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Festive food and Rioja

Add a slice of Riojan warmth this Christmas! Find the perfect wine to enjoy this festive season

 

As the big day draws ever closer, we’ve whipped up some fantastic festive ideas to make the Christmas period extra special, bringing a slice of Spanish warmth to your winter.

 

Rioja is such a versatile wine and different varieties compliment all types of typical festive food. There is a Rioja for everyone and everything on the table. Get inspired and read on.

 

 

Seasonal snacks/canapés

Smoked salmon – the intense flavours and smoky richness of smoked salmon needs a wine that can stand up to the depth of the fish. An oaked Virua is perfect as the oaky, smoky and vanilla flavours of the oak match the smokiness of the salmon, and the higher acidity levels of Rioja’s flagship white grape help to cut through the oils and richness.

 

Sausage rolls – if you choose posh sausage rolls to share around, the butter in the pastry and richness of the pork is great with the citrus/green apple notes that Tempranillo Blanco brings to the table.

 

Party on!

 

 

The main event

Turkey – the centrepiece of the whole meal needs an equally impressive wine to stand-up to the flavours. For the classic roast turkey; together with bread sauce and chipolatas, you need to reach for a medium-body oaked Reserva which will perfectly match – but not overpower.  Turkey also pairs fantastically with a lighter style red, such as a Crianza, bursting with fruit and ripe juicy flavours.

 

Roast beef – if a joint of beef is more up your festive street; try a rich, succulent rib of beef with an opulent and smooth Gran Reserva. These venerable wines have all been kept in the cellar long enough to ensure that the tannins are fully integrated into the wine, offering a soft, yet definite structure allowing plenty of opportunity for the fruit flavours to shine.

 

Vegetarian – for non-meat eaters, you can’t go wrong with a soft, fruit-driven Crianza or a full-bodied oaked white with notes of butter and vanilla.

 

 

Don’t forget the cheeseboard!

 

 

The cheeseboard is an integral part of any Christmas celebration. It’s appearance at the end of the meal signals a time for even more indulgence, often with an exceptional wine that can be slowly savoured.

 

Cheddar – to couple with a strong Cheddar, pick up an extensively aged Gran Reserva and benefit from its savoury notes, often with hints of tobacco and leather, matching perfectly with a rich and mature hard cheese.

 

Brie – a wonderfully creamy, fruity and nutty Brie is absolutely divine with an aged white with a touch of oak.

 

Manchego – is the winelover’s best friend. It’s a classic but timeless pairing – a toasty and buttery Manchego with a medium-bodied Rioja Reserva – a combination that shines brightly on any cheeseboard.

 

Époisses de Bourgogne – it’s glorious stickiness and pungency make it a dream with a crisp and zippy unoaked Viura.

 

 

 

Enjoy bringing some Spanish warmth to the table this Christmas and try these pairings to see just how well they complement the food you’re eating.