© by Nigel Lelew
Hi Ellie ... its nearly Christmas isn't it ... time for enjoying a meal with family and friends and maybe even having a couple of glasses of wine into the bargain as well ... and then a week after that theres ... Millennium Eve ... there I've said it! Whatever you think about all the hype around the Millennium, its is a special occasion...it is a once in a lifetime event, what I object to is all the build up theres been ... but whatever you do, its certainly going to be a night to remember ... I hope anyway!
So what we're going to do this morning is to look at some wines to have with the Christmas Lunch, and then I've got a brilliant champagne for you ... for "that" night! ... so its one big wine tasting this morning ... Ellie, its such hard work here at Delta!
So what we're going to do is to talk you through three or four wines that will go with different parts of the traditional Christmas Lunch. Yes a wine for each course ... and as you'll see it doesn't have to break the bank ... and your guests will enjoy the thought that's gone into the choice of wine.
So as everyone gathers what better way to welcome people than with a glass of fizz. Nothing flash, just a crisp fresh dry sparkling wine, and something that will mix with orange juice too ... and by the way the secret to a good bucks fizz is the quality of the orange juice. The fizz I've got this morning is a sparkling wine from the Loire Valley made from Chenin Blanc grapes ... Its just called 'Chenin' ... and its got the crisp freshness we're looking for, but first of all lets create the right atmosphere here in the studio...[pop]!
Look at the pale colour in the glass ... that tells us its dry, or Brut as the label says ... take a sniff...a fresh citrus aroma ... and now a glug ... that clean citrus comes out in the taste ... its clean, its dry, it's Chenin, a fizz from the Loire Valley ... and its only £4.49 from Safeway ... so break the bank we won't...and it will start the day off with a sparkle ... and do you know ... the beauty of this wine is that you can bring it to the table and it will go with the Christmas Day starters like salmon as well...brilliant
OK so now lets go to the main course ... turkey with all the trimmings. People will automatically think white wine will go with the turkey ... well if its just turkey then yes that's right ... but the thing about the stuffing, those sausages wrapped in bacon and everything else, is that they tend to drown out the delicate flavours of a lot of whites. If you do want to serve a white with the turkey, try something like a Chardonnay ... something with a bit of strength and body...that's the whole thing about matching food and wine ... to match the flavours in the food with the strength of the taste in the wine.
So ... what I have here is a red wine ... it's an Australian Shiraz ... so its got a bit of spice to it ... and yet it's a subtle kind of Shiraz. Some Shiraz, especially Australian ones ... can be big and bold. Yes this ones reasonably big with an alcohol content of 13% ... but lets take a look ...
Now what drew me to this one is the colour in the glass ... its not hugely dense that you can't see the other side of the glass that some Aussie Shiraz can be ... with this one you can see into the wine...and that's when I thought that it would be a good subtle Shiraz that would really go with turkey and the trimmings ...
Give the glass a swirl and get the nose in there ... it's a soft aroma, but still you can get the subtle spice ... a warm black pepper aroma ... in amongst some soft ripe red fruit ...
Now lets take a glug ... can you get the soft spice ... the peppery taste as well as the fruit ... now that's going to go down really well with the turkey with stuffing, the sausages wrapped in bacon ... that's a balance between the spiciness of the food and that of the wine ...
That's Sainsbury's 1997 Australian Shiraz ... a soft subtle spicy wine for the turkey at just £4.99 ... that's terrific value ... ... its already on my list especially at under a fiver!
I've been waiting for this bit all morning ... it's time for the Christmas pudding and the mince pies ... and they can actually spell disaster for a lot of sweet dessert wines ... but just take a look at the two I've brought in this morning ... they're chosen to match the nuts, the fruit and spice of the Christmas Pud ... and the mince pies as well ... I actually enjoy a great dessert wine ... and thats why I've brought a couple of bottles in this morning!
Lets start with a sweet wine that's going to go down great guns with the Christmas Pud!
Lets take a look at the first one ... its an Italian sweet ... Pellegrino 1997 Passito di Pantelleria ... and just look at the colour ... it's a gorgeous golden brown ... give it a swirl in the glass and get the nose in ... its pure honey and lemon ... and you can smell the sweetness as well ...
OK, now for a glug ... and remember ... try and imagine Christmas Pud with this one ... you certainly get the sweetness, but can you also get the honeyed fruit ... just imagine the fruit and spice in the pudding ... and then take another glug of this one ... wonderful, I can't put it down ... and the length of this wine is incredible!
So that's Pellegrino 1997 Passito di Pantelleria, in a half bottle, but at 15.5% that's all you need, serve it in smaller glasses, maybe a little chilled, ... from Waitrose at £5.95, your Pud will be a talking point well into 2000!
OK, now for another sweetie! ... and this one as well as going with the Pud will go with the mince pies too ... its different from the Italian dessert wine we've just tried ... for a start we're back in Australia, and then this is a 'liqueur wine', that means its been fortified. Its Seppelt DP 63 Rutherglen Show Muscat...and its absolutely wonderful! For a start the bottle itself is striking isn't it ... bring a flaming Christmas Pud to the table with this wine and let the thin, waif-like bottle be a talking point all on its own!
Pour this one into a glass and look at the colour ... its like the colour of demerara sugar ... in fact its almost the colour of the Pud itself ... give the glass a swirl ... and get the nose in ...
It's pure toffee apples and caramel ... and I can't wait to take a glug of this one ... raisins and caramel ... just imagine this one with Christmas Pud and mince pies ... that's out of this world ... it really is ... and for a half bottle its £7.49 ... and worth every penny ... Seppelt DP 63 Rutherglen Show Muscat.
OK we're off to the Millennium now for our final wine this morning ... and its just got to be Champagne hasn't it ... but again we're not going to break the bank ... and a small tip ... try and get the pop timed with the chimes of Big Ben ... always impressive if you can do that ... and I can't!
OK, so this ones Sainsbury's Grand Cru Millennium Champagne at £16.99 ... one to toast the new century in. Let me just explain what Grand Cru in relation to Champagne means. There are 17 Grand Cru sites and nearly 40 others which are designated as Premier Cru, so this wine is made from grapes grown in the best vineyards in Champagne.
So shall we ... [pop!] ... that's the second one this morning!
Can you get that aroma ... its yeast and citrus fruit ... wonderfully fresh ...
And in the mouth it's a brilliant creamy fresh fruit taste with a crisp dryness ... and the length of the finish is tremendous ... one to pop as Big Ben chimes the next century in!...Sainsbury's Grand Cru Millennium Champagne at £16.99.
Ellie, can I finally wish you and everyone who listens a great Christmas and a terrific New Year too ... enjoy yourselves but take care too!
Next month Ellie, Well I think like a lot of people I haven't actually thought past New Years Eve ... isn't that terrible! So I haven't thought about what I will talk about! ... but if you'll have me back, I'll gladly come and talk and bring a couple of bottles too.