It’s almost that time and if you’re entertaining, maybe for the first time since March, you may need a little refresher on getting wine right at Christmas and during the festive season. Here are some of the questions we get asked most, and some top tips from our wine expert, Lindsay.
What wine goes with turkey? What wine goes with duck or goose?
While the traditional wisdom is to pair white meat with white wine and red meat with red wine, this is a bit outdated, and the truth is both can go splendidly with turkey and other poultry. There’s no firm rule: make sure you drink what you enjoy. Just avoid switching gears halfway through, or you’ll confuse everyone’s palates!
If you choose to go with red, a safe bet is something smooth and medium-bodied, like our Rioja. Really bold reds are generally not as suitable. For whites, opt for something light. Floral notes are okay, but you don’t want anything too sweet. Our Pinot Grigio is gentle and soft, perfect for roast fowl and most importantly, those delicious Boxing Day leftovers.
How to decant wine
An old trick we learned from dinner parties in our 20’s: dress up cheap wine by pouring it into a lovely decanter, so no one’s the wiser! Now that we’re older, and actually drinking wine for its taste, not just its effects, we’d advise you that not all wines should be decanted.
Younger reds may benefit from exposure to air, but there’s no need to decant whites. Don’t glug any treasured vintage bottles that dad’s been storing in the basement for a special occasion into a random container. Our three reds are delicious without decanting, but won’t suffer if oxygenated either, so it’s up to you.
How many glasses in a bottle of Prosecco? How many glasses of wine in a bottle?
Ah, maths. The traditional view is that there are approximately six glasses of prosecco and five glasses of wine in a standard 75cl bottle. But these are small glasses, about 125 or 150ml respectively.
While we’re not suggesting you pour your guests a huge bucket of wine like they do at the local pub, the reality is it is Christmas, and most people tend to quaff a little more than that – so we’d estimate closer to five glasses of prosecco and four glasses of wine per bottle. Over the course of a Christmas meal, counting nibbles, dinner and pud, you’re looking at 3-4 glasses per person, depending on their age, personal tastes and how long it’s been since they’ve been let out of the house!
How long does open wine last?
If you find yourself in the lucky position of having leftover wine, it will be fine to drink for at least three, and up to five, days. After that, no guarantees, but even if it starts tasting a little less fresh, it’ll still be delicious for cooking, so pour it into a ragu or stew.
How to open a bottle without a bottle opener
Where’s this Christmas happening, anyway? You’d be surprised at how many people ask us this, though. If you’re meeting people for a festive glass in the park (to maintain social distancing or…because you’re camping?), here’s how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew. It is possible (though we’d suggest only as a last resort.)
You have two options: push the cork in (and leave it in) or pull it out. The first is easiest, and can be accomplished with a wooden spoon, or a similar object with a long handle. The downside is you will then have bits of cork in your wine (to resolve this, move to the next question). To pull the cork out, a little creativity works wonders. You need to stab the cork with something that will hold up to a bit of twisting. Keys, a narrow knife, even a screwdriver. Then, gently twist upwards until the cork pops out. If it breaks, move onto the next tip.
SOS! How to get a cork out of a bottle of wine
It happens to the best of us, especially with natural rather than plastic corks. Sometimes a cork has started to soften or maybe we’ve used too heavy a hand and down it goes into the bottle or, even worse: it breaks in two.
Unfortunately, once the cork is in the bottle it’s near impossible to get it out. However, the wine should be fine to drink, so long as the seal was fine. Check for any smell of sulfur or matches as this could be a sign the wine is off. If all smells and tastes fine, the best thing to do is to pour the wine through a strainer into a decanter, or, if the wine shouldn’t be oxidised, straight into the glass of wine. No need to tell the guests.
How to make mulled wine
To make this festive favourite, choose a nice red. Nothing super cheap, as that’s a one-way ticket to a headache, but there’s also no need for anything too fancy. The spice mix will be doing a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of flavour, so choose a lighter, fruity red over a deep, full-bodied one.
As for the add-ins, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon are musts, but it’s nice to experiment with other fragrant spices such as star anise and cardamom. To keep the spices infusing and the wine warm but safely away from boiling point, the slow cooker is your best friend.
We hope you found these helpful, and feel free to drop us a line if you have any specific questions. Wishing you a joyful Christmas and even better new year!