Katherine Donnelly: Don't see red at Christmas
Published 11/12/2010 | 05:00
White Christmas? It may be hard to imagine the day without a cheery red, but white wines fit the bill perfectly.
Kick off the celebrations with a glass of clear sparkling. It doesn't have to be Champagne, although there are plenty of seasonal bargains.
More budget-conscious fizz includes Prosecco, New World sparklers, and Champagne-style cava from Spain and crémants from France, such as Crémant de Loire.
Non-sparkling aperitifs can also be white. A fino sherry perhaps, a Sauvignon Blanc or maybe a steely Chablis, which will see you nicely through a seafood starter.
Even the main event, turkey and all its trimmings, is just as happy with a textured, buttery, nutty and spicy white as it is with a a glass of red.
It is time for a fleshy, judiciously oaked Chardonnay, and, if you can manage it, splash out on a decent white Burgundy, the benchmark for this style.
Another white grape that enjoys the kiss of oak, Marsanne -- a native of the Rhône Valley that also turns up in Australia -- also does the trick with your butter-basted bird.
Fattier goose will delight in the company of a racy Riesling, with the acidity to cut through the fat. One of the more concentrated German styles, such as Spätlese, or the naturally richer versions from Alsace, are perfect.
Not a red grape in sight, unless you count Pinot Noir, one of the Champagne varieties, but then it loses its red skins before the wine-making process.