In Chef's Table

Exec Head Chef, Chris Spencer catches up with wine supplier, Boutinot, to talk wine and the best options for your Christmas dinner table and our Christmas menus.

Boutinot’s Top 5 Christmas Wine Matching Tips

When food and wine matching this Christmas it’s important to take the flavours, weight and texture of the dish into consideration. For example, a chunky cut of red meat will need a full bodied weightier wine, whilst a light dish such as a salad would be better complemented by a light bodied white wine. The role of a wine is to ‘support the dish’ but not to overpower it.

There are two desired effects with food and wine pairing; complement or contrast. Some people like the sensation of say a crisp, high acidity wine cutting through a creamy dish, whilst others may like a softer wine with a creamy texture to complement it. Although there is no ‘perfect match’, there are some matches that work better than others and we’ve put our Top 5 selections together for you.

1. The Aperitif

If Christmas isn’t an excuse to drink Champagne then when is?! The King of aperitifs, Champagne has high acidity which will complement any food with a slight saltiness. Whether that’s an amuse bouche, canapes or nibbles of crisps and nuts whilst decorating the tree – honestly! Go on, treat yourself…

2. The Starter

Starters tend to be lighter dishes and therefore best paired with white wine. Our favourite is Chablis ‘La Colombe’ because it’s crisp, light and mineral with subtle citrus flavours. We think the freshness of this wine will cut through the croquettes and terrine starters on the menu, making for an interesting pairing.

3. The Main

Whilst we love Turkey, it’s notoriously difficult to pair with wine as it’s a white meat with low-fat content. That’s why medium-bodied reds with lower tannins or full-bodied whites such as Chardonnay from Burgundy will work best. This year we’re opting for red and have chosen Vega del Rayo Rioja Reserva. As the wine has some age the tannins with be softer and therefore won’t overpower the turkey.

4. The Cheese Board

Port Port Port! We love this fortified wine from Portugal and the interesting match it brings to a cheese board. A classic contrasting food match is sweet & salty (think salted caramel!), so this sweet wine really contrasts beautifully with the saltiness of blue cheese. One of the classics, and one of our favourite wine and food pairings.

5. The Dessert

When matching desserts with wine it’s important that the wine has as much or more sugar than the dessert otherwise the wine will seem dull and flabby. So whether you’re having Christmas pudding, cheesecake or crumble, our Sauternes Ginestet from Bordeaux will be a match made in heaven.

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