Dreaming of a White (and Red and Bubbly) Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — that time when family and friends come together to celebrate Christmas.

From the anticipation of Christmas morning to lolling about lazily in the afternoon to the big turkey dinner, the opportunities to pop open some wine are numerous.

Once my kids have rifled through the gifts under the tree on Christmas morning, we usually pack up the car and head to my folks’ place for Christmas breakfast (and Round Two of presents, mostly for the kids). My mom usually does some sort of festive frittata not unlike the one found at the Taste of Home website.

Egg dishes can be tough when it comes to wine-and-food pairing, but if we’re talking breakfast it’s tough to avoid popping some bubbly. Thankfully, sparkling wine also happens to be one of the most versatile wines when it comes to food pairing, and does especially well with eggs. (Hey, it’s pretty good in a mimosa too.)

A cheerful bubbly with a hint of sweetness is ideal for such an occasion, and the 20 Bees 2013 Buzz and Bubbles, a Riesling-based sparkling wine, is ideal. With plenty of ripe apple and citrus notes on the crisp, light-bodied palate, it’s a great breakfast bubbly.

Most of the day is spent lazily hanging out with family as Christmas dinner comes together. Sometimes I’ll open a wine, other times I won’t. If I do it’s never usually anything super challenging or mind-bending. A fresh white such as the Ridge Road 2013 Pinot Gris does the trick quite nicely, offering great purity of stone fruit, ripe citrus and honey flavours.

If you’re snacking on Christmas afternoon — say, on some homemade nuts and bolts, some veggies and dip or crackers and cheese — chill this down and enjoy.

Finally, Christmas dinner is all about what works well with the turkey (and accompanying sides). Flavours can range from chestnut to rosemary to cranberry and beyond (check out this fab Jamie Oliver Christmas turkey recipe).

The spice notes in the Black Widow 2013 Gewürztraminer might just be the ideal white wine to wow friends and family at the Christmas dinner table. Sourced from two B.C. vineyards in and around the Naramata region, the intense tropical fruit notes play well with the spice and hint of sweetness.

From further north in the Okanagan Valley, the Summerhill Pyramid Winery 2011 Pinot Noir offers both New World freshness and Old World complexity. Those typical earthy Pinot Noir notes work well with the brighter cherry and strawberry notes here, and this lighter-bodied red, while aged in oak for 18 months, always finds the balance for a multi-component meal such as Christmas dinner.

Now at this point on Christmas Day, I think it’s common protocol to find a dark corner somewhere and enjoy a quiet post-dinner nap.

 

Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson is the wine columnist and literary editor for the Winnipeg Free Press. He’s on Twitter and Instagram at @bensigurdson.

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