Best French wines to drink at Christmas
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A great bottle of wine is just as important as the finest food over the festive period and these French favourites are sure to be a hit
With so many wines to choose from it can be a dilemma to know which bottles will have the wow factor on Christmas Day.
Thankfully there are plenty of great value wines from France, available in UK stores, which are sure to get the festivities into full swing. Wine recommendation app Corkscrew has compiled a list of supermarket wines to cover all budgets, which perfectly pair with Christmas Day dishes, so stocking your wine rack to toast the festive season doesn’t have to cost a fortune either.
Matt Day, Corkscrew’s expert sommelier, says: “Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon is a classic, but quite tricky to pair with wine.
“Sparkling wines will work as long as they are fresh (no mature vintage champagne), full-flavoured and high in acidity. I think this could be a case where a cheaper sparkling wine works better, but if you do insist on champagne go for a non-vintage rosé.”
Recommended sparkling wines:
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Lidl Cremant de Bourgogne (£7.99, Lidl)
Aldi Exquisite Cremant de Jura (£8.29, Aldi)
Adrien Chopin Champagne Brut (£17.99, Morrisons)
Sainsbury’s Brut Rosé Champagne (£19.99, Sainsbury’s)
Good with turkey
Matt says: “Turkey (white meat and darker leg meat) with all the trimmings (chipolatas, sprouts, roast potatoes, parsnips, cranberry sauce, spiced red cabbage) is such a clash of strong flavours and multiple proteins and carbohydrates that a perfect wine match is virtually impossible.
“White wine is probably a slightly better match than red, but juicy Gamay from Beaujolais is a good choice. Whites should be rich and full-bodied – think Bordeaux or Burgundy or white Rioja.”
Morrisons Beaujolais (£5, Morrisons)
Sainsbury’s, Taste the Difference Côtes Du Jura Chardonnay (£10.99, Sainsbury’s)
Château Tour Logan, Pessac-Léognan (£17.99, Waitrose)
Good with nut roast
“Nut roast is a rich and savoury dish that works well with savoury, earthy reds or full-bodied oaky whites,” says Matt. “Grenache-based wines from the Rhône are a great choice and nutty, oaky white Rioja works extremely well.”
Cru Des Côtes Du Rhône Vinsobres (£8, Sainsbury’s)
Les Closiers Châteauneuf-du-Pape (£21, M&S)
“Christmas pudding is one of the most forgiving desserts and can be paired with many different styles of sweet wine,” says Matt. “Nutty sweet Sherry or Madeira is a perfect match to the dried fruit and nuts of the pudding, but botrytised white wines like Sauternes are a classic and delicious choice.”
Tesco Finest Sauternes (£12, Tesco)
Matt says: “Good mulled wine is the cornerstone of any successful Christmas. Get it right and it has the power to transform the most miserable granny or irksome neighbour into the life and soul of the party. Contrary to popular belief, the quality of the wine does matter and warming, spicy wines are naturally suited to mulling.
“Southern France, Spain and southern Italy offer excellent value-for-money reds, oozing with bottled sunshine, which are soft and fruity and enjoyable mulled or straight from the bottle.”
For perfect mulled wine, heat (don’t boil) red wine in a large pan with sugar to taste (roughly 3 tbsp per bottle). When the sugar has dissolved, squeeze in the juice of an orange, retaining the skins. Push cloves into the orange skins and add them to the pot with a couple of cinnamon sticks (or 2 tsp powder) and a good grate of nutmeg. If you require a bit more kick add a good slug of cognac, whisky or cherry brandy for extra richness. Simmer for 20 minutes and serve.
Recommended mulling wines:
Lidl Costières de Nîmes (£5.99, Lidl)
Tesco Finest St. Chinian (£7.50, Tesco)
Corkscrew is a free smartphone app for iPhone and Android which has live wine lists for all UK supermarkets, national wine merchants and national chain restaurants, so app users get recommendations based on the actual wines available in the shop or restaurant they are in.
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