That's me on the right with our winemaker Brigitte from Châteauneuf-du-Pape and my right-hand man Cameron.
Humble Grape has a demystified vision of wine: for us it's a product of nature, and the handcrafted piece of a hard working team. I love supporting small family-owned vineyards. I do not follow chin-stroking connoisseurs or debates on wine points when sourcing wine.
Sometimes, we find ourselves overwhelmed by food and wine varieties. Panic not, with my friendly advise it will be easy to plan a Christmas dinner to remember.
Here are a few simple guidelines to help you choose the 10 best Christmas food and wine pairings. To begin with, I have three tips: pair like with like; pair opposites; and, think regional. Also remember, it doesn't matter how wacky the pairing, as long as you and your guests like it.
Entertain your guests with some bubbles: go for some Blanc de Blanc Champagne but also some regional Italian sparkling wine such as a Trento Brut or a rich Cremant De Loire.
If you are a fan of bubbles you can always pair them with some rich baked fish - such as gilthead bream - to accompany your entrées. Who says that sparkles are exclusively for toasts?
Tradition is your rule of thumb and you cannot renounce white wine but you are fed up with anonymous tasteless Sauvignon Blanc wine. A glass of crisp and dry aromatic Sancerre will go perfectly with some smoked salmon, Scottish langoustines or any other crustaceans.
Cote du Rhone Blanc wine is towards that medium bodiness where consistency calls for both a fish starter and some roasted Mediterranean vegetables (ratatouille) but also turkey for the most courageous.
Game & Wine - Game farm birds such as pheasant, quail, goose and turkey are all well served with a light, low in tannins, earthy Pinot Noir. Feeling adventurous and like a fuller body? For a change, try your turkey with Rosso di Montalcino. A fruit bomb, more acidic and with a medium tannin, this Tuscan boy will tantalise your palate.
Roast Meats & Wine - The mighty roast meats such as the traditional rib of beef & horseradish or a rack of lamb are just nice with a bottle of Claret. Bordeaux offers the greatest selections of wines from both the right and left. Look for Saint Emilión if you are a Merlot type, and for Saint Julienne if you are a Cabernet Sauvignon aficionado. Rich and saucy duck and venison will always be the perfect companions to the herbal Cabernet Franc and to an excellent Châteauneuf-du-Pape!
Always consider salty cheese to bring up the fruity flavours of wine: try Cabernet Franc with Spanish Manchego. Chianti and any Tuscan young Sangiovese with Pecorino (salty and aromatic sheep cheese) is a must for Italian expats. Montgomery Cheddar just does it well with any red wine. Go bananas with port and a salty slab of blue cheese - if you are peaky about fromage - Stilton Colton Basset is a winner.
Torrone (Italian chocolate nougat) and Christmas cake - Panettone will end your amazing feast: for a grand finale go back to your selection of sparkles (see aperitif). If you are still going after all of this va-va-voom, go deluxe with a plate of dried fruits and a Muscat de Beaumes de Venise.
For those foodies and wine lovers who are thinking of eating out over the Christmas period, we have recently complied a list of first class London restaurants that allow BYO. Before leaving you to your Christmas shopping, it's my pleasure to share my favourite BYOB restaurants in London.
Where: The Don
Corkage: on request
When: Monday night
When: Monday nights
Where: Kitchen W8
When: Sunday evening
Corkage: £5 a bottle, £10 for sparkling
When: Tuesday & Wednesday nights
We want to hear about your BYO experiences: we are launching an E-book on the best BYO London Restaurants. Email firstname.lastname@example.org your suggestions!
We organise relaxed monthly themed wine tastings and dinners with our guest winemakers from Europe. Our next event is the Christmas tasting on December 3rd. There you will taste and learn how to pair some fab wine to go with your Christmas dinner!
Recent Christmas and New Year's Eve Articles
- London's Top 8 Restaurants for Winter Walking After A Christmas Feast (22 Dec 13)
- Why We Shouldn't Buy Big Name Champagnes This Christmas & New Year (18 Dec 13)
- 10 Delicious Food & Wine Pairings For Christmas Dinner (29 Nov 13)
- 7 Firework Vantage Points For NYE 2011 (12 Dec 11)