Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Wines Fit for a Feast

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Wines Fit for a Feast

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew Neather

THERE'S a lot of rubbish talked about food and wine matching. I blame the Californians, mostly. In controlled restaurant conditions where a chef and a sommelier collaborate to create tastes matched to particular wines, maybe. But what wine can stand up to the combined assault of turkey and all the trimmings?

Decanter magazine conducted an intriguing test recently, matching a full Christmas dinner to wines. Pinot noir, often viewed as a classic choice with turkey, did poorly. To the experts' surprise, a white Burgundy came out best -- but only narrowly, and the scores were pretty mixed.

The lesson: if you're eating turkey, drink whatever you feel like -- but it's probably better to pick something robust. On Christmas Day I will be eating goose with CVNE's beautifully balanced Imperial Rioja Reserva 2004 (Waitrose, Berry Bros, from [pounds sterling]21.99).

For the classic seasonal choice of smoked salmon, I would go for a chablis such as Julien Brocard's Quintessence Mineral Rive 2008, Chablis 1er Cru, supremely elegant, stony and mineral (Tesco, [pounds sterling]15.99). If I'm drinking a sauvignon blanc with salmon -- or as an aperitif -- I prefer it light and mineral. Astrolabe Discovery Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Awatere Valley fits the bill: herbaceous, elegant and for me about as good as New Zealand sauvignon gets (Waitrose, [pounds sterling]15.99).

A more unusual white choice would be Austrian gruner veltliner. For an idea of how serious gruner can be, try Salomon Undhof Gruner Veltliner Von Stein Reserve 2009, Kremstal: rich, expressive and long (Lea & Sandeman, [pounds sterling]23.50 or [pounds sterling]20.95 in a mixed case of 12). The same producer's more affordable Hochterrassen 2009 ([pounds sterling]9.95) is fresher and fruitier but still delightful.

For a grander white burgundy, Vincent Girardin Le Limozin 2009, Meursault is as good as you'll find at this price: toasty oak and creamy fruit (Waitrose, reduced from [pounds sterling]29.99 to [pounds sterling]23.99 until Jan 3). But if I were drinking white with Christmas dinner, I would go for more power: try Domaine Fontanel Blanc 2010, Cotes du Roussillon. …

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