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Symposium's Christmas Pairings

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Symposium's Christmas Pairings

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This year's tasting guide for Christmas food pairings. Suggestions to spruce up your Christmas meals, impress your guests and have a memorable festive season. 

 

Turkey

Though not all turkey dishes are made the same, with different gravies, toppings, side dishes, here are a few wine suggestions from Symposium to help make your meal a treat.

A ripe fruity wine is normally a go to with turkey as the candied cherry, strawberry or cranberry help lift the flavours from the dish. However, when considering the gravy, a Spanish Garnacha would be an absolute winner as it fits the cranberry sauce tick box.

If you’re looking for a red alternative to the candied Garnacha then a Beaujolais would be a perfect match. The floral and herbaceous side to Beaujolais aid the meal if you are looking for that lighter, more elegant style with a good amount of acidity to refresh the palate. If you’re also wanting to reduce the after-meal siesta you’ll be pleased to know that Beaujolais is a lower alcohol, lower calorie choice.

For the darker meat found on turkey, as well as the stuffing, pair with more full-bodied and richer style of wine. Head to Italy as they have an exciting range of spice and fruit forward, juicy styles of wine. Either a Puglian full-bodied powerhouse or a slightly more elegant Tuscan wine would work well. Away from Italy, you’ll also see a beautiful paring with a refined style of wine from Rioja.

Lastly, Pinot Noir is the red wine go-to for Poultry, globally. For a lighter, more rustic style an Oregon Pinot Noir would be a great match as it enhances the roasted side accompaniments for the Turkey. However, if you’re more for the richer styles, then look for the Patagonian Pinot Noir or for that special Christmas treat; A Felton Road, New Zealand, Pinot Noir.  

Wines we stock and for you to consider:

 

  • (Spain) Mesta Organic Garnacha from Spain at £9.50
  • (Beaujolais) Chateau Cambon Beaujolais at £15.25
  • (Beaujolais) Olivier Ravier Fleurie at £14.50
  • (Burgundy) Vignerons de Buxy "Buissonnier" Cote Chalonnaise at £14.95
  • (Puglia) San Marzano “Collezione Cinquanta” at £22
  • (Puglia) San Marzano “Talo” Malvasia Nera at £13.50
  • (Tuscan) Tentuta San Guido “Le Difese” at £18.50
  • (Rioja) La Rioja Alta “Vina Alberdi” Reserva at £18.75
  • (Patagonia) Aniello 006 Pinot Noir at £14
  • (Oregon) Sokol Blosser Evolution Pinot Noir: £21.25
  • (New Zealand) Felton Road Range at £34 - £47.50

  

Goose

If you’re venturing away from the Christmas turkey classic, you’ll want to make sure that your wine pairs perfectly with your dish to really enhance the experience. A point worth noting is that goose is a much fattier meat than turkey, so wines with higher levels of acidity work wonders to help lift the meal.

For the white wine styles, acidity isn’t hard to find. A great choice for that apple or nutty stuffing would be a clean, mineral focused Riesling. Riesling is ideal as the acidity cuts through the fat as well as providing a slight hint of sweetness to contribute to the richness of the meat (The wine is still dry!).

Another white alternative to Riesling would be a Gewürztraminer. It’s a bolder choice and not always to everyone’s taste, however, if you’re having a slightly spicier stuffing or accompaniment to the Goose then a Gewürztraminer is a perfect match. Wines expressing dry fruits / white stone fruits / floral / ginger notes is a good starting point.

Away from the white wines, the red wine styles should be focused on being rich to enhance the richness of the meat whilst also expressing a clean, acidic structure to help cut the fat. Both acidity and structure help with this type of meat. This is what makes Barolo a beautiful pairing with a Christmas goose, whilst also being an impressive “special occasion” wine. 

Rioja also does the job if you’re looking to pair a wine with the rich veg such as sweet potato or red cabbage as well as the rich flavour of the meat. However, try not to aim towards the big and powerful Riojas… The silkier and more fruit driven styles is a winner with this dish.

Pinot Noir, again, steals the show as being the go-to wine for Poultry. For the richer styles, then look for the Patagonian Pinot Noir or for that special Christmas treat; Felton Road, New Zealand, Pinot Noir 

Wines we stock and for you to consider:

 

  • (Alsace, France) Domaine Boeckel Riesling at £12.50
  • (Germany) Dreissigacker Organic Estate Riesling at £15.50
  • (Australia) Peter Lehmann ‘Wigan’ Riesling at £16
  • (Alsace) Cave de Hunawihr Gewürztraminer at £14.95
  • (Italy) Cantina Tramin Gewürztraminer at £16.50
  • (Rioja) La Rioja Alta “Vina Alberdi” Reserva at £18.75
  • (Italy) San Silvestro “Patres” Barolo at £24
  • (Patagonia) Aniello 006 Pinot Noir at £14
  • (New Zealand) Felton Road Range at £34 - £47.50

 

Vegetarian / Nut Roast 

Nut roast is becoming a popular vegetarian alternative to the conventional roast. The savoury flavours aim to satisfy a meat substitute/alternative. These roasts tend to work best with full-bodied styles of wine, whilst considering the vegetable and gravy accompaniments.

To start of the pairing, a popular choice would be a robust style of wine. These tend to come from regions such as the Rhone Valley or Languedoc regions. Consisting of mainly Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault. These robust wines work well with the intense nutty characteristics that the nut roast offers.

Many nut roasts contain cheese or cheese alternatives, so in this case, this works perfectly with Cabernet Sauvignon. Look for a Cab with a few years on to aim at a full-bodied wine with a slightly lower hit of tannins. The age with also help with the dried fruit characters, perfect matches with nut roasts (Fruit & Nut). 

If your nut roast contains mushrooms then an aged Pinot Noir will work perfectly with this as aged Pinot’s tend to express forest floor / earthy notes and in this case, for that special Christmas treat, Felton Road, New Zealand, Pinot Noir steals the show again. 

White wines also match well with nut roasts. Aim for the oaked or more robust styles of white wines that stray away from the conventional fresh fruit palate. A great example would be either a White Rioja or Dry Tokaji. If you after that slightly richer style of white wine, aim for a Burgundian style white, or for a crazy alternative Burgundian style… Go for a Tenerife White.

Wines we stock and for you to consider:

 

  • (Rhone) Moulin des Chenes Lirac at £14.25
  • (Rhone) Domaine Belle Crozes-Hermitage “Les Pierrelles” at £20.25
  • (Bordeaux, Cabernet) Chateau Dufilhot Cotes de Bordeaux at £14.75
  • (Bordeaux, Cabernet) Chateau de Pez St Estephe at £36.75
  • (Argentina, Cabernet) Vina Cobos “Felino” Cabernet Sauvignon at £15
  • (New Zealand) Felton Road Range at £34 - £47.50
  • (White Rioja, Spain) Pharos White Rioja at £9.50
  • (Dry Tokaji, Hungary) Chteau Dereszla Dry Tokaji at £13.75
  • (Burgundy) Vignerons de Buxy “Bruissonnier” Cote Chalonnaise at £14.25
  • (Burgundy) Jean-Claude Boisset Macon-Ige “Chateau London” at £21.50
  • (Tenerife) Viñátigo Vijariego Blanco at £23

 

Cheese Boards

Wine and cheese, together, have always been thought of as one of life’s great culinary pleasures. However, there is much to consider when choosing a wine for the right cheese. From a wine’s perspective having the correct acidity, tannins, texture and sweetness will make or break a cheese pairing.

We can break down the cheese selection into six different sections: Hard, Semi-Soft, Fresh, Bloom, Blue and Rind.


Hard Cheese: The cheese can crumble and break into pieces, normally one that has been aged. You tend to get complex savoury characteristics, nutty-ness and even a salty aspect. We would recommend a traditional-method sparkling wine, if you can get a vintage traditional method…even better. For red wine pairings in this style, you’re looking for boldness. Nebbiolo/Sangiovese, Rioja, Bordeaux Blends. However, a classic pairing would also be Amontillado Sherry, to really bring out that nutty characteristic.

Wines we stock and for you to consider:

 

  • (Hard Cheese, Sparkling) Famille Moutard Blanc de Blanc at £13.50
  • (Hard Cheese, Vintage Sparkling) Ayala Brut Majeur at £32.75
  • (Hard Cheese, English Sparkling) Hindleap Classic Cuvée at £26.95
  • (Hard Cheese, Italian Red) San Silvestro “Brumo” Nebbiolo D’Alba at £13.50
  • (Hard Cheese, Bordeaux) Chateau Caugin Pauilla at £32.95
  • (Hard Cheese, Rioja) La Rioja Alta “Vina Alberdi” Reserva at £18.75
  • (Hard Cheese, Sherry) Valdespino Tio Diego Single Vineyard Amontillado, £21.50

 

Semi-soft Cheese: A cheese that doesn’t crumble nor does it spread. It leans towards a mild style that is creamy and is ideal to melt; Gouda for example. For the white wines, you would need a dry style that is partial to oak. A White Rioja, or our Dry Furmint Tokaji for the clean dry styles. We suggest Mâcon for the touch of oak or the Ad-Hoc Chardonnay from Australia. For the red wines, rustic Rhone, Chianti, Corbières or Young Bordeaux pair perfectly. These wines tend to be lighter with some grip to help tie the pairing together.

Wines we stock and for you to consider:

 

  • (Semi-Soft, White Rioja) Pharos White Rioja at £9.50
  • (Semi-Soft, Dry Tokaji) Chteau Dereszla Dry Tokaji at £13.75
  • (Semi-Soft, Slight Oak) Jean-Claude Boisset Macon-Ige “Chateau London” at £21.50
  • (Semi-Soft, Slight Oak) Ad Hoc “Hen and Chicken” Chardonnay at £16.50
  • (Semi-Soft, Rhone) Moulin des Chenes Lirac at £14.25
  • (Semi-Soft, Rhone) Domaine Belle Crozes-Hermitage “Les Pierrelles” at £20.25
  • (Semi-Soft, Chianti) Innocenti Chianti Colli Senesi at £13.25
  • (Semi-soft, Corbieres) Ollieux Romanis Lo Petit Fantet d’Hippolyte (Tractor), £11.75
  • (Semi-soft, Bordeaux) Chateau Dufilhot Cotes de Bordeaux at £14.75

 

Fresh Cheese: Rind-less and is either from a cow, sheep or goat. There is no aging and they display a slight sour/tangy taste. It is a creamy style where goats cheese holds the spot at the top of the soft-cheese list. However, Feta and Mozzarella also fall into the soft-cheese category. For white wines, we recommend a crisp style that ranges from dry to off-dry depending on the sweetness and saltiness of the cheese. A Soave, Albariño or old world Sauvignon Blanc would fit the dry styles perfect. For the off-dry wines, an Alsatian Gewürztraminer or Riesling would be a great pair for the slightly saltier soft-cheese styles. For the reds, choose an un-oaked wine - let the fruit of the wine do the talkin. A fresh Pinot Noir would do the trick, whilst Gamay can work as well.

Wines we stock and for you to consider:

 

  • (Fresh, Soave) Ca’ Rugate “San Michele” Soave Classico at £12.95
  • (Fresh, Albariño) Alba Martin Albariño at £13.75
  • (Fresh, Sancerre) Domain Fernand Girard Sancerre at £16.50
  • (Fresh, Gewürztraminer) Cave de Hunawihr Gewürztraminer at £14.95
  • (Fresh, Riesling) Domaine Boeckel Riesling at £12.50
  • (Fresh, Pinot Noir) Santa Macarena Pinot Noir at £10.25
  • (Fresh, Pinot Noir) Felton Road Range at £34 - £47.50
  • (Fresh, Gamay) Olivier Ravier Fleurie at £14.50

 

Bloomy Cheese: they get their name for the white mould which occurs on the outside of the cheese. They are strong and rich in taste, as well as being labelled the creamiest of all the cheese styles. Classic examples are Brie, Camembert and Robiola. There are many different pairing with this cheese style as they carry many characteristic from other cheese styles. For the white, you can pair with a traditional method sparkling to break up the creamy texture, an unoaked dry white such as a Chablis, a slightly reserved Sauvignon Blanc such as a Sancerre, a dry Chenin Blanc such as a Vouvray, or a bolder style white varietal blend such as a Marsanne and Rousanne. For the reds, a young, un-oaked, fruity style is recommended. Again, Pinot Noir would be a perfect match. Touching into Gamay or even a Barbera. A classic pairing would tend towards the sparkling style wine or a Sancerre.

Wines we stock and for you to consider:

 

  • (Bloom, Vintage Sparkling) Ayala Brut Majeur at £32.75
  • (Bloom, English Sparkling) Hindleap Classic Cuvée at £26.95
  • (Bloom, Chablis) Gerard Tremblay Chablis at £16.75
  • (Bloom, Sancerre) Domain Fernand Girard Sancerre at £16.50
  • (Bloom, Vouvray) Chateau Monocontour Vouvray Sec at £14.25
  • (Bloom, White Blend) John Duval “Plexus” MRV at £22.25
  • (Bloom, Pinot Noir) Felton Road Range at £34 - £47.50
  • (Bloom, Gamey) Olivier Ravier Fleurie at £14.50
  • (Bloom, Barbera) Michele Chiarlo “Palás” Barbera d’Asti at £14.50

 

Blue Cheese: these can be over-powering with high levels of salinity. They can range from soft to crumbly and vary in sharpness and mildness. Match with a Sweet or Fortified Wine to balance the sweet and salty characteristics. For the whites, either a noble-rot wine such as a Tokaji or a cleaner sweet wine style such as the Mulderbosch Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa. For the reds… Port.

Wines we stock and for you to consider:

 

  • (Blue, Tokaji) Chateau Dereszla Tokaji Aszu at £26.50 / 500ml
  • (Blue, South Africa) Mulderbosch Late Harvest Sauvignon at £19.25 / 500ml
  • (Blue, Port) Taylor’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Port at £22.25 / 750ml
  • (Blue, Port) Vista Alegre 20-Year-Old Tawny Port at £39.50 / 750ml

 

Rind Cheese: this style is often washed/bathed in brine/beer. The iconic orange rind holds a delicate and creamy interior where the flavour tends to be of a milder character. Often, they give off a pungent smell once exposed. This is an opportunity to treat yourself to some sparkling wine. White wine styles would be a slight off-dry wine from Alsace or Germany as well as a blend of Marsanne and Rousanne. For the red wines, a Beaujolais would pair perfectly. A slightly aged Pinot Noir is also a good pair.

Wines we stock and for you to consider:

 

  • (Rind, English Sparkling) Wiston Blanc de Blanc at £28.50
  • (Rind, Argentinian Sparkling) Vida Organica Sparkling Chardonnay at £15.75
  • (Fresh, Gewürztraminer) Cave de Hunawihr Gewürztraminer at £14.95
  • (Fresh, Riesling) Domaine Boeckel Riesling at £12.50
  • (Bloom, White Blend) John Duval “Plexus” MRV at £22.25
  • (Bloom, Pinot Noir) Cave de Ribeauville Pinot Noir at £20.25
  • (Bloom, Pinot Noir) Felton Road Range at £34 - £47.50

 

Sweet Dishes / Desserts 

Pair the sweetness of the wine to the sweetness of the meal, or even, a cleaner more acidic style of dessert wine will help avoid cloying the mouth. Look for flavours that complement each other. A rule of thumb that is widely thought of is that the wine should be at least as sweet as the dessert, however, there needs to be that acidity present in the dessert wine to be able to control the possibility of a sugar overload. Match the weight of the food with the weight of the wine.

There are many different dessert styles ranging from fruity to dense, rich to clean. However, don’t let this confuse you. A good plan is to think what accompaniments to the dessert would be. For example, apple and pastry or chocolate and red fruits (cherry, strawberry). This principle can be used in the paring of desserts and wine.

A light puff-pastry dish can be paired with a light late-harvest wine to keep hold of the freshness of the dish. A dark chocolate pudding can be paired with the Quady Elysium Black Muscat dessert wine.

Wines we stock and for you to consider:

 

  • (Citrus Desserts) Quady “Essensia” Orange Muscat at £13.95 / 375ml
  • (Chocolate Desserts) Quady “Elysium” Black Muscat at £13.95 / 375ml
  • (Apple Tart / Pastry) Chateau Filhot “Gold Reserve” Sauternes at £14.95 / 750ml
  • (Light Dessert) Mulderbosch Late Harvest Sauvignon at £19.25 / 500ml
  • (General All-Rounder) Chateau Dereszla Tokaji Aszu at £26.50 / 500ml
  • (Creamy Desserts) Dandelion “Legacy of Australia” PX at £17.75 / 375ml
  • (Nutty Desserts) Valdespino Tio Diego Single Vineyard Amontillado, £21.50

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