by Grape Expectations
It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a cheeseboard, and whilst Port and red wines are the classic accompaniment, they are not the only option. Sweet wines are especially good to pair with blue cheese because of the contrast of sweet and salty. (Most of the wines in the dessert recommendations would work well.) A fruity white wine is also a great choice for goat’s cheeses and creamier hard cheeses.
Mavrodaphne of Patras, Greece, £4.77 at Waitrose. This is a sweet red wine, not unlike Port but at a snip of the price because it’s from Greece (which doesn’t have the reputation to charge more). It’s a good all-rounder but will work particularly well with blue cheeses and crumbly salty cheeses like Wensleydale.
Casa Lella, Nero d’Avola 2010, Italy, £5.48 at Asda. This fruity Italian red wine, with hints of spice will work really well with hard cheeses.
La Grille Touraine Sauvignon 2010, £6.99 at Majestic Wine (but widely available). This is a fresh, citrusy Sauvignon blanc from the Loire Valley – the home of Sancerre. It is the perfect partner for soft goat’s cheese and very quaffable on its own.
Cono Sur Pinot Noir, Chile, £7.99, widely available. A very easy-drinking red wine, packed with juicy red fruits and a refreshing finish. Another good all-rounder.
Morrisons Late Bottled Vintage Port 2005, £9.49 at Morrisons. A classic, lovely rich, fruity Port. The perfect pairing to salty cheeses like Parmesan and Stilton.
Ripasso Di Valpolicella Classico Superior, Fratelli Recchia 2008, £10.99 at Waitrose. This is a big, hearty red wine with the richness of raisins and dried fruit on the palate. A brilliant wine with hard cheeses like Cheddar, Wensleydale and Lancashire.
Château Jolys Cuvee Jean Jurançon 2008, £13.99 at Waitrose. A superb wine for cheese – the perfect all-rounder, it is sweet, honeyed and with a hint of nuttiness. Delicious.
Henriques & Henriques 15 Year Old Verdelho, Madeira, £19.99 at Waitrose. Another sweet, citrusy and nutty wine with concentrated dried fruit and a long, silky, mellow finish. Its complexity will work beautifully with a variety of cheeses.
Grape Expectations is a small wine tasting company, specialising in informal wine tasting events for friends and colleagues. Events are tailored to suit the requirements of the group and are designed to increase wine knowledge in an interesting and interactive way. The aim is to have fun and enjoy wine.
A Traditional Christmas Party
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see all xmas blog posts
European Crusaders brought the mince pie back to England in the 12th Century. It was filled with meat, as well as fruits and spices. Although it has kept the same name, there is no longer any meat in a British mince pie. Well not normally.