Sam Caporn, Mistress of Wine, pairs Aldi’s top tipples with festive favourites
No room for Grinch’s at this Christmas dinner! Whether shoppers are looking for a sparkling for starters or are pine-ing for something a little richer, Aldi’s wine aisle is the perfect place to take either a stroll or a scroll (online), to pick a perfect tipple. Mistress of Wine, Sam Caporn, explains how to treat yo-elf and family this Christmas with her top Aldi picks and advice for each Christmas course.
Set the scene with Christmas Eve
Reaching Christmas Eve means you’ve made it through the hustle and bustle of the Christmas preparations and can start soaking in the fun and meaning of Christmas Day.
A firm family favourite and now quite a tradition in my household is to enjoy a Christmas Eve fish pie. It can be made earlier in the day, so all the decks are cleared by dinner time and the whole family can kick back and relax. I would recommend pairing this with Grand Vallon Grande Reserve Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc (£14.99). With its round texture and delicate white fruit flavours, it has the structure to cope with the fish and the potato topping.
The rest of the bottle can be enjoyed whilst watching a Christmas movie favourite and waiting for Santa!
Starters and Canapés
For Christmas canapés, look no further than a refreshing glass of fizz! Bubbles are guaranteed to help set the mood as being one of festive fun and celebration.
Aldi has an amazing range of sparklers from my favourite Prosecco, the SS Millesimato Prosecco DOCG (£8.99) – fantastic on its own or with anything with subtle spice, to the great value SS Crémant du Jura 2018 (£8.49) with its delicate plum notes balanced with a lemony acidity.
Perfect for smoked salmon or nuts, you can never go wrong with a glass of Champagne – for those wanting to splash out on some pink fizz for Christmas, try the Veuve Monsigny Rosé Brut NV (£16.99).
Turkey and all the trimmings
When taking into account what to drink with the ‘main meal’ it’s not just the meat itself that you need to think about – turkey itself is quite a subtle meat – but combined with all the trimmings, from the veggies to the stuffing, pigs in blankets, bread sauce, cranberry sauce and so on; it’s a total flavour explosion!
A classic match with turkey is a ripe New World Pinot Noir such as Aldi’s Specially Selected Chilean Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2019 (£6.99) – all those lovely, juicy red cherry and plum fruits work so well with turkey. For something with a bit more ‘stuffing’ and structure, then I love the Princes de France Gigondas 2018 (£9.99, available from November) with notes of cranberry and brambles. Alternatively, a ripe, New World Shiraz such as the Barossa Shiraz 2018 (£7.99, available from November) is wonderful with all those notes of black fruit, vanilla, spice and eucalyptus.
Don’t forget the veggies!
For a classic nut roast or vegetarian wellington, I would choose a robust but refreshing red from the Languedoc or Rhône, such as the Specially Selected Costières de Nîmes 2019 (£5.99) which has lovely concentrated notes of blackberries, herbs and violets. Alternatively, opt for the Specially Selected French Rasteau 2019 (£8.99) which is elegant but characterful with brambles.
Needing a pairing for those who like to load up on the veggies? No problem! For roasted seasonal veggies such as brussels sprouts and root vegetables, Viognier is a great match; lots of ripe fruit but some acidity to cut through the sweet, roasted vegetables so I’d recommend picking up Aldi’s Pierre Jaurant French Viognier 2019 (£4.49).
Never fir-get the Christmas Pudding
Christmas pudding is dense and rich, full of raisins and citrus peel, so the ideal match is a wine that has the acidity to cut through the richness but with some complementary flavours too.
I love a medium dry sherry with its notes of pistachios, citrus peel and cashews and the Specially Selected Medium Dry Sherry (£5.99, available from November) is a match made in heaven for the festive finisher. For those who prefer a more traditional pudding wine then the Specially Selected Sauternes (£6.99, available from November) with flavours of honey, nuts, apricot and marmalade is also a fantastic choice.
But wait, there’s myrrh… My Boxing Day Favourites
For Boxing Day, we tend to have cold cuts, ham sandwiches, salads, cheeses and more of a ‘help yourself buffet’, so something altogether lighter than Christmas Day – therefore, it’s nice to serve a refreshing and enjoyable wine but one that’s still a bit of a treat.
I always like to have a red and a white to hand, so for the white I would recommend Aldi’s Specially Selected Mâcon Villages 2019 (£7.49), a medium-bodied wine with notes of butter and lemon that pair brilliantly with turkey, poached salmon and ham. For the red, opt for a softer, more of a ‘luncheon red’ such as the Blütengarten German Blaufränkisch (£5.99) or the Castellore Italian Primitivo 2018 (£4.99).
If you fancy celebrating in style, head to an Aldi store or online at www.aldi.co.uk where you can buy Sam’s top picks or peruse the rest of Aldi’s fantastic range of award-winning beers, wines and spirits.
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