Perfect pairings - the best food friendly wines
The best food-friendly wines to enjoy with your Christmas dinner
So you've collected the turkey (or somebody has, you hope), decorated the tree, bought your presents and even wrapped some of them. Hopefully you're looking forward to crossing off those last little details from your to-do list today, and settling into proper time-out mode.
Finally, it's that time of year where the most pressing questions are "how many mince pies is one too many?" and "what kind of wine would I most like to drink with all the delicious food I plan to feast on?".
There's one extremely important thing to remember when matching food and wine, and that is: drink whatever wine you like. Honestly - life's too short to stress over the perfect pairing. That said, there are some particularly food-friendly styles of wine worth considering, should that seem like the kind of pressing task you'd like to apply yourself to today.
Don't panic if your local wine merchant doesn't have the exact wine that you fancy from this list: they probably have something similar and just as delicious to suggest instead. Having an idea of what you're looking for is the first step towards finding something you'll find suitably delicious.
Whatever you choose for your special meal tomorrow, be sure to enjoy it. Sláinte - agus Nollaig Shona Daoibh.
Mount Horrocks Watervale Semillon 2014 (Clare Valley, Australia), RRP €25.99, selected independents including James Redmond & Sons
This subtly oaked Semillon is one of those particularly food-friendly wines, thanks to its contrast of creamy texture and ripe stone fruit cut by generous palate-cleansing acidity. It'll work as well with a roast bird as a meaty fish roast on the bone.
Louis Bouillot Cremant de Bourgogne 'Perle de Vigne' Brut N/V (Burgundy, France) €25, 12pc, selected independents including Donnybrook Fair
A champagne-style French sparkling wine produced outside Champagne, Cremant offers great value drinking. This Chardonnay-Pinot Noir blend has the richness to stand up to a liver pâte or smoked salmon, and the acidity to freshen your palate.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Domane Wachau Gruner Veltliner Terrassen Smaragd 2015 (Wachau, Austria), €23.99, 13pc, selected independents including 64 Wines
Gruner Veltliner is very food-friendly, having the requisite acidity and complexity, and pairing generous tropical and stone fruit with white pepper spice. 'Smaragd' indicates a fuller style, perfect for serving with roast poultry or richer seafood dishes.
SPICE IT UP
'Villa di Capezzana' Carmignano DOCG 2013 (Tuscany, Italy), RRP €35.99, 14pc, selected independents including Baggot Street Wines
This Sangiovese-Cabernet blend might have been made for a Christmas dinner, with its sour cherry and spiced cranberry character, brisk tannins that will love some well-seasoned spuds and generous acidity to get the tastebuds flowing.
Terres Dorées Beaujolais l'Ancien 2014 (Beaujolais, France), €18.50, 12.5pc, Wines Direct stores in Mullingar and Arnotts, Dublin
Beaujolais gets a bad rap but its more traditional producers, such as Jean-Paul Brun of Terres Dorées, are getting great results - in this case by harvesting late from old, organically farmed vines. It's also vegan-friendly, making it an interesting pairing for vegetarian dishes.
Bethany Old Quarry Tawny Port N/V (Barossa, Australia), €12.95 (reduced from €24.95), 19.5pc
Fans of tawny port might like to try this brandy-fortified Australian take, which follows those classic dried fruit aromas (raisins, dried cherries and apricot) with rich and creamy flavours of chocolate, orange peel, nuts and spice. Bring on the dark chocolate.
Martin Berdugo Crianza 2012 Ribera del Duero DO, €23, 14pc, Sheridans Cheesemongers nationwide
This oak-aged Tempranillo is still a baby but ready for drinking now, especially if paired with some salty cheeses (think hard or blue) to soften its powdery tannins. Consider setting aside a second bottle for next year's Christmas dinner.
Exquisite Collection Clare Valley Riesling 2015 (Clare Valley, Australia), €9.99, Aldi
This is a steal of an aperitif wine, produced by winemaker Adam Eggins of Wakefield fame, and bursting with orange and lime peel aromas. Pair with seafood starters or canapés, especially those that have been heavily herbed or mildly spiced.
Salwey Spatburgunder Kasleberg 2012 (Baden, Germany), €26.95, 13pc, selected independents including The Corkscrew
Spatburgunder is German for Pinot Noir, and this one is a lovely example and a great choice if you enjoy a lighter style of red wine, with fragrant aromas, smooth tannins and sweet spices. Great with roast game.