The Drinks Blogger NI

Christmas wine down

By Ciaran Meyler, wine manager, United Wines

I’m back, hope you missed me. The guys in the office thought it was a good idea to get a few new faces to write articles as I was always (wining) whining about having to put an article together with one day’s notice. Well I hope you enjoyed Matt, Chris, Mairead and Lorna; they will be back in 2019.

Anyway now that we are well into the festive season, it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to sip and savour over the holidays.
As you know, I love to write about wine; however, I can’t let 2018 go by without giving a mention to some other drinks taking the market by storm, so I’ll also be covering a couple of interesting alternatives.

It’s also that time of year when people are worried about what they’ll eat and drink from Dec 25-Jan 1, when we should really worry about what we eat and drink from Jan 1-Dec 25; that’s when the real damage is done.

Anyway, we can forget about it all for a short while and below is a guide to the perfect Christmas Day.

MORNING
Breakfast in bed with smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, served with a Bellini (two teaspoons of peach puree toped up with Freixenet Prosecco or Italian sparkling rosé, a small glass of Bollinger Non-Vintage Rosé or Special Cuvee Champagne.
Off to church with a glow in your cheeks. Don’t forget to stick the turkey in the oven!
Back to the house and invite the neighbours in for some mulled cider and mince pies.

Mulled Orchards Thieves Cider
Ingredients:
2 litres x Orchard Thieves
3 x Mulled wine seasoning sachets
4 x tsp Granulated sugar
Orange & cloves to garnish

Cooking Instructions:
1. Bring the Orchard Thieves, sachets and sugar to the boil.
2. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, remove the sachets if you wish.
3. Serve hot, straight from the pan, garnished with sliced orange, studded with cloves.

To help you with the veg prep, pour yourself a glass of Marques de Caceres Rueda Sauvignon Blanc 2017 £9.99 or Santa Rita 120 Sauvignon Blanc £7.99. The aromatic full vibrant flavours of the Sauvignon grape will refresh your palette and keep you going.
If you’re not partaking of alcohol, we have a great range of non-alcoholic wines and beer. Heineken 0.0% is a full-flavoured crisp refreshing alcohol-free beer. The Eisberg range of non-alcoholic wines includes a Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Rosé plus the new Sparkling White and Rosé. Incredibly well constructed, they make for a superb alternative.

THE CHRISTMAS DINNER:
STARTER
Prawns or salmon are best served with a full-flavoured Chardonnay; the best example is Ropiteau Chablis or McGuigan Founder’s Chardonnay or if you prefer something different try Marques de Caceres Deusa Nai Albarino from Rias Baixas.
Soup is difficult to match, just continue with the first wine.

MAIN COURSE
Turkey & Ham with all the trimmings; I know you’ll find loads of people telling you what to drink with the traditional Turkey & Ham; for me it can only be the best Pinot Noir you can afford. Pinot Noir has all the juicy cherry, raspberry and sometimes cranberry fruits with a touch of spicy, soft silky tannins allowing it to be a sublime wine for Christmas dinner. Push the boat out and go for The Crossings Pinot Noir or if you prefer the fruitier New Zealand style go for Santa Rita 120 Pinot Noir which is outrageously good value for money. If you prefer to drink white with the turkey, try a rich full Chardonnay like Indomita Gran Reserva Chardonnay from Chile.

Roast Duck
Big red such as Marques de Caceres Crianza from the Rioja or top new world red just as Chocolate Box Shiraz.
If you prefer white with duck, try an off dry Chenin Blanc from Drostdy-Hof.

Roast Beef
Shiraz, Cabernet or Tempranillo will do the trick. McGuigan Single Batch Shiraz, launched earlier this year as part of McGuigan’s new Single Batch Project range, made from specific parcels of Shiraz from vineyards across South Australia, or Vega Douro, this is a really interesting Portuguese red made from the same grapes used to produce port. So it’s really port with the sweetness, a big monster of a red which will cut thought the fat in the beef, yummy!

Lamb
Red Cabernet or Merlot-based wines work well with lamb; try Santa Rita National Gallery Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon or if you’re pushing the boat out, try Sartori Amarone, both wines will be exceptional. If you’re on a budget, try new McGuigan Black Label Malbec, it offers you simple blackberry fruits at an outstanding value.

Nut Roast
Medium priced red, Marques de la Concordia Tempranillo Rioja or Dona Paula Malbec will help this go down.

DESSERTS
Any one of a superb range of 1/2bts of dessert wine. Nederburg Late Harvest from South Africa £8.99, Tempus Two Botrytis Semillon £10.99 from Australia – the ultimate way to cleanse your palate at the end of a meal.

To finish off the meal
(finish you off also)
Retire to the sofa with a large glass Taylor’s LBV Port or if you’re pushing the boat out Taylor’s Vintage 2013 (Wine Spectator Top 100 wines for 2015)

St Stephen’s Day
Repeat as per Christmas Day.

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