Each year we come together to share our favourite Christmas foods. They are special, delicious and certainly worth the wait.
One way to make your festive get togethers and Christmas Day lunch all the more special is to serve wines that compliment and match the foods. Not only will these bring out the flavours of the food and balance your meal harmoniously, but they will add a touch of sparkle to your celebrations, having chosen these wines specially.
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After a long day at work, the perfect thing to do at this time of year is enjoy a warmed mince pie with some wine, surrounded by some good friends. Traditionally made with brown sugar, cinnamon, currants, raisins, sultanas, ginger, clementine, cloves, cranberries, port and brandy, the perfect wine to pair with this festive food is something that carries the same honey tones of the port and brandy, but does not cancel them out. We would suggest a Tostado do Ribeiro, which is made with 100% Treixadura grapes and is naturally sweet, warm, velvety, with hints of spices, apricot fruits and honey.
A beautifully roasted turkey, crispy roasted potatoes, honey glazed carrots and parsnips, brussel sprouts jewelled with bacon, cranberry sauce, sausages and a tasty apricot and breadcrumb stuffing- this is the main event of Christmas Day.
With the delicate taste of the turkey, matched with the spices of the stuffing and the sweet touches of honey or syrup from the roasted vegetables, we have different wines to choose from depending on your preferences. For whites, we would suggest something that is not too fresh and has spent time fermenting in a barrel, such as a Chardonnay. If rosés are your choice, we would suggest that you go for a young Spanish wine made from the Garnacha grape. For reds, we would choose a relatively young, fruity wine from the Rioja or Ribera del Duero region, which has not spent a long time ageing. If you are interested in having a little sparkling wine with your Christmas food, a Cava Brut Nature, which has low levels of sugar, would offer delicate and complex notes and match well with this meal.
After the main course has come to an end, it is time for dessert. The most traditional Christmas desserts, such as Christmas pudding, include the spices and mixed dried fruits used throughout many other festive dishes. Christmas pudding contains all of these ingredients, as well as prunes, cherries and walnuts, and of course rum and stout. It is also often eaten with cream.
For this dessert we would suggest something that would not be too sweet or dry, such as ´fino´ sherry from the Jerez wine region of Spain, more specifically a Dry Oloroso sherry. The ageing process of this dark sherry wine affords it structure in the mouth and a slight nutty bitterness (think walnuts). The qualities of this wine give it enough strength to match up to the strong flavours of the pudding and the sweetness of its accompanying cream, as well as supporting a balance by adding fragrant hints of noble woods and pleasant dried foods.
The main ingredients of this dish are trifle cake sponges soaked in sherry (as well as sometimes amoretti biscuits/macaroons), jam or red fruits, custard, syllabub cream with sherry and brandy, and flaked almonds. As the base of this dessert is sweet sherry, we would suggest looking for a wine of the same type. Depending on your palate, for a more delicate wine we could recommend a Sherry Pale Cream, or, if you would like to crank it up a notch, you could go for a Sherry PX (Pedrojiménez) or Sherry Moscatel, keeping in mind that you would have to take very little sips.
For a rich chocolate log, Alicante has the answer. ´Fondillón´, a unique wine elaborated with the Monastrell grape, is light, sweet, and most importantly, has a touch of saltiness and wood- perfect to balance the sweetness of this dessert.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading about these food and wine pairings, and that some might become your new favourites. in case you want to learn more about Spanish traditions for Christmas we recommend you this post.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from winetourismspain.com!