Things are beginning to heat up here at JN Wine. The festive season is approaching and to distract us from how cold it is in the warehouse, we’re starting to think about our own vinous requirements once the madness subsides and we can relax with our friends and family, a glass in hand .
As far as white wine accompaniments to the traditional Christmas fare go, Chardonnay is the overall victor with the JN team. Chardonnay is the grape of choice because it has enough body, richness and texture to cope with the array of foods adorning the Christmas table. Many lighter whites would simply be overpowered. Keep one of the golden rules of wine and food pairing in mind; ‘great with great, humble with humble.’ Rustenberg 5 Soldiers Chardonnay 2017, from one of South Africa’s premiere producers is top of the list for me. It is a far cry from the myriad of over-oaked, mass produced branded new world Chardonnays you may have suffered through – this one is rich yet elegant, complex and very, very tasty. This is the not so humble option for the festive table. We have all been consistently impressed, since its introduction to our range with the Les Dissidents Préjugés 2018, a delightful, subtly oaked, mineral driven chardonnay from a progressive thinking producer in the South West of France. This one is perfect for pouring for hordes of family members this year.
The ABCs (anything but Chardonnays) in my family will be enjoying the Portuguese charms of Soalheiro Allo. It’s an attractive, aromatic wine with stone fruit flavours, delicate sweet floral notes and enough texture to complement food, particularly seafood, think of that smoked salmon starter. This wine exemplifies the second golden rule; ‘delicate to delicate, bold to bold’ It only makes sense that a delicate wine such as the Allo will be overwhelmed if served alongside dramatically bold dishes like curry. Subtle, elegant wines will work well with delicate elegant flavours, creating a harmonious and balanced sensory experience.
If red is more your thing then next golden rule of wine and food pairing – choose a flexible wine. The most flexible of red wines have bright acidity, but they also have loads of fruit and not a huge amount of tannin. Pinot Noir is ideal. Try something like Chateau de Beauregard Fleurie Classic 2016. It reveals floral aromas of violets and rose petals and fruity tinges of strawberries and blackcurrants. The flavour profile matches the aromas and the palate is delightfully smooth. For New World enthusiasts try Dog Point Pinot Noir 2016. This New Zealand Pinot Noir is velvety smooth and bursting with red berry flavours, a real festive treat. This style of wine will work with the boxing day sandwiches as well as the pigs in blankets with almost everything in between.
Of course, we need more than still wine for Christmas dinner and many of us love an excuse to open a bottle of something sparkling. Bubbles really do epitomise a celebration and if Christmas isn’t a time to celebrate when is? Jane is not the only one who will be opening her presents with a glass of Bouvet Brut Tresor to hand. A crémant is always a cheaper alternative to Champagne but is made in the same style using the same method. JN Sparkling and Billecart Salmon Extra Brut are on the shopping lists here.