Christmas dinner doesn’t stop with your main meaty centrepiece. A good choice of wine will really top off your meal. But what to choose? Well, according to Matt, manager of Zacry’s, it all depends on what your roast joint is and personal taste.
And you don’t have to spend a fortune. A £20 bottle won’t break the bank but is also still a treat. When it comes to food and wine pairing, a good rule of thumb is to drink wines from the same country as the food. Think BBQ’s and Australian wines, a big juicy beef steak and an Argentinian red, pasta and pizza with Italian wines.
But, a common misconception is that white wine goes well with white meat, and red wine with red meat. What you also need to consider is what the meat (or fish) is served with; the sauce, the vegetables, they all play a big part. Consider the dominant flavour of the dish and pair with that. But most importantly choose what you like. Everybody’s palate is different.
Why bother matching food to wine?
A good wine choice that compliments your dish will bring more flavour out of the food and round out your meal. Likewise, the food you eat will enhance the flavours of the wine. Sipping on wine between each course and mouthful will also clean the palette and help you to savour your food.
Turkey and chicken
Normally, there is a lot that goes with the turkey; cranberry sauce which is very sweet, vegetables, potatoes and gravy. You can be flexible and pair it with white, red, or even nice American Zinfandel Rose. Just make sure you do not choose a wine that is high in tannin, as that can make the turkey taste dry.
Rather, go for a lighter red like a Pinot Noir such as Yealands Black Label Pinot Noir from Malborough, New Zealand, which is on the menu at Zacry’s. In America it is tradition to drink Beaujolais Nouveau with the Thanksgiving Turkey, as Thanksgiving is a week after Beaujolais Nouveau is released. The light fruity red does not overpower the turkey, but make sure you serve it slightly chilled. We’d recommend the Le Cave Du Château De Chénas Fleurie from Beaujolais, France.
If you prefer white wine, a Viognier pairs well with turkey or chicken. Try De Gras Viognier Reserva 2012, Colchagua Valley, Chile, at Zacry’s.
Duck and goose
Duck is a fatty meat and has rich, gamey flavours, so it’s best to look for a white wine with good acidity, or a wine which will balance the flavour rather than overpower it. At Zacry’s, we’re serving the Loimer “Lois” Grüner Veltliner 2012, Kamptal, Austria, which has great mineral tones. The Gruner Veltner is the signature grape of Austria, and by far the nation’s most widely planted wine grape.
If you prefer a full bodied richer wine, try the dry Mad Fish Great Southern Riesling, Western Australia, and the Lani Gewurztraminer 2012, Marlborough, New Zealand. Alternatively, Running With Bulls from South Australia is a Tempranillo – the principle red grape from Rioja, but not actually a Rioja – is great.
The perfect pairing wine will be dependent on the type of fish you’re eating. White fish such as sea bass or John Dory need a delicate wine like a Picpoul de pinet – a bone-dry wine. Stronger fish such as salmon or oily fish would benefit from a fuller bodied wine with good acidity like an Albarino or Sancerre like the Sancerre Domaine Neveu, France which we serve in Zacry’s. You don’t have to stick to white, why not try a Beaujolais, Sancerre Rouge or a light Pinot Noir as a great alternative, also delightful served lightly chilled.
Beef flavours are more robust than other meats so you need a fuller bodied red to match the flavour South America, Argentina in particular offer great value reds, ideal pairings for red meats. Try the Pulenta La Flor Malbec 2013, Mendoza, Argentina at Zacry’s, one of the country’s most exciting reds, or the Heartland, Shiraz, Langhorne Creek, South Australia, which has masses of black fruits, red currants and spice on the nose.
Veal needs something more subtle with less tannin, but probably still a red wine – try a fruity Merlot or lighter bodied Pinot Noir. Alternatively if you like white, we love the Bodegas Valmiñor Albariño, Rías Baixas, Spain or a full bodied Sauvignon.
New Years Eve
On New Year’s Eve, why not start early with a brunch. And nothing says ‘brunch’ more than bubbly. Veuve Cliquot Champagne would be our choice as it goes well with all things sweet, as well as salty foods like smoked salmon and scrambled eggs.