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Wonderful wine to serve at festive feasts

Fri 10 Dec 2010 13:15


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If ever there is a time to splash out, Christmas is it, so make sure to go for a good quality bottle of wine for your festive feast to really complement it.

Wine expert Tom Cannavan loves this time of year and always makes sure to match up each course with the right tipple.

To start he often goes for a a creamy soup like a Vichyssoise, or maybe some poached salmon. For dishes like this, a crisp but full-bodied white works really well - and if there's a touch of oak, that's not a problem.

Chardonnay or Viognier might be the obvious choices, though Tom has opted for a full-bodied wine from France made from a blend of Viognier and Roussanne for his own feast.

Then for the main course – the good old traditional roast turkey – you could go for some more white, but Tom likes to choose red instead. Because the bird is roasted and served with gravy, most reds will work well, but aim for something with a little bit of softness to the texture like a Pinot Noir perhaps.

Fruity cranberry sauce can also be quite acidic, so it’s best to go with a ‘New World’ wine with more depth of fruit to cope.

Next up is the dessert. Christmas pudding is very traditional of course, and matches so well with tawny-coloured fortified wines like the fabulous Liquor Muscats of Australia, Banyuls from France or a tawny Port.

For his festive dinner, Tom has opted for a terrific sweet, old Sherry that would also be gorgeous with a handful of nuts as an aperitif.

If you like the sound of the wine connoisseur’s selections, you can find the details of the wines he picked below.

1. Domaine Saint Amant La Tabardonne Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages Blanc 2008, France, £12.49 at Waitrose
This is a pretty serious white wine here with 'structure' – which means it has real concentration and presence, but lovely creaminess and vanilla too.

On the palate it is bursting with peachy fruit as well as flavours of vanilla and lemons, before that gentle toastiness and spice comes back in.

2. Escarpment, The Edge Pinot Noir 2009, New Zealand, £10.99 at Great Grog (Edinburgh)
This is a beauty of a Pinot here from Martinborough maestro Larry McKenna, with a real silky sweetness of earthy berries, strawberry and cherry.

On the palate this has intense fruit sweetness: lovely texture too, that will meld with the flesh of the turkey, but has the stuffing for beef or roast pork too.

3. Matusalem 30-Year-Old Oloroso Sherry, Spain, £15.99 from Majestic
From a 'solera' - a system of blending many vintages - with an average age of well over 30 years during which the wine has been mellowing in casks, this has a sumptuous nose of honey and figs.

It is rich, full-bodied and beautifully balanced between opulent orange marmalade and raisin flavours, and tangy acidity with an almost endless finish.


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