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Wine guide: Christmas dinner with the Sommeliers favourites


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Christmas is about giving – but the holiday food and drink often take focus. Each year the great Christmas dinner is prepared, which consists of classic fatty and spiced food, and the big questions is often: which wines go well with this classic dinner? Sommelier Jesper Boelskifte, known from MASH, has his own traditions and favorites when it comes to Christmas dinner and the wines that are served. Here we give you an insight into the award-winning sommeliers wine picks for duck, sides and ris a la mande.

By: Jesper Boelskifte, Sommelier and owner of the restaurants MASH, Umami and Le Sommelier. 

An appetizing start with a sour Champagne, German Riesling or barrel aged Chardonnay
Especially in Northern Jutland there’s a tradition for eating a great Christmas lunch on the 24th of December. This is why the starter for dinner is often skipped and replaced by a glass of champagne before the guests are seated. After a big and heavy lunch the bobbles work excellent as an appetizer because of the acidity, which gives a nice freshness. If a starter is served, it is most often fish, and for this a German Riesling or a barrel aged Chardonnay would be a great fit. It works well as an extension for the champagne, since they are elegant with a light structure. If a fatter fish is served, like salmon, a more powerful wine is recommended – a good rule to remember is: the fatter the fish, the more powerful the wine.  

A rich dinner with rich wines from overseas
Wether it be pork, duck or goose served for Christmas dinner, isn’t really that important when picking the wine. Side dishes like gravy, red cabbage, caramelized potatoes and what may else be served. As a rule, a rich wine is a good pick. It can be fruity and sweet, without too many tannins, and here a wine from overseas is a good choice. For example an Argentinian Malbec or a Californian Zinfandel, but Amarone is also a classic for Christmas, which is a bit more powerful and therefor goes well with pork roast.

A sweet ending with a chilled port or a sweet French Banyuls
When spending Christmas Eve in Northern Jutland, the natural ending of dinner is ris a la mande with warm cherry sauce (a Danish rice pudding with almonds). Here a port is an obvious supplement, but it can get a bit too alcohol rich and heavy. So for port remember to serve it chilled, which brings out the fruity notes and tones down the alcohol. But the preferred choice is a chilled glass of french Banyuls, which is like port but juicier. Recioto. both red and white can also be recommended. It has the feel of an Amarone, just sweeter and therefor excellent for dessert. Last, but not least, there is cognac, which many prefer. But if you feel the cognac might be a bit much, a sharp Eau de vie would be the best way to finish things off.