May all your Christmases be white

Wines for a white Christmas
Wines for a white Christmas

The turkey’s on order, the Christmas cake and pud are maturing quietly in the larder, while being ‘fed’ vast quantities of brandy or rum to ‘mature’ them and the red wines (last week’s column) are stocked in the cellar.

What about the whites, I hear you ask?

White, of course, is another colour of Christmas – think snow, candles, icing or Bing Crosby – so a decent selection of white wines is also a must for the festive season.

Food and wine pairing is one of those pastimes that is never-ending and may often pose certain difficulties. Hence the need for a range of wines with different flavours and characteristics in you cellar – or under-stairs cupboard, whichever it may be.

Here is my selection of six white wines, which should suit many occasions at this time of year and every pocket.

Firstly, is non-Italian Pinot Grigio, a very well-priced easy-drinking wine from South Africa. Nederburg based in Paarl on the Western Cape, produces 56 Hundred Pinot Grigio 2017, which is light, fruity and very food-friendly. Great for drinks parties and with cold ham and mango chutney. Tesco, £6.

Another white from South Africa is an unusual Grenache Blanc from the long-established firm of KWV.

Also from the Paarl region, the Mentor’s 2015 has delightful tropical fruit aromas and flavours of pineapple, citrus, mandarin and orange blossom. It has a deep, textured palate with a vibrant, creamy finish. Perfect with fish or poultry in a creamy sauce. You can get this online from www.slurp.co.uk at around £15 a bottle. It’s a fabulously elegant IWSC gold medal winner.

Two other whites come from the top Chilean wine producer – Errazuriz.

The Max Reserva Chardonnay 2016 may need some tracking down, but is worth it when you do. First-class, elegant, silky Chardonnay, from a superbly chosen terroir in the cool climate Aconcagua Valley. A combination of minerality and intense tropical flavours, a match for roast turkey with cranberry and all the trimmings. Buy a bottle for £15.35 from winedirect.co.uk.

Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Sauvignon Blanc 2017 comes from a vineyard only 12km from the Pacific Ocean. The cool, maritime climate, together with top winemaking skills, produces a herby, mineral Sauvignon, with hints of passion fruit and tropical fruit notes. A long, delicious finish. This wine costs £13.75 from Waitrose and it’s excellent with cold cuts and spicy relish.

Last week’s red selection was decidedly ‘old world’ with a nod to the New. This week’s whites are the opposite, so from a classic French region comes a wonderful white burgundy from Pouilly Fuissé (Exhibition wine from The Wine Society £22). This one is ripe and rich, with a balancing freshness, great finesse and beautifully integrated oak.

An alternative Chardonnay, back to the New World, is Jackson Estate Shelter Belt Chardonnay 2015 from Marlborough in New Zealand. A single vineyard wine, it is fermented and aged in French oak barrels, giving a buttery, biscuity character. Aromas of honeysuckle, with a deep, mineral palate and long, satisfying finish. (Ocado and Waitrose £17.95).

Either of these would do justice to your turkey – or perhaps both?

Whatever you choose, white, red or sparkling, may I wish all my readers a very Happy Christmas and great New Year.

Propino tibi salutem!

Richard Esling BSc DipWSET is an experienced wine consultant, agent, writer and educator. An erstwhile wine importer, he runs a wine agency and consultancy company called WineWyse, is founder and principal of the Sussex Wine Academy, chairman of Arundel Wine Society and is an International Wine Judge. Twitter @richardwje. Visit www.winewyse.com.

Some dishes cry out for a bottle of red. Click here to read last week’s wine column.