Which Red Wines for Christmas ? Over the coming weeks there will be lunches and dinners with friends, colleagues, family as well as gifts to buy. Each scenario is different and choosing the right win is a great way of making each event or gift memorable. Last week I wrote about what to take into consideration when choosing white, sparkling and sweet wines over the Christmas period. Today it is the turn of the reds.
At times it is not easy easy to find the ideal wine to serve on every occasion so to keep it simple here are three styles to look out for: 1.Youthful, easy drinking reds 2.Versatile food wines, these are the medium bodied reds that have more structure and complexity to accompany a wide range of flavour in food. 3. Show Stopping Classic Reds, these are the highly sought after classics for special selections to be savoured.
Youthful Easy Drinking Reds for informal occasions. Young red wines from Spain are becoming popular internationally such as Tempranillo’s from lesser known regions such as Toro as well as Garnacha from Campo de Borja and Calatayud. Alternatively, I suggest you look for a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or Primitivo from southern Italy, a Shiraz from South Australia or South Africa or a Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile. Wines with ripe red berry fruit, smooth and well balanced. A great way to get the party started.
Versatile Red Wines for Food. Reds to accompany lunches and dinners need to have a bit more structure. Beyond the excellent range of Spanish wines you should consider a Malbec from Argentina, preferably one with that has spent some time in oak barrels giving the wine added complexity and depth. Look out for Catena Alta Malbec from Mendoza or Humberto Canale Malbec from Patagonia. Try a Grenache, which is Garnacha in Spain, from the Rhone in France. A smooth, elegant Pinot Noir from New Zealand is an ideal choice for lamb or turkey. If you are not a fan of Pinot Noir why not try a Chianti Classico, such as Villa Antinorio, Sangiovese, the predominant grape variety makes great wines for food.
Show Stopping Classic Reds – for a special occasion. Wines form older vintages should be decanted a few hours ahead of the dinner. So you have a good excuse to dust off your decanters. If you like a top Rioja or Ribera del Duero, why not try a Burgundy Cru such as Gevrey Chambertin. For a more full bodied wine try muscular Barolo from the Piedmont in Italy or a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. If you really want to stretch your wine budget buy a good Bordeaux, the most aristocratic wine in the world. It is a good idea to look for the second wines of a top Chateaux, half the price but still wonderful.
So remember, keep it simple and match the wine to the occasion.