Jonah’s Head Sommelier Georgina Larsson imparts some of her incredible wine pairing knowledge with us to help create the perfect gastronomic experience this Christmas. Whether you are a guest arriving with a bottle of something or you’re hosting a large gathering, these tips will give you some great ideas on what to pair with the special activities that make this time of year so special.
Tip 1. Gaston’s Sumptuous Guava Bellini’s – Opening Christmas presents with a glass of something fruity and bubbly, is sure to make the early morning feel rather more mirthful and less bleary eyed. With a plethora of Non-alcoholic Sparkling wines coming to the fore, why not start with a splash of guava juice in the bottom of your Xmas flute and top it with bubbles. Exchange the Alcohol-free nature of the bubbles with a fine Aussie Sparkling wine like Daosa Natural Reserve from Piccadilly Valley in South Australia, if you dare, and get an early buzz!
Tip 2. Rose Sparkling all day! The subtle red fruits and spicy, savoury tones of Rose Champagne works wonders for Salmon gravlax, jumps in fruitily with the Turkey’s cranberry sauce, cuts through the BBQ lamb cutlets and basks in Dad’s ‘piece de resistance’ red berry pavlova. As people wander in at all times of Christmas day there’ll be a bottle of ‘celebration’ ready to go, to make them feel even more glad they came for a visit. Bollinger Rose is a personal go-to, though for a over-delivering, homegrown option try Tasmania’s Arras Rose!
Tip 3. I always pre-stock some more adventurous tastes in our fridge for Christmas week to pair with cheese and fresh seafood. A Sake is essential with a seafood extravaganza and as you compare stories of lining up at the Sydney Fish Market on Christmas eve, you can pull out a chilled bottle of Junmai-shu such as Shuzo Uehara ‘Soma no Tengu’ – viscous, almondine with a saline finish…I’m loving it with dry-shucked oysters, prawns and kingfish sashimi. My other must-have in the fridge is a medium dry Madeira, such as Henriques & Henriques 20 yo Terrantez to enjoy with that platter of pate, cheese and quince paste, that you put together when you can’t face another, actual, “meal”.
Tip 4. Grenache & Gamay are my essential reds for the season. Both are red fruit forward, light on tannins, generous on freshness and spice and both can be served with a light chill to make our 40°, humid Christmas day a little less overbearing. Look for MMAD’s Blewitt Springs Grenache or perhaps a Sorrenberg Gamay from Beechworth, Victoria.
Tip 5. The markets are abundant in December with fresh tropical fruit and berries galore. On our family table there’s sure to be plenty of Figs and Mangoes and a delicious Botrytis enhanced wine is certain to come in handy. Try the light and fresh Heggies Botrytis Riesling or Terre a Terre’s Botrytis Sauvignon Blanc or if you want a dry but fruity tipple perhaps seek out a delicious Aussie Gewurztraminer such as Rowlee’s Single Vineyard from Orange in New South Wales with aromatic lychee and rose characters and a touch of citrus and spice on the finish.