Christmas is fast approaching and the festive mood is certainly starting to take effect in l’Art du Vin HQ – although the less said about our logistics assistant Lee’s renditions of Michael Buble’s yuletide classics the better!
As the pre-festive rush begins, over the next few weeks we aim to assist you with one of the trickier Christmas decisions, that of which wines to select as an accompaniment to the numerous Christmas meals we will sit down to over the coming month.
This week we begin by looking at wine options for traditional starters, selected by members of our staff.
Philippe: Smoked Salmon
“To complement a smoked salmon dish, it is best to select a wine that has good acidity. This enables the wine to deal with the oil and fat of the fish, much the same way that many people use a dash of lemon – in order to cleanse the palate.”
“Personally, my top picks would be either Champagne or Chablis. Both are high in acidity and are also medium-bodied, thus ensuring they match the salmon’s weight.”
Brut Tradition NV, Champagne Janisson et Fils, Champagne, France - £30.30
Chablis Domaine de la Meulière, Burgundy, France 2014 - £15.30
Richard: Prawns, Shellfish
“When picking wine to drink with prawns or shellfish, I think it is best to select those that possess depth and breadth of flavours, as often these dishes will be cooked with butter, garlic and a number of other flavours like parsley, basil. Grape varieties such as Viognier or Gavi are perfect for this situation.”
“If you are eating seafood that is grilled, then you have to contend with the added complexity of the smoky, chargrilled flavours. With grilled scallops, for example, I would opt for a richer, fuller white, something like our Albariño from Bodegas Terras Gauda.”
Gavi de Gavi Monserito, Tenuta Carretta, Piemonte, Italy 2014 - £14
Bodegas Terras Gauda, Albariño Abadia de San Campio, Rias Baixas, Spain 2014 - £15.20
“Due to the fact that most patés are relatively fatty, it is best to select wines that come with some acidity: an Alsace Pinot Gris or Riesling would be perfect. Gewurztraminer also provides an interesting match, the spicy dimension of this grape variety helping to bring to life the terrine and match flavours of pickles or chutneys.”
“If you fancy being more adventurous, try a light red containing plenty of berry fruit flavours. When served slightly chilled, these flavours will complement the paté excellently. My tip would be a Beaujolais!”
“If you are having a heavier paté such as Foie Gras, the wine will require increased richness and acidity. In this instance, a sweet wine such as a Sauternes is the perfect, and classic, accompaniment.”
Gewurztraminer Tradition, Domaine Albert Mann, Alsace, France 2013 - £20
Riesling Mehrlein Edelmann Trocken, Rheingau, Germany 2013 - £12.90
Château Filhot (Half bottle), Sauternes, France 2009 - £22