Eat, Drink and Be Merry!

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Eat, Drink and Be Merry!

Guest post by Jake Conway (HFC Hospitality Manager)

Christmas dinner is probably the biggest event of the year for my family, yet planning and preparing for the occasion can be a tough - catering for Brussel sprout-hating children, the solo vegetarian and an uncle who would rather have roast beef can be a nightmare. Getting the wines right is not entirely straightforward either!

If you're not sure about which wine to drink at Christmas, you're not alone. New research shows that 39% of Brits are confused about whether they should drink red or white wine with their turkey dinner. But I have come up with a solution for you - have both! However, the type of trimmings, as well as individual tastes, need to be considered when it comes to choosing what to serve alongside your turkey. For me, the most important factors to consider are…

• Match the Weight of both the food and wine. Full-bodied wines complement heavy, rich foods.
• Match the Flavour Intensity of both (full flavours like Sauvignon Blanc and asparagus) and also consider the wine’s Fruit Character (the raspberry flavours in Pinot Noir complement duck the same way a delicious fruit sauce would)
• Match or complement Acidity in wine and food (high-acid wines like Muscadet and Sauvignon Blanc complement fatty foods the same way lemon cuts the greasiness of smoked salmon)
• The more Texture a food has (fatty food like duck, chewy like steak) the more Tannin the wine should have e.g. Malbec or Chianti.

After plenty of hard research, I have decided there is only one country that really shines when it comes to the best Christmas wine…. Spain! One of my favourite Spanish producers is Bodegas Santalba’s and their Ermita de San Felices selection. Run by a father and son team, Bodegas Santalba is situated 4km from Haro, the ‘capital of Rioja’. Now in their 15th year of production, they produce between 50,000 - 65,000 9 litre cases per year. Approximately 2,000 of those are certified organic and all their grapes are hand harvested and sealed under natural cork produced in NW Spain.

The white: Ermita de San Felices Rioja Blanco (Bodegas Santalba). If you haven’t heard of white Rioja you’re missing out. Grown in the heart of the Rioja region, it has a very fruity aroma with sweet overtones resulting from good quality Viura grapes. Well structured, good acidity and a long finish. This wine is a perfect match for your turkey and pigs in blankets!

And the red: Ermita de San Felices Rioja Reserva (Bodegas Santalba). The added age of this Reserva gives this much-loved wine an extra couple of layers of complexity. Light, elegant with plenty of summer-pudding red berry fruit. Light oak adds weight and concentration. This is a real treat for you red wine lovers.

Both of these wines are available from our local drinks supplier and corporate supporter, St Austell Brewery

If you are confused about whether to drink red or white wine with your Christmas dinner this year, then don’t worry, there is no right or wrong answer – it’s all about personal preference. All you have to do is decide whether you prefer red or white - or both!


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