‘Tis the season to be merry, and we all know that good wine is a pivotal part of the perfect Christmas table.
“When you pair the right wine with your menu, it really heightens the flavours of both the food and the wine itself,” explains Christine Ricketts, Cellar Director at Australia’s leading direct to consumer wine retailer Cellarmasters.
Here, Christine shares her top tips for getting your festive flavours right.
Lamb & Cabernet Sauvignon
The mint and herb flavours of a Cabernet Sauvignon, particularly from the Coonawarra region in South Australia, make the red wine the ultimate pairing with lamb - especially if you’re serving the meat with a traditional mint sauce.
Wine to try: The Ridge Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Ham & Sauvignon Blanc
The traditional Christmas ham tends to be a mix of salty and sweet flavours, and possibly some heat if English Mustard is used. A Sauvignon Blanc is the ultimate pairing, as the acid of the wine will offset the saltiness in the meat. Sauvignon Blanc’s fruit-driven flavours will also enhance the meat’s sweetness whilst the medium alcohol of this wine style balances the heat from the mustard.
Wine to try: Ribbon Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Sparkling Shiraz & Turkey
Sparkling red wine is one of the most unique sparkling styles in the world, originally a French invention but now championed by Australian winemakers. A sparkling Barossa Shiraz with rich, ripe fruit flavours enhances the saltiness of the turkey while the sweetness of the cranberry sauce complements the wine’s fruitiness.
Wine to try: Teusner Barossa Mc Sparkling Shiraz 2010
Seafood & Riesling or Pinot Gris
If you are serving a meaty fish such as salmon, pair it with Pinot Gris, as the wine’s acidity balances the oily richness of the fish. When it comes to prawns or calamari, you can’t go wrong with a crisp, Australian Riesling. The wine’s zingy and crisp citrus flavours will balance the delicate meat.
Wine to try: Mockingbird Hill Clare Valley Riesling
Roast Pork & Pinot Noir
Salty, flavourful roast pork has its perfect match in Pinot Noir, as the delicate red wine with its characteristically mushroomy, dark berry and smoky flavours elevate the essences of the meat.
Wine to try: Optica Geometric Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir 2017
BBQ & Rosé
BBQ meats, including sausages, are best enjoyed with a dry Rosé, as the acidity will balance the meaty, fatty flavours. If you prefer a red wine, a medium bodied Merlot is the ultimate choice, as the flavour won’t be too overpowering.
Wine to try: Blood Brother Republic Mclaren Vale Rosé 2017
Prosecco & Cheese
Prosecco is of course fabulous to enjoy on their own throughout the silly season, but is the perfect wine to enjoy with a cheese platter. The carbonation helps break down the coating of butterfat that cheese leaves on the palate, reducing clashes and leaving a clean taste in the mouth.
Wine to try: Stefano De Pieri Di Qualita Prosecco
Mince Pies or Christmas Pudding & Tawny
The pastry of the mince pies offsets the richness of the tawny port, while the fruitiness of the wine goes beautifully with the dried-fruit flavours of this traditional dessert.
Wine to try: Dorrien Estate "old Contemptibles" Barossa Valley Tawny 500ml
What's on your menu this Christmas?
Wining and whining my way through life.