As we head into the festivities and hopefully return to a bigger family celebration with family and friends this year, keep things relaxed with classic wine recommendations from Lynne Coyle, Master of Wine and wine director at O’Briens Wines.
For us, the festive period is all about catching up with friends and family over good food and drinks. While traditional menu options are often easy to put together, offering perfectly paired wines with each course can be a little trickier. Luckily, O’Briens Wines, Ireland’s largest family-owned drinks retailer, offers an exceptional selection of festive drink options.
To ensure your festive feast is perfectly complemented with delicious wines, we asked Master of Wine Lynne Coyle to recommend wines to inspire your planning; time-honoured classics that are seasonally appropriate, versatile enough to cover more than one course, and will appeal to most tastes.
Champagne Piper-Heidsieck NV, Champagne, France
€54.95, down to €39.95
Get your Christmas day celebrations off to a sparkling start with a glass of Champagne. Whether with eggs Benedict in the morning, or as an apéritif with nibbles or paired with festive starters, Champagne is incredibly versatile. Piper-Heidsieck is elegant and refreshing, with a hint of pear, a touch of hazelnut and a peppy finish.
Henri Bourgeouis La Porte du Caillou Sancerre 2020, Loire Valley, France
€25.95, down to €22.95
With seasonal starters such as seafood, walnut pâté or goat’s cheese, a crisp white with refreshing acidity is required to balance the richness of the food. Sancerre works seamlessly across different starters, dry and mineral with the precision to cut though sauces. It also works comfortably with traditional roasts or a mushroom wellington, so is suitable for mains too.
Viña Leyda Las Brisas Pinot Noir 2020, Leyda Valley, Chile
€17.95, down from €14.95
Traditionally, lighter reds are a successful match with roast turkey, goose, or rich vegetable- based dishes. These styles don’t overpower the food and have enough fresh acidity to match a rich gravy or cranberry sauce. Pinot noir is a good choice and this Chilean example is bright, lively, and juicy with moderate tannins that work white meat such as turkey.
Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Reserva 2016, Rioja, Spain
€25.95, down to €23.95
For fans of richer reds, or if you are planning a beef dish for Christmas Day, a fuller option with oak ageing like rioja reserva is the ideal choice. This warming red would appeal to most guests and matches Christmas main courses or an Irish cheese platter beautifully. This rioja has notes of bramble with a structured ripe palate laced with hints of thyme, laurel and vanilla.
Duorum Late Bottled Vintage Port 2017
€25.95, down to €23.95
Christmas is the perfect excuse to enjoy a bottle of Port with cheese, and opting for the French tradition to serve cheese before dessert is a delicious halfway point between savoury and sweet. The intense sweetness of Port balanced by the creamy, salty tang of a Crozier Blue cheese is a match made in heaven.
Carmes de Rieussec Sauternes 2018, Bordeaux, France
€22.95, down to €18.95
Sauternes does not need to be confined to just the dessert course as it possesses just the right balance between sweetness and acidity to also match white and creamy cheeses. For a heavenly treat think Christmas pudding or a black cherry tart. Suffused with hints of apricot, saffron and honey, this is a concentrated and powerful sweet white wine.
Head to obriens.ie or visit O'Briens Wines stores nationwide to see the full range.
Brought to you in association with O'Briens Wines