
I have to admit I am not a huge fan of most rioja reserva (I prefer joven or modern, less oaky styles) but I am certainly in a minority as it is hugely popular in this country, especially for Christmas dinner.
We may try roast goose this year, as our numbers are likely to be depleted, in which case a pinot noir will do perfectly, particularly with an apple and prune stuffing
If you do want to go down that route, O’Briens has the classic Marques de Murrietta (€21.95) and the widely-available Muga rioja reserva (€24-€27) is also worth checking out. Whelehans has the full and ripe Valserrano 2015 (€20). Less mainstream alternatives include the Remulleri rioja reserva (€35) or the unique Lopez Heredia Tondonia Reserva (€40). Both are available from independents.
Instead of rioja, I will probably go for a pinot noir from Chile, New Zealand or, most likely, Burgundy, which goes reasonably well with sweetish roasted root vegetables. We may even try roast goose this year, as our numbers are likely to be depleted, in which case a pinot noir will do perfectly, particularly with an apple and prune stuffing.
Soplo 2018, Rafael Cambra, Valencia
This could be my find this Christmas. Medium-bodied with plump, easy red cherry fruits and a fine mineral streak. This would go perfectly with turkey, ham, leftovers or Paul Flynn’s parsnip and red onion cake.
From Clontarf Wines, Dublin 3, clontarfwines.ie; Baggot Street Wines, Dublin 4, baggotstreetwines.com; Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock, blackrockcellar.com; A Taste of Spain, Dublin 1; Green Man Wines, Dublin 6, greenmanwines.ie; Lilliput Stores, Dublin 7, lilliputstores.com; Sweeneys Dublin 3, sweeneysd 3.ie; Margadh, Howth, margadhfoodandwine.ie; 64wine, Glasthule, 64wine.ie.
Ken Forrester Old Vine Chenin Blanc Reserve 2019, Stellenbosch
14%, €17.95 reduced to €15.95
This is a seductive medium-bodied white with plush, creamy peach fruits, offset by a seam of refreshing citrus acidity. Drink with prawns, scallops, tomato and bean stews, and turkey.
From O’Briens, obrienswine.ie.
Saint-Romain La Perrière 2019 Domaine Billard
This is another recent find. The 2019 vintage of this wine is a real charmer with silky, soft red cherry fruits and a lovely smooth finish. Perfect for a posh dinner with either turkey or goose.
From 64wine, Glasthule, 64wine.ie; Green Man Wines, Dublin 6, greenmanwines.ie; Sheridans, Galway, sheridanscheesemongers.com; Sommeliers in your Pockets, siyps.com.
La Lumière 2019, Atelier des Sources, Côtes du Rhône Blanc
This has delicious, succulent peaches and apricot. Textured and rich with plenty of structure and acidity. It would be perfect with richer starters such as scallops or prawns, or turkey with all the trimmings.
From 64wine, Glasthule, 64wine.ie; Green Man Wines, Dublin 6, greenmanwines.ie; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock, jusdevine.ie; Searsons, Monkstown, searsons.com; Sommeliers in your Pockets, siyps.com; Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock, blackrockcellar.com; Fallon & Byrne, Dublin 2, fallonandbyrne.com.