One of the great advantages of our love of travel and the influence of the cuisines of the world on what is available in our local shops, is that the Irish kitchen is now a melodious fusion of colour, aroma, sound, and flavour. This year at Wines Direct, we are taking inspiration from some of the wonderful winemakers we work with around the world to liven up our Christmas table.
Starting with the mandatory bubbles, we will be drinking Antech Blanquette de Limoux. This is believed to have been the original sparkling wine, which according to local legend was tasted by Dom Pérignon while visiting Limoux. He then hightailed it up to Champagne with the recipe and the local winemaking monks took it from there. Baptiste from Maison Antech loves this with hummus on toast or fresh goat’s cheese, but his favourite pairing is with the traditional French pain d’épices, or gingerbread.
Roberto di Filippo shared a traditional Umbrian Christmas dish with us which is a filled pasta called cappelletti in brodo. Everyone loves pasta! All the rolling, filling, and folding of the flour and eggs can be rewarded with a glass of Roberto’s Di Filippo Grechetto and the hands on the wine label will reflect our efforts with the rolling pin. A native Umbrian grape, Grechetto is luscious, peachy, and fresh, and will be perfect with the Cappelletti poached in a richly flavoured broth.
Paella is a Spanish dish which originated as a way of making something out of leftovers. At this time of year there is usually plenty to choose from. Keep some spicy chorizo in the fridge to add a lively hit of chilli to the blander components (sorry turkey) and pair it with Guerinda El Maximo, a big-hearted wine from Navarra. Made by sisters Maria and Yoanna, the moustache on the label is an homage to their father, Maximo. On a grey and drizzly post-Christmas afternoon in front of a roaring fire, this spicy paella needs only a fork in one hand and a wine glass in the other.
A Christmas morning swim is a new favourite tradition for us and a welcome drop after a freezing dip will be our choice of Christmas Day wine this year, the elegant yet powerful St. Joseph, La Ferme des Sept Lunes Halo sur la Baudet. Turkey is still a firm favourite on our Christmas table, often with vegetables given an Asian or North-African treatment and this smooth Syrah will be well able. It brings what Oz Clarke describes as “the sweet embrace of the South”, and a burst of golden sunshine to illuminate all that tinsel.
Head to winesdirect.ie to browse the Christmas collection.