Ten Tips for Christmas Drinking

I know not everyone is like me – wine-obsessed and list-reliant – but you might find this little compendium valuable. Forget, for a moment, thoughts about how to be creative with tinsel or turkey, and put your mind instead to the really important part of Christmas; your Christmas drinking.

  1. If you’re leaving sherry out for Santa, make it something tasty; an Amontillado or Oloroso served lightly chilled with a mince pie. The epitome of Christmas fayre and the best thing is that it is recommended the bottle should be drunk within a week or two, so do your duty and polish it off over the holiday season with Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, cheese and nuts.
  2. Bucks Fizz is the perfect way to start the day. You don’t have to use the finest Champagne, a Prosecco or Cava will do, but the best orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed if you can bothered, will make all the difference. And one of your 5 a day right there!
  3. Traditional Christmas dinner is actually very versatile for a wine match. An oaked chardonnay to a medium-bodied red will fit the bill nicely.
  4. Decant your red wine an hour or so before serving to soften the tannins and to give it a chance to open up.
  5. Be prepared – keep a bottle of Champagne in the fridge for unexpected visitors or for when you deserve an extra treat. And, trust me, you will.
  6. When entertaining, don’t keep your best until last – pamper your guests by serving a great wine early on when they and their palates are fresh and attentive. Once everyone is in the ‘party-mood’ they won’t appreciate what’s in their glass quite so much.
  7. Sweet and fortified wines like Sauternes and Port are wonderful matches to a whole host of seasonal fare from blue cheese to Christmas pud, and they also make ideal winter aperitifs.
  8. When choosing party wine, make the reds soft and fruity; the whites not too acidic. You need to please lots of different palates, always tricky, so it’s best to go for wines which aren’t too complex, heavy or dry.
  9. Water is your friend. Drink as much water as you do wine over the holidays to avoid thinking you need to do a Dry January.
  10. Empty your wine stocks in December for in January there will be bin-end sales aplenty!

PS What have penguins got to do with Christmas? Or drinking wine? Nothing whatsoever. They just seem to be the emblem of Christmas 2014.

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