Posted on 18th December 2017 by JN Wine
Like most poultry, turkey is middle-weight and not especially powerfully flavoured, with a low-fat content and prone to long cooking periods these factors are worth consideration when pairing a special wine, to make the meal, special.
Inherently, turkey and its weight / flavour intensity are the main factors to keep in mind when pairing up a wine. Keep in mind that as turkey is a lean meat with low fat content, wines in possession of firm or strong tannins should be avoided, with little fat present the tannin and indeed the wine will come across as harsh and unpleasant.
The majority of wine drinkers out there, I suspect will be opting for a red with the festive meal. If this is the case a red wine with low or gentle tannin is advisable. This can be achieved through selection of an aged wine (as tannin gently fades with time in bottle) or selection of a wine made with a grape that is naturally low in tannin.
Pinot Noir or as the Germans call it; Spätburgunder.
This 2013 Pinot Noir produced by Salwey, from Baden in Southwest Germany is a treat to behold, at a price that will not break the bank. Deliciously medium bodied, fruit forward and brambly with a velvety texture and the all-important, smooth and ripe tannins to act as the counterpoint to the turkey and ham. In fact, we believe this wine will maintain its charm well after the meal is consumed.
For the more traditional amongst us, nothing beats a bottle of Châteauneuf du Pâpe to accompany turkey, ham and all the trimmings. The problem sometimes with Châteauneuf du Pâpe is that they can be huge, full bodied and massively structured i.e. aggressive and exceedingly tannic. If the wine in question is well aged this may not be an issue, however, if like me, you don’t lay claim to a well-stocked cellar, help is at hand.
The 2014 Télégramme from Vignobles Brunier has a beautiful hedgerow fruit filled nose, generous body and the elegance not usually experienced in a young CDP. What sets this wine apart, is its graceful structure, seamless tannin and substantial finish. A treat to behold. Balanced and satisfying.
If the festive menu on offer is a bit more adventurous, and let’s say Goose is being served as opposed to the Turkey then perhaps the wine to serve could be a bit more adventurous. Goose is a stronger flavoured meat than turkey, more like Game and crucially it is a bit fattier than turkey. With a focus on quality this gutsy this South African gem is still relatively new at JN. This wine is a completely different style to those outlined above and would be more of a pairing for the trimmings on your plate but still an excellent choice.
Deep, complex fruitcake richness on the nose, with cassis and violets leaping from the glass followed by cinnamon and nutmeg spices, encased in a perfectly balanced, silky smooth, streamlined body. Misleadingly accessible, despite the current appeal, there is enough underlying power for a long future ahead.
In terms of white wine, a full-bodied wine is the best option. Oaky richness gives sweet spice notes, and creamy lactic acid really benefits the meat that can sometimes be on the dry side.
Powerful and exotic, the 2015 Chardonnay is an embodiment of the artistry and the craft of Cloudy Bay. The 2015 Chardonnay is savoury and complex, a wine whose deftly woven aromatics give way to power on the palate – Tim Heath, Chief Winemaker at Cloudy Bay.
The classic choice for Christmas Dinner is Puligny Montrachet, this is a White Burgundy from Cote de Beaune. The high levels of minerality and acidity in the wine helps to cleanse the palate and compliments all the traditional trimmings.
For those of you who are not fans of Chardonnay and maybe looking for something a little different we recommend this Italian blend of Vermentino, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. It will stand up well to the turkey and should please everyone at the table.
Hints of pear, banana and apricot, lavender and white flowers with a touch of sage and spice. A long fresh finish with good aromatical and mineral character.