What to Drink this Christmas
Christmas is fast approaching, and yet there's still so much to do. You may have bought all of your Christmas presents, but have you wrapped them? The turkey has been ordered, but has it been stuffed? Written all your cards? And are they posted? Sorry, we don't mean to panic you even more than you probably already are. To give you a helping hand, we have put together a Q&A with our friend, Paula, at Portland Wine Company which will help you decide and plan what to drink and serve during the festive season. It's the perfect guide if you're hosting Christmas dinner or any other parties throughout the week, and this expert advice will mean that you'll have one less thing to worry about.
1. Hi Paula. Which do you find are the most popular drinks during the festive season?
Most definitely fizz. And that's whether you're sending it as a gift, or having a glass or two yourself.
2. What sort of tipple would you recommend for consumption before Christmas dinner?
Pre dinner, again I would recommend some sort of fizz. I do prefer champagne but you don't have to go mad on the price of which one you buy, or the quantities. Adding a liqueur to make it a cocktail is also nice, for example, Kir Royal. Or better still, I love Rhubarb or Pink Grapefruit liqueur to give it a modern twist.
3. And what would you suggest drinking with your meal?
We are a three meat family; turkey, beef, and ham with all the trimmings. If I was going to suggest white wine, it would be Côtes du Rhône. In particular, we currently stock a Delas which really does cover all the complements of the plate. Alternatively, I would also recommend a New World Viognier, or Roussanne, which is dry with a bit of weight. That said however, the past few years I have served rosé and cannot fault it. If you prefer red, I would go for our John X Merriman from South Africa, which is a traditional Bordeaux blend and boasts affordable quality too. For serving a nut roast and fish, I would always serve Sauvignon Blanc, aiming for French or South African again as sometimes a New Zealand wine can be rather fruity, in my opinion.
4. On personal recommendation, what type of wine would you choose? And as for champagne? Lastly, what about spirits?
In terms of wine, I will be having Sancerre Pascal Jolivet, which is very crisp, dry, and perfect for a vegetarian dish (particularly goats cheese). It's priced at £19.95, but they also produce a smashing entry level one for £11.95 called Attitude. For the main course, a Painted Wolf Roussanne which is from South Africa and costs £14.95, and for those who are red drinkers, the John X Merriman at the same price is always a good call. As for champagne, I have opted for our house rosé (Baron de Beaupre - £25.95, white - £17.95) as a pre dinner tipple, but I have to declare that my guilty pleasure is Carte Blanch Roederer Demi Sec (37.95) at about 10.30am with a selection box (I don't have children haha). I only have a glass or two, and then the rest after dinner. I never open the spirits cupboard unless someone twists my arm for a gin, which is sometimes the case as I host Christmas dinner each year for between 6 and 14 people. I always store a bottle of 10 year old Tawny Port, which is very adaptable and can go nicely with cheese, Christmas pudding, or crème brûlée. Although, for the latter you would need to chill the port in order for them to complement one another. This year I've chosen Graham's which is priced at £16.50.
Thank you for your expert advice, Paula! We hope that you have found this guide helpful, and that it points you in the right direction if you're unsure of what wines and champagnes to serve this year. After all, Christmas is about spending time with your loved ones, and the perfect tipple to go with your food will make all the difference. Don't forget to share your pictures with us on social media, using the hashtag #ChristmasAtHopewiser.