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LIVE 24-SEVEN


A WINE FOR EVERY OCCASION… CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS


Delia Smith has a spiced beef recipe in her Christmas book – the old one with the green cover – and it is one of my Christmas traditions to pore longingly through the recipe. It involves rubbing a piece of beef every day for ever… well it seems that way…with a selection of spices, sugar and saltpetre. You then cook it for a hundred hours, leave it to cool and then carve into very thin slices. Obviously I have never made it – and I suspect that Delia knew that many of her readers would never make it, which is why she mentions in another section of the book that a high end supermarket does a very nice spiced beef at their deli counter.


My point being, that rather than attempting new dishes, we often seek out and cook the same things every year: smoked salmon, turkey, ham, stilton and Christmas pudding. That’s part of the point. It’s a ritual.


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With alcohol we are sometimes guilty of being even less adventurous. I imagine that when ticking off wines for the festive feast, the following will feature: a nice bottle of Bordeaux; a white Burgundy; a bottle of bubbles (Champagne, Cava, Prosecco); and a Port to finish. Please understand that there is nothing – absolutely zero – wrong with this. It’s a tried and tested formula I have used many times and it isn’t always practical or possible to pop the cork or twist the cap on a bottle for each section of a day already over stuffed!


The reality is that Christmas in my house really isn’t like that… I don’t have a special wine for Christmas morning to go with warm croissants and the essential one inch thick spread of salted butter – the one with actual flakes of sea salt in (I think I just ‘butter shamed’ myself ).


If I could have a wine for every conceivable occasion…


…When I pull myself from bed on Christmas morning, I will go down to the kitchen, open my back door, go outside and listen to the bells ringing from the church just behind my trees. I will then pour myself a glass of Bird in Hand sparkling rosé (a superb Australian bottle of bubbles that has become a firm favourite with me), step back outside and reflect, with gratitude, on how lucky I am to have family and friends that I love and who love me. Following quickly on the heels of that will be a feeling of regret that I over indulged the night before…the magnificent rosé will also accompany the aforementioned croissant, butter scenario etc. etc.


…If turkey is the bird of choice, I might have the Tenuta Trerose Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva Tuscan from Italy, bursting with redcurrants and raspberries and soft oak. Juicy enough to cope with the driest turkey – no shame here, it can happen to the best of us – yet enjoyable enough to drown out the sound of excited children. For the white, an Australian Artisan Tasmanian Chardonnay, a pretty impressive Burgundy style, with slight peach and greengage fruit underpinning everything, or an Alsace Grand Cru Gewürtztraminer…there are no words to express my love for all wines Alsace. ♥♥♥


…It’s always important and fun to have something interesting, but not too expensive, as a sort of gap filler for all the in between stages in the day when people might drop in and out to wish everyone a Happy Christmas….for red it would be a Trapiche Pinot Noir from Mendoza, Argentina and for the white a beautiful Kendermanns Riesling Spatlese from Germany…Riesling... mmmmmm lovely. After lunch, if The Sound of Music is on – and it will be – and I am looking for something to distract me to make sure I don’t cry or, even worse, start singing, then a Kendal Lodge Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc from Stellenbosch, South Africa; a blend ripe with cassis and a peppery, spicy finish. Should the mood dictate a white, then it would be a mineral and crisp Pouilly-Fumé from the Loire Valley.


…It would be disingenuous to deny that Christmas can, on occasion, be a time for family discord and so in the spirit of Conflict Management and Mitigation, I offer the following


LIVE24-SEVEN.COM


WINING & DINING WINE EXPER T


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