Christmas food and wine | New Brief out, #147 | The Wine Newsletter

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Per Karlsson portrait Britt Karlsson portraitThere are certain countries, Sweden for instance, that have specific Christmas specialities that are eaten only for Christmas. Christmas food in this sense does not exist in France. Here people eat loads of delicacies instead. Tons of oysters, lobster, scallops, foie gras, marinated or smoked salmon, Bresse chicken. Cheeses such as Mont d’Or and Roquefort. And much more. It is not difficult to combine the French “Christmas food” with good wines.

You don’t have to serve a Sauternes with your foie gras but a little bit of sweetness in the wine is a good thing. A Pinot Gris from Alsace is a good choice. It also has a richness that goes well with the liver. Or imagine a duck breast with a sauce made of red wine. This you could pair with a Champagne Blanc de Noir. This is quite a full-bodied Champagne, made from only Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier. This is an elegant combination hard to resist.

Turkey is popular for Christmas. I would serve it in the Danish style with red cabbage. A red Burgundy could be great, but maybe a touch too light in style. A not-too-young Bordeaux is another option and outside of France consider for example a Sangiovese, perhaps in the form of a Brunello di Montalcino.

Choosing wine to go with cheese can be a challenge because you often serve many cheeses at the same time. A powerful white Bordeaux, preferably a Pessac-Léognan, is really good with white mould cheese like Camembert and Brie de Meaux. It could go well also with blue cheese. If you want to be less traditional, you can choose a white Rioja made from the Viura grape or even a Grüner Veltliner from Austria. Aged Parmesan cheese is perfect with a powerful red from the Rhône Valley. Maybe you have a Châteauneuf-du-Pape in your cellar? If not, both Malbec (Argentina/Cahors) or a Madiran are good alternatives. With a goat cheese, we love to have a white wine made from Chenin Blanc, either from the Loire Valley or from South Africa.

Whatever you choose, remember that it is not so complicated to combine food and wine, not even when you are planning a party. It is mostly about common sense. Serve powerful wines with heavy food, lighter wines with lighter food.

And don’t be too traditional! If you want to treat your guests to a real rarity, do not wait until the last course. Better to drink the best early-on when the guests have their taste buds and senses intact.

Are you looking for good New Year’s resolution? We have one to suggest: try a new wine region each month. This is a resolution you can renew every year. The wine world continues to grow.

One more thing before we let you loose on the Brief: Isn’t it time for you to book a wine tour soon? For you or for a friend (Christmas gift tip!). We have a great tour coming up this spring. See more in the Brief.

Britt & Per

PS: Recommend to your friends to read the Brief !

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