Getting a good match


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Will Baber, sommelier and owner of Tasting Room wine boutique in Bath, gives us the lowdown on how to get our head around matching your food and your wines this Christmas.

The fizz:

If, like me, Christmas morning involves mimosas with salmon and scrambled eggs, then a decent fizz is essential. Since this day comes but once a year, it’s always nice to splash out on a bottle of Champers, and who does this better than the French?

I recommend Jeaunaux-Robin Brut Prestige Champagne - wonderfully elegant with layers of perfumed fruit. The rich flavours make it perfect for a celebration, and the hint of toasted brioche gives it that extra wow on the palate.

The white:

Christmas is traditionally the day for turkey to shine - so what’s the best vino to quaff with white meat? Some people have an ingrained mistrust for Chardonnay - which should immediately be exorcised. I recommend the straw-yellow Musso Langhe Chardonnay 2013 - with its intense, floral scent that recalls hawthorn and acacia, combined with a delicate green apple note, then it goes perfectly with roast turkey or chicken with honeyed carrots.

The red:

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However, that’s not saying tradition cannot be broken, surely - and why not do so by accompanying your turkey with a red wine? A good Pinot Noir can be packed with taste but not overpower the white meat. The Domaine Parigot Hautes Cotes de Beaune is a fabulous and complex Pinot Noir Burgundy with ripe cherry and silky raspberry flavours combined with hints of roasted meat and herbs.

Of course one cannot ignore the fact that lamb and beef are no stranger to a Christmas table, and therefore a rich, full-bodied red is needed to complement the joint.

I recommend a Sangiovese - our 2010 Le Papesse di Papiano is a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Balsamina grape varieties. It is full-bodied yet smooth; rich in fruit and spice, with a velvety finish.

The dessert wine:

It’s always nice to crack something special out during the Christmas pudding, and I love the Cuvee Julie from Domaine Clos Thou. Packed with honey, acacia and peach fruit, the lively body is light with a rich, concentrated flavour and a finish which is elegant and complex without being over-powering. Just right with the robust fruit of the pudding.

The port:

No Christmas day worth its Santa hat would be complete without a cheese board. Port is making a resurgence in popularity, and rightly so. Take our advice and try something a little different - Ramos Pinto Reserva is white port from Portugal and tastes divine, whether accompanying apricot-studded Wensleydale or a creamy camembert.