Judith Dunlop, sommelier at The Seafood Restaurant, St Andrews, pulls the cork on the best wines and sparklers for Christmas.
Fish is traditional for Christmas Eve and Judith suggests keeping it simple.
Alternatively try a great value, easy-drinking Alberiño, from Rias Baxis, in North West Spain, such as Martin Codax (Majestic, £12.99), it’s simply made for fish.
Complete the meal with a fabulous blue veined cheese, such as a Dunsire Blue, Stilton, or Strathdon Blue and a glass of tawny port, or one of the fabulous red wines from The Douro, such as Neiport’s invitingly named DrinkMe (Corks Out, £12.99).”
Champagne cocktails are a must on Christmas Day, says Judith (see cockatail recipes below).
“In The Seafood Restaurant, our house champagne is Delamotte (Majestic, £9.99), the little sister of Salon, at The Laurent Perrier House. I also like Piper Heidsieck (widely avail £30.00) and there are many great sparklers from the Southern Hemisphere worth trying; Graham Beck, from South Africa (Waitrose, £13.99), Green Point, from Moet et Chandon, in the Yarra Valley, (Majestic, £14.99) or Janz, from Tasmania – the home of Australian fizz (Oddbinns, £15.25).”
Christmas dinner is traditionally turkey, or possibly goose and white wine would be the natural choice. However Judith issues a word of caution:
“Please steer clear of New Zealand Sauvignon – yes, I know everyone likes them, but why not try something built for gamier birds: a white Rhone – a savoury Lirac, like Domaine Maby La Fermade Blanc 2012 (YAPP Bros, £10.50). Or a subtle, yet complex white Chateau-Neuf-du-Pape, perhaps Les Fussiers White 2012 (M&S, £17.99) – its slight mushroomy overtones bring out the rich savouriness of the bird.”
If you prefer red, Judith suggests Pinot Noir.
“There are great Pinots coming out of the New World and most people look to Central Ortago, in New Zealand…. good advice will ultimately direct you to Felton Road Bannockburn 2012 (Berry Brothers and Rudd, £38)”
Other highly recommended reds include:
Back in the Old World, Judith says;
“You could look to France, with a simple Cote de Beaune Village 2009, Olivier Leflaive, (Corney & Barrow, £18.75), or push the boat out and indulge yourself with a red Burgundy with slightly more finesse, such as a Mercurey, a Marsannay, or a Nuits-St.George, or perhaps even a super light and fruity Fleurie”
Conclude the Christmas feast with Judith’s recommended desert wines that she says are just made for Christmas pudding.
“South African, Klien Constancia’s, legendary Vin de Constance (Majestic, £35) ages for many years and gains marmalade and Christmas pudding notes, in the process. At The Seafood Restaurant we also serve Yalumba’s Museum Muscat, (Virign Wines, £13.99) – insanely good value considering that it has spent 21 years in the Solara system.”
Fixing your Champagne Cocktails
Classic Kir Royale
1tsp Creme de Cassis topped-up with a champagne of your choice.
Alternatively substitute the Cassis with grenadine. Or for a Christmas twist add 2 thirds champagne to one third pomegranate.
Mix equal measures of stout and champagne.
“At The Seafood Restaurant, we make a Bob’s Black Velvet, which is half St. Andrews Brewing Co’s Oatmeal Stout, half champagne. However, if you really want to raise the roof, use The St. Andrews Brewing Co’s 6.6% Choca Mocha Porter, with chocolate from The Cocoa Bean, Pittenweem and coffee from St. Andrews’ Taste. That is sure to get the party started!”
The award winning Seafood Restaurant is one of the best restaurants in Fife, with an exciting cellar full of great wines, magnificent views over The West Sands, exceptional style and service, and food cooked in the open kitchen by chef, Colin Fleming, that is to die for.
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