“Baby it’s cold outside”. It’s no secret that the Christmas season is upon us, and it’s time to warm our bellies with comfort food, and enjoy indulging in some luxurious wines (with the added bonus of warming our hearts and souls with the company of loved ones).
I don’t think anyone will disagree that this is an intensely busy time of year. You’re ticking off items on your Christmas list, hunting down that one elusive gift your child has requested from Santa, or hopping from one festive function to another.
You really don’t need the added anxiety of deciding what wine will pair perfectly with your immense Christmas Day feast…in which the main attraction will be a big, mouthwateringly fresh roasted turkey.
Let us take a bit of that holiday-induced stress off your shoulders by offering some of our favourite tips for a successful pairing of bird and brew.
Rosè makes a beautiful pairing with a rich Turkey dinner. If you’re worried about the intensity of a powerful, tannin-loaded Red…but conversely concerned that White won’t offer enough depth, or character…Rosè falls in between those extremes.
Rosè has enough acidity to cut through the richness of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, but also offers a perfect hint of crisp, sweet fruitiness, to compliment bold holiday flavours. *Bonus* Rosès are younger wines and, therefore, are usually a bargain compared to most Reds.
Chardonnay may be the traditional “stand-by” of white wines. However, the intensity and oakiness don’t make this White the best choice for a rich Christmas turkey feast. Instead, many sommeliers (professional wine serving and pairing experts) suggest providing a White that is tangy, refreshing and fruity.
Here are a few great Whites to look for at your local liquor distributor:
- Riesling – sweet, spicy, fruity flavours with a floral aroma and touches of peachy, apricot goodness.
- Gewurztraminer – spiced, highly aromatic, wine with a touch of floral and nutmeg or cloves.
- Sauvignon Blanc – higher acidity, crisp and light, with a hint of “grassy” or “herby” flavours.
To successfully pair a Red with your Turkey dinner you’ll want to look for a wine that offers fruity flavours that complement the autumn spices on your table, but also offers a slight earthiness to accompany your rich, buttery gravy.
A few great Reds that pair beautifully with Turkey are:
- Zinfandel – a bold, rich wine that pairs well with dark turkey meat, and will amplify spices such as clove, cinnamon and all-spice.
- Pinot Noir – the acidity of this fine wine offers a pop of fresh, fruity tartness to lighten up a heavy meal. The vibrant flavours of juicy red, black cherry and berry fruits enlivens and enhances the succulence of your turkey and “fixings”.
- Beaujolais – fruity and not heavy on tannins, light bodied but with lots of flavour. The savoury and earthy qualities of this Red balance Christmas feasts that offer high sweetness factors (yams, etc.).
In summary, you want a wine with a good amount of acidity to cleanse the palette of the battery of flavours found on the Christmas table. A touch of sweetness from fruity flavours is also key to balance the intensity of the meal and compliment the “sides” (i.e. cranberry sauce). And…to insure you offer your guests a luscious and healthy turkey…come and see us for a fresh, JD Farms Specialty turkey (our fresh turkey will keep in your refrigerator for 4-5 days).