The perfect wines to drink with Christmas Pudding
What to drink with Christmas desserts
I cover in two separate blogposts
There are no hard and fast rules for wine at this time of year as we tend to eat such a wide range of foods that it is difficult to find wines to complement all of the different flavours. The main aim in general should be to match the weight of the dish with the body of the wine.
In this blog post I give some suggestions for wines that will complement Christmas desserts and cheese. Firstly, desserts...
When pairing desserts & wine ...
You might think that drinking a wine that is even sweeter than the dessert would make the dessert seem sickly sweet but that is not the case. It will actually help to avoid creating an acidic or sour taste in the mouth. Of course the sweet wine must have good acidity too as that will also stop the combination seeming OTT; the acidity will cut through the sweetness and make the mouth water.
Wines for Christmas pudding
Ruby Port or Tawny Port is traditional. The warm fruitiness of ruby port and the nutty flavours of tawny port will both complement the rich fruit & nut flavours of the Christmas pudding. But if you want to try something very different...... why not try a sparkling Moscato d'Asti. This Italian slightly sparkling and slightly sweet wine might not be something that you have ever considered but it is a great match for any dessert. And what's really great about it at the Christmas dinner table is that its light body and gentle spritz just dance around the tongue after all that rich food creating a really refreshing drink.
Wines for mince pies & Christmas cake
For mince pies and any spicy or nutty cake a tawny port works really well. The combination of the nutty flavours of the port match perfectly with the dried fruits and nuts of mince pies (and Christmas Pudding). The acidity of the port should also help balance the richness of the mincemeat.
Wines for Panettone
Prosecco is the classic partner for this Italian Christmas speciality, ask most Italians! It should be Extra Dry Prosecco which is a bit of a misnomer as Extra Dry is actually slightly sweeter than Brut (which is the normal level of sweetness of most of the Champagne that we drink here in the UK). However I know some Italians who swear by the afore-mentioned Moscato because it's slight sweetness is the perfect match with the not-too-sweet panettone.
Wines for trifle & creamy desserts
Trifle and other creamy and fruity desserts will also benefit from a sweet sparkling Moscato d'Asti because whilst the wine is sweet it also has mouth-watering acidity which cuts through the rich cream. But if you really don't like sweeter wine, try something like a Crémant de Bourgogne - this champagne-like sparkling white wine is fruity and creamy and will complement all the cream in the trifle.
Wines for chocolate desserts
People often stick to the red wine they have been drinking with their main course but the tannin in most red wines can clash with chocolate and make the wine taste very bitter. So for rich chocolate desserts again my advice would be the sparkling Moscato d'Asti - the lightness of this wine and the bubbles will cut through the richness. An ice wine or a ruby port are alternatives as they are fruity enough to provide a foil to all that rich chocolate.
And of course there is always dessert wine like Sauternes which will pair well with most desserts and with blue cheeses like Roquefort (and with foie gras for those with a preference for more savoury dishes).
Cheese & Wine
... if you still have room for cheese ...
Matching cheese and wine will be the subject of a whole new blogpost given the vast range of different cheeses so I will keep it simple for this blogpost:
Cheddar - again a Tawny or a Ruby port will make a great match but you could carry on with the red wine you've been drinking as long as the tannins are soft as in an aged Left Bank Bordeaux. Alternatively it may surprise you to know that an oaked Chardonnay can pair well with some cheeses including Cheddar.
You may be surprised that white wines feature prominently in this section but white wine doesn't have the tannins that clash with the saltiness of many cheeses. And if you have switched back to white after red, you may be surprised how white wine can cleanse the palate.
My Christmas mixed cases include several of the wines suggested in my Christmas food & wine blogposts. But if you want help putting together a mixed case of your own, please feel free to call me on 0333 772 0301 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Did you know that 50% of my lovely customers prefer the direct approach and order by phone or email rather than via the website?
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Lindsay Cornelissen DipWSET is passionate about good quality wine and set up Wines With Attitude to share that passion with other wine lovers.