Those who know me will tell you, I’m obsessed with wine. Red wine to be specific so I jumped at the chance to collaborate with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), who are the largest global provider of wine and spirits qualifications to bring you this post on the ’12 drinks of Christmas’, which is a helping hand for anyone struggling to know what wines to pair with what. I’m super excited because it’s a chance to share with you some of the amazing wine and spirits I’ve tasted over the last 12 months so let’s go!
On the first day of Christmas the WSET recommends to me… a glass of mulled wine.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a cup of warming mulled wine. Add a dollop of honey to sweeten to your taste, or slices of orange and lemon if you prefer something fruitier. Although the ready made ones also work a treat. I’d recommend Belvoir Mulled Winter Punch by Ocado; Tesco Mulled Wine – £3.50; Lidl Christkindl Mulled Wine -£4.49; and Sainsbury’s Mulled Wine – £4.25
On the second day of Christmas the WSET recommends to me … an Albariño.
For a really versatile Christmas white, try an Albariño from North West Spain. The grape’s natural acidity, ripe peach and pineapple flavours are equally enjoyable alone or when paired with a range of light dishes, including soft cheeses and dressed white fish. Id recommend Tesco Finest Albariño, Asda’s Signature Albarino and 2015 Albariño, Igrexario de Saiar, Bodega Sucesores de Benito Santos by Berry Bros & Rudd.
On the third day of Christmas the WSET recommends to me … a New Zealand Pinot Noir.
For those who aren’t fans of white, New Zealand Pinot Noir is a wonderfully fruity red which is perfect for starting off the Christmas meal. I’ll recommend Aldi’s New Zealand and Tesco Finest Marlborough Pinot Noir.
On the fourth day of Christmas the WSET recommends to me … a Moscow Mule.
This ginger beer and vodka cocktail is a perfect accompaniment to party canapés. Its powerful, distinctive taste means it can be drunk with a range of food, without being overwhelmed by anything spicy or strongly flavoured. I’ve tasted some amazing cocktails this year and I loved them all. I’d recommend Tesco Finest French Vodka, Lidl’s Putinoff Premium Vodka 5 times distilled at the amazing low price of £9.69 and the very versatile King’s Ginger from Berry Bros & Rudd.
On the fifth day of Christmas the WSET recommends to me … a Sauvignon Blanc.
A lovely accompaniment to a smoked salmon starter, Sauvignon Blanc’s fresh acidity cuts through the oil in the fish. Displaying crisp citrus flavours, the grape compliments salmon’s traditional lemon garnish, while the acidity in the food softens the wine, making it taste richer and fruiter. When it comes to Sauvignon Blanc, there are plenty to choose from. Lidl’s Cimarosa New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Domaine Cavalier Sauvignon Blanc from Ocado, Tesco’s Oxford Landing Sauvignon Blanc and Chilean Sauvignon Blanc from Aldi to mention a few.
On the sixth day of Christmas the WSET recommends to me … a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.
For any vegetarians at the table, a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon works well with a scrummy nut roast. Its rich flavours mean that it can stand up to this weighty dish, and its tannins will be softened by the salty roast. My recommendations are Aldi’s Cabernet Carmenere, Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon from Ocado, Tesco Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon and Lidl’s award-winning Reserva Privada Cabernet Sauvignon at just £5.49.
On the seventh day of Christmas the WSET recommends to me … an oaky Chardonnay.
Oaky Chardonnay had a bad rap for a while, but it’s rising in popularity again. The rich flavours in these wines compliment the buttery notes of the Christmas turkey and stand up to the stronger flavoured elements of the traditional meal, such as gravies and stuffing, making it a great white choice for the table. Try a Chardonnay from Tesco Finest Range, an equally good but cheaper Cimarosa Australian Chardonnay from Lidl or the Co-op’s Truly Irresistible Australian Chardonnay.
On the eighth day of Christmas the WSET recommends to me … a white wine spritzer.
For those looking for something a little more refreshing or low in alcohol to celebrate with, a white wine spritzer with a slice of orange and an ice cube or two is a delicious choice. Go for a fresh, unoaked style of white, white port and tonic also fits the bill – garnished with a sprig of mint and slice of lemon, this drink is making a comeback.
On the ninth day of Christmas the WSET recommends to me … a Beaujolais Cru
Wines from the 10 Beaujolais Crus are bursting with the fresh fruit flavours of the Gamay grape, complimenting pigs in blankets and cranberry sauces alike. While basic Beaujolais can get overwhelmed by the strong flavours of the Christmas meal, the Cru areas such as Fleurie and Moulin à Vent produce the best wines of the region – fuller in body, with more flavour intensity. Marks and Spencer, Morrisons and Tesco have an exquisite selection to choose from.
On the tenth day of Christmas the WSET recommends to me … a Sparkling Wine
With Prosecco in shorter supply this year and Champagne often proving too pricey for a large party, toast the festivities with a quality sparkling wine. There are a wide range from local supermarkets to suit every pocket. Lidl and Tesco have a wide range. While Berry Bros & Rudd have an exquisite collection to choose from as well.
On the eleventh day of Christmas the WSET recommends to me … a Bourbon Whiskey
For an indulgent, sippable after-dark drink, go for a measure of good quality Bourbon. Bourbons are full of smoke, vanilla, coconut and spice flavours from ageing in new, charred oak barrels. They’re surprisingly food friendly, matching well with chocolates and cheeses. Lidl’s Western Gold Bourbon Whisky is a favourite, so is Aldi’s Clarke’s Bourbon Whiskey. For big brands, Berry Bros & Rudd have a huge selection but their Texas Legation Batch No. 1, Texas Bourbon Whiskey is special.
On the twelfth day of Christmas the WSET recommends to me… Sherry!
Long a Christmas favourite, sherry is much more versatile than people think. A crisp, dry Fino sherry is a great aperitif wine with nuts, crisps and olives, while richer Oloroso sherries pair well with cured meats and cheeses. Waitrose, and Sainsbury’s have a huge selection of sweet sherry while Marks and Spencer have a selection of dry sherry worth checking out.