Christmas dinner – tasting notes


Christmas Dinner

Christmas comes but once a year and Tony Dodds has chosen wines that best complement the splendour of the food on the traditional Christmas table, from nibbles to turkey.

Hello I’m Tony Dodds , I head up the MMI group wine team and I’ve chosen these three wines to help you have a great Christmas day dinner.

What better day is there to start with a Champagne?  I’ve chosen Ruinart NV which comes from one of longest established champagne houses (the business started in 1729). This long standing expertise shows in the subtle flavours and balance of these elegant champagnes.  The Ruinart NV for me shows real elegance  – slightly toasty notes on the nose and flavours of ripe apple, a slight spiciness and a clean citrus kissed finish.

Serve this chilled, and enjoy on its own while opening presents, to accompany smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for breakfast or with pre-dinner canapés before you start the main event.

Ruinart NV

My choices to accompany the dinner are quite classic – a rich Chardonnay and a lovely medium to full-bodied Bordeaux.

Marimar Torres Chardonnay

The Marimar Estate is nestled in the rolling hills of western Sonoma County, California in a perfect microclimate for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir which is why Marimar Torres selected this location to “export” the Torres family legacy of fine wines to California.

The Chardonnay is from a single vineyard – the Don Miguel vineyard – named after the founding father of the Torres family wine dynasty. It’s rich without being heavy, the nose is full of tropical fruit ( pineapple and guava) and minerals and the influence of French oak barrel ageing gives the palate a lovely vanilla touch.  It’s dry but fills the mouth with lasting flavour and will be fantastic with seafood, scallops for example, and if you’re not having red with dinner then it will certainly work well with turkey or poultry.

Chardonnay Marimar Torres

My red wine choice is Pomerol by Mouiex. Mouiex is a family-owned wine merchant and distributor specialising in red wines from the most prestigious appellations of the Libourne area, in particular, Saint-Emilion and Pomerol, known as the right bank in Bordeaux.  For me I can’t think of a better match, especially within this price range, for traditional roast turkey and all the trimmings. As there’s so many flavours going on  with all the stuffing, gravy, chipolatas, bread sauce and so on, you need a wine with a bit of guts. This fine red displays lovely savoury notes of plum, berries and cedar on the nose and the palate echoes the plum and drops in some cassis and vanilla for good measure. Nice and long on the finish, it’s the kind of wine you can sip all afternoon and evening while you wait for the Queen’s speech! Does anyone still do that??

So do you agree with me? Strongly disagree? Please pitch in below (in the comments box).  I’ll be dropping by to add my voice to the discussion so feel free to ask questions as well as opinion.**

** Strong and lively opinions actively encouraged, but comments with unacceptable or abusive language will be removed by our moderator.

Posted in ask an expert


  • desertdaisy
    Sunday 12th December 2010 9:55 am

    I just tasted the Marimar Torres and agree with your tasting notes. It was perfect with the smoked salmon we ate with it.

  • marek
    Monday 13th December 2010 1:26 pm

    I have tasted the ruinart and its really really good. I think you can pick up some real nutty notes but overall the freshness is the most appealing factor – the balance between its up front fruit and crisp acidity and the secondary deeper more biscuit flavours make it a winner for me. Should have waited for the smoked salmon Christmas Day Brekkie but temptation got the better of me.

  • tonyd
    Monday 13th December 2010 1:51 pm

    Thanks desertdaisy, good to hear. I understand that the estate are now making some un-oaked Chardonnays too – quite unusual for California. May be something to look out for in the future.

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