Lessons in wine: Tis the season to get tipsy on our top Christmas picks

Paul Hammond
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Roast Turkey
Get ready for a white wine Christmas (Source: Getty)

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat and it is time to start planning Christmas lunch. While the true meaning of Christmas is peace and goodwill to all, a delicious lunch and good wine comes in a strong second. Sometimes the only way to get through TV re-runs, that protracted and competitive game of monopoly or ‘family debates’ is a good glass of red.

If you like to make the most of Christmas day and get started early, Champagne is the perfect tipple for the morning. With smoked salmon on the side, it really takes care of itself.

The perennial question is what to drink with the turkey, a low fat, medium weight and medium flavoured bird. It is customary also to serve turkey with an assortment of sweet sauces and accompaniments. Too much tannin or power will take away from the turkey. Red wine is the obvious choice, yet a medium bodied white wine can also go very well.

The obvious choice for a white wine Christmas is a Chardonnay, ideally a creamy white Burgundy, or a Chablis. To this end, a Californian Chardonnay or a white Rhone will do very nicely, too. These will marry well with the delicate turkey and some of the lighter sauces.

The rule with reds is to pick a medium to full bodied red with medium tannin. Old favourites are aged Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rioja or a red Burgundy. A grand bottle of Bordeaux can work perfectly if it has sufficient bottle age to have softened the tannins. The same is true of Bordeaux Blends with age, such as a super Tuscan, or a Californian.

Cabernet Franc is a grape that complements turkey, yet does not overpower it. It is largely used today as a grape to blend with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, although it takes pride of place in the Loire Valley. Outside of this we are beginning to see more and more Cabernet Francs from around the world. The reason is that it is a less tannic wine, with the virtue of wonderful raspberry, redcurrant, spicy aromas and perfume. Cabernet Franc’s easy nature, finesse and elegant fruit will delight along with the turkey and its many sauces. Moreover, they tend to be attractively priced, so you can get a lot more for your money.

The perfect way to end the day is with cheese and a vintage Port or a late Bottled Vintage can finish off the whole occasion sweetly.

With the City A.M. Wine Club, choosing wines for Christmas lunch need not be a daunting task. To help our members we have compiled a selection of Christmas boxes to cater for all budgets and tastes. These make superb gifts, be it a festive treat for yourself or a fellow wine lover.

The City A.M. Wine Club is also pleased to advise you on selecting the perfect wines to drink over Christmas lunch and the entire festive period. Just get in touch by filling in the registration form at cityam.com/city-am-wine-club/sign-up


City A.M. Wine Club - Whether you’re an investor or an oenophile, joining City A.M.’s wine club can help you build your perfect cellar. Find out more here.

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