Christmas time, mistletoe and wine… as the song proclaims.  Though what would Sir Cliff be having with his festive turkey, well if he shopped with JN the choices would be abundant and lovingly paired.

Tradition dictates that since Victorian times, Turkey is the festive favourite gracing the tables across the land.  But what is the traditional wine to be served to accompany this feast?  

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.  

Enter stage left, Pinot Noir or as the Germans call it; Spätburgunder.

Salwey Spatburgunder Kasleberg 2012

Bottle Price: £14.50 Case Bottle Price: £13.05

This 2012 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, nothing beats a bottle 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.  

Telegramme 2012 Vignobles Brunier

Telegramme 2012 Vignobles Brunier

Bottle Price £25.99 Case Bottle Price £23.39

The 2012 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.  These factors lead us to Busso Barbaresco 2009.

Busso Barbaresco Mondino 2009

Busso Barbaresco Mondino 2009

Bottle Price: £29.99 Case Bottle Price: £26.99

A wine vinified from 100% Nebbiolo grapes, and a brother to the great Barolo.  Both are wines that are built upon a fair level of acidity and are certainly more generously structured.  The High acid and textured tannins in the wine will balance the fattiness and oiliness of the bird and will lead to a more harmonious dining experience.  This is an impressive wine by any means and one which will certainly have the structure and ability to bring balance to a richly flavoured goose festive meal.  It is also certainly a ‘special occasion’ wine and one which will be adding to the experience at my dinner table this year.