Anyone over the age of 25 I am sure will be able to relate to this scenario: Christmas Day starts with a headache from the Christmas Eve night before and trying to mend it as quickly as possible by filing up with sugar from that traditionally large box of Quality Streets. But when you finally get to your relatives for that long awaited annual lunch whilst dressed in that traditional Christmas jumper that’s making you really itch!
I am pretty sure that I don’t need to describe the rest of that day. We have all been there and we have all probably experienced the special kind of wonderful that can only be a traditional British Christmas!
So, what do you do when it comes to dinner? Well, again I remember starting with a prawn cocktail, followed by homemade soup and a traditional roast turkey with all the trimmings. Once we even had Yorkshires! There was always the dog hiding under the table hovering up all the unwanted sprouts. Then how do you finish, a traditional cheesecake, pavlova or your aunts very special homemade trifle?
I have to say, spending my youth working in hospitality was like a special kind of Christmas miracle. Not that ever didn’t want to spend time with anyone, but the hassle, the raised voices of excitement and stress, Grandad sleeping. Sometimes you just need to have a quiet one whilst hiding at work! It was always a fun time, but you do also get a bit sick of roast turkey dinners by the time 25th December comes around.
Now that life has moved on and I have become a specialist organic retailer who now gets to relish in the eccentricities of Christmas Day, how am I going to celebrate?
The most straightforward answer is with organic champagne, organic wines, organic port and organic beers! Possibly going slightly over the board with filing the organic drinks cabinet, but I cannot wait to explore this!
Even more so, I want to consider traditional Christmas staples and serving them with wines that have the added benefit of having no added sulphites. Even as a very well-known day for over-indulgence, please do not forget that the word should be, in lots of senses, moderation! Not that I much like following the rules.
Breakfast time on Christmas day, will always and forever be the one day you are never get breakfast in bed. Skipping breakfast as I do most days is never a good thing, but I will make sure to add this to my day with some scrambled eggs on a toasted bagel with smoked salmon. Did someone mention the countdown to the big day! Perhaps with some super chilled Era Prosecco is in order!
So, what will I take round to my friend’s house for the big lunch? Sadly, as the ‘wine shop guy’ of my group, I am probably always going to be the designated guy to sort out the wine. Well I suppose it saves me from cooking or helping in the kitchen, at all! Starting with something that’s an absolute favourite of mine, Era Prosecco. I have honestly been in love with this stuff since the first time I tried it and with very good reason! For me, prosecco is so cheaply mass produced these days that there is been nothing around in the mainstream that shines and makes my heart leap. I know that all my friends have tried this prosecco, to be honest, I take it everywhere and I know they all love it too. So, in that case I mean, if it ain’t broke and all that. Think apple and zest, with minimal sweetness and a delicate creaminess in the finish. Kicking off the festivities with this organic prosecco is probably going to get me the best gifts too!
There is always someone: I can’t drink this, or I don’t like that! Trying to take into consideration that this is the day of over-indulgence, what about a traditional red and white organic wine crowd pleaser that’s has a low alcohol level?
Angiolino Maule is an interesting winemaker, he has created a range of wines that are for me just amazing! But then again, he does also happen to be the President of the Italian Natural Winemaking Association, so I suppose he does have to work hard to set a good example. His Masieri white wine is made predominantly from Garganega grapes, has no sulphites added and has extremely low residual sugars. It has some incredible stone and orchard fruits flavours with a resounding lightness that at only 12% ABV is incredibly surprising.
Let's also consider adding another exceptional wine with all French fanciness of Sauvignon Blanc. Redentore Sauvignon Blanc doesn’t just add that sparkle, but also some surprise as it’s a very interesting Venetian wine.
Mainly though people want red in my friend circle. So how do you find just one wine to try and please everyone. In my case you don’t. I always take 2 bottles of everything, because I know better and I really don’t want to help in the kitchen!
I am considering a traditional Spanish red wineand maybe something slightly less traditional as a French Malbec and an Italian native wine.
Looking at the three in the special and traditional sense, Familia Pacheco is just gorgeous if you desperately want that Sunday lunch kind of wine, full bodied and rich in dark fruits flavours. It will match anything red or white in your dining table.
Then again what about something even more traditional, Chateau du Cedre, French Malbec from the classic home of the very special South American grape itself. This wine has all the flavours and textures that you would expect from your typical Malbec with the grandeur you would expect from a French fancy wine!
How about something random to throw into the mix, Nero di Troia is a fabulous Italian grape that presses into the most interesting and minerally rich wine, Antica Enotria, that will compliment every aspect of your side dishes, including thick gravy, perfectly roasted potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and, dare I say, chipolatas wrapped in bacon!
Well you know the time, you are too full, so dessert will have to wait. Let’s also not forget, its 3pm its time for the Queens Speech. Everyone is gathered around the television as we listen to our regal and honourable Head of State address the nation in a level of splendour that can only be matched by everyone wearing those itchy jumpers, Christmas socks and you smaller relatives in there upcoming Sunday best!
Then when dessert does come around, you know that time of the day when granpa needs to be woken up, again, and you know exactly what time it is, it’s time for that lovely trifle. The lovely Christmas day special. Well absolutely not for me, give me a normal Christmas Pudding any day! So, is here a better way to end a traditional Christmas Day lunch than with an exceptional English wine? English wines have been so insanely up and coming in recent years that we have a very special white from the Davenport range that is crisp and dry with delicate gooseberry and green mineral flavours that it is just very possibly the most top-notch way to round of the perfect traditional Christmas Day Lunch.
But just in case that’s not enough, we have an exceptional Rioja that will match almost any flavoursome cheese! Intense red fruits balanced with a silky smooth oaky texture, what’s not too love?
So, there you have it, my suggestions for some awesome wines to go with your traditional, if not almost retro Christmas Day Lunch. As I mentioned, there’s a reason I look after everyone so well with the wine and that’s to stay out of the kitchen. As one of the best theoretical chefs in the world I am terrible at practical kitchen skills. So, to save you the stress on the day, any recipes here are all from a much more logical and reliable source, but I have also created a special traditional festive wine case if you want to follow my suggestions.
Merry Christmas everyone!