There’s no getting away from it, Christmas is a boozy time. Office parties, drinks with friends, a couple of sly snifters while the world shops; cheap drinks, ridiculously overpriced drinks… indeed, come the big day itself, you can be forgiven for feeling all liquored out
However, if you do it right, Christmas Day can be the best time for indulging (moderately of course) in alcohol. And by doing it right we mean following the advice of the 2010's UK Sommelier of the Year, Christopher Delalonde.
Here, Delalonde guides you through the right drinking accompaniment for each stage of what we like to call, in honour of Seinfeld, Festivus Day.
“Champagne is an excellent drink to start the festive day and the perfect accompaniment to present opening. Charles Heidsieck Brut represents an excellent choice, fit for any special occasion.”
Prawn Cocktail starter
“As freshness matters, keep your palate alive with a Riesling. Lots of countries offer their varieties, but I prefer to head to Germany, and the Mosel region in the west of the country.
"Also, an alternative could be the Kamptal region of Austria. Both regions can provide enough vibrancy and lemony flavours to lift the prawns' texture and also balance the sweet tone of the cocktail sauce.”
Turkey with all the trimmings
“I like to have two reds on offer; one Italian and one new world Pinot Noir. With pronounced acid core and ripe cherry fruit, Barbera d’Alba is usually my Italian choice. It provides enough bite and structure with that very tender meat and the sweetness of the trimming - oven cooked root vegetables such as parsnips, sweet potatoes, swedes and potatoes; sprouts, chestnuts... The wine balances all those forest and roasted flavours with its sweet texture and keeps the palate lively with a great acidity.
"The Pinot follows the same scheme but with more sweet fruit, more viscosity within the texture but also a different flavour profile. I like New Zealand’s Otago wines such as Felton Road, Carrick, Peregrine, Mt Edward, Rippon, Mt Difficulty… or from Australia’s Victoria, Mac Forbes Yarra Pinot Noir. They offer that typical rich-intense Pinot flavour of “bonbon anglais” as the French call it; black fruit scent and spices. The delivery tends to melt completely within the moisture of the meat and the roasted flavours of the root veggies.”
“I’d go for a Moscato di Pantelleria - Sicily's quality wine from the Muscat d'Alexandrie grape variety (or Zibibbo as they call it locally). I like the one made by Donnafugata winery, coming out in 50cl. From a light amber colour; the wine opens on the nose with concentrated aromas of dried peach, melon, sun flowers and honey.
“On the palate, the richness of aromas delivers on the mid-palate with viscosity and lift, creating a balanced feel. The wine develops with cinnamon, honey and anise seed flavours; with a long finish on primary fruit aromas and spices. The texture of the wine adds dimension to the bite of the pudding. Delicious.”