29 November 2007
By Douglas Blyde
Rather than mulling unwanted dinner party bottles into clove-scented submission, I recommend liquid extravagance at Christmas.
For an aperitif with bite, drizzle a little Lemsip scented, nitrogen cold Italian Limoncello into blotter dry Champagne.
If Turkey graces your tabletop, try a nervy, lightly chilled Pinot Noir. I recommend Simonnet-Febvre's thrillingly mineralic, bright berry perfumed Irancy from the often overlooked, but impressive town of Auxerre, near Chablis (£9, Waitrose) This plucky translucent red, with few tea-like tannins and refreshingly mouth-watering acidity will accompany, but never overwhelm the delicate white meat. For goose, tame this juicy fowl with a substantial, buttery, dirty weekend of a wine - Ramey, Hudson Vineyard Chardonnay from relatively cool clime Carneros, California. Full, tropically-inclined, not exactly sleek, nor obese, but definitely overweight, with a slight spritz on the final palate. Sadly, at £34, posh oaked opulence does not come cheap.
If roast beef, Ridge will provide a deft alternative to dusty Bordeaux. Their Lytton Springs Zinfandel (£24.50, also Berry Bros.) has lean, alcoholic fronds, a ripe medley of bramble fruits and delicate tannins to soothe the meat.
Instead of dark port, sip nitrogen cold tawny with Christmas pudding. The contrast of temperature and texture should delight, proving a more refreshing match than the traditional heavy red. Taylor's cashew and fig scented 10 year-old is a personal favourite (£16.99, Majestic).
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