It is a fact that this Christmas will have a very different character from what we have experienced so far. The lockdown allows a maximum of 9 people in each house and this makes us feel a bit numb and confused about how to celebrate. First of all, I suggest you see the positives aspects, such as that you are still standing, healthy and fine, and that this will pass too! Staying true to our annual appointment to choose Christmas wines together, I come up with fresh suggestions that will lighten your mood and sprinkle the days that follow with a bit of festive red glitter.
Well, we have covered the classic dishes like turkey, pork, pumpkin soups, etc. in previous articles, so this year I will try something different! I am going to choose the wines that I love and that set my mood in every sip first and then suggest you comfort and rich dishes to accompany them! The menu includes 3 whites, 3 reds, a rosé, a sparkling and a dessert wine! Ready?
I love this wine because I tasted it long before it was "born", in all the different stages and versions of Nikos Karavitakis. He stopped experimenting only when he had reached perfection and this is something you can taste in every sip. You understand the passion, care and love of Nikos for Vidiano. The rich fruit, the subtle floral notes and the elegant oak compose a delicious white wine that can accompany a variety of dishes. Since we are talking about Christmas cooking I would pair it with a roasted chicken with bacon, chestnuts, orange and apricots. The secret is that I make an aromatic butter with herbs, garlic, Dijon mustard and I carefully put it under its skin. The chicken really transforms and along with Elia Vidiano the success is guaranteed.
I love summer and I try hard to find things, in this case wines, which remind me of it all year round! Wild Rock has an intoxicating tropical nose and juicy fruit that takes you straight to the Caribbean. I have two wine pairing suggestions to choose from. The modern proposal is a risotto with asparagus, peas, lemon zest and goat cheese that perfectly matches the intense fruity and vegetal character of the wine. The classic version is slow braised pork with leek and celery that will amaze you, in combination with this Sauvignon!
For me there is no list of favorite wines without Riesling! Riesling is my favorite white variety in the world because it has it all: acidity, fruit, flowers, complexity, minerality! Walhalla Riesling Loosen Barry is the wine that has proven that great minds think alike and that wine always brings people closer, even if the one is in Germany and the other in Australia. If you like fishy tapas then Walhalla can accompany almost everything. Try it with a warm potato salad with capers, pickled cucumber, red pepper, trout fillet and lime mayonnaise. It can also accompany perfectly gravlax salmon bruschettas with dill, horseradish and cucumber ribbons.
It is one of my favorite rosé wines! Chateau Miraval is the epitome of fruit purity and elegance, combined with lots of complexity and concentration. In your Christmas menu it can be matched with an impressive beetroot salad with grilled beets, orange fillets, pomegranate, Roquefort and walnuts. If you are one of those who consider salads unnecessary you can make a beetroot risotto with prosciutto chips.
This Tsapournakos or otherwise Cabernet Franc, has a fantastic violety character, rich, red fruit, impressive complexity and wonderful velvety structure. If you love floral red wines but also Cabernet, I promise you will love this one. If you are in for some classic dishes such as pork with plums, wild boar stew etc. it will be a very nice pairing. But if you want to try something different then take beef short ribs and braise them with red wine, soya sauce, honey and star anise and pair them with Tsapournakos. Epic!
If you have seen the Live tasting you will have understood that I have fallen in love with this wine. Autorizo is the most feminine version of Xinomavro I‘ve ever tried. It has an intense floral character, rich red fruit, botanical notes and silky tannins. I will suggest to you two awesome dishes to accompany it. The first choice is mushroom quiche with brie with truffles (incredible paring) while the second is lamb roll with sun-dried tomato, gruyere, pistachio pesto and fresh herbs.
If I had to choose one Greek red wine to drink for my whole life, this would be Fine Mavroudi! From the first moment I tasted it, it has been included in the list with my favorites and every time the next vintage surpasses the previous one. The 2017 vintage is probably the best so far and it is the perfect choice to close a…not so perfect year. You can pair it with duck fillet with red fruit sauce or with slow braised beef cheeks, with wild mushrooms and wine.
It is without a doubt the best Greek sparkling wine on the market, with finesse and complexity that can only be compared to the best Champagnes. Its creamy mousse, electric acidity and rich nutty aromas make it really enjoyable. A perfect combination is with anglerfish wrapped in prosciutto and brown butter sauce with sage and lemon. Because you will probably not get into the process of doing something so complicated I will give you an alternative: Dauphinoise potatoes with parmesan and mushrooms (we have vegetarian options too)!
Late Harvest is a semi-sweet wine from over-ripe Muscat of Rio grapes that carries the feeling of spring walks, among blooming lemon trees (when we went out) in every ship. Combine it with orange pie, lemon pie, panettone or even with an alternative cheesecake based on melomakarono and anthotyro (ricotta) cheese.
Finally, you should know that you do not have to cook since many restaurants cook for you these days with delivery and take out services. That way you can bring fine dining to the comfort of your own home and support your favorite restaurants.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!