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Festive Food and Wine Matching AMA with Tastings' Emma Briffett



Have you tried the Gratien and Meyer Festillant Sparkling Sans Alcool – its not at all bad considering it has no alcohol in it and I normally turn to it when I’m the designated driver as it’s a lot more exciting than drinking squash or water. You could mix this with orange juice, elderflower cordial or add some peach purée and have it as a sort of Bellini – a fresh raspberry in the top of the glass for a garnish is a nice addition.

The other non-alcoholic drink that I am completely addicted to over Christmas is egg-nog. It’s absolutely delicious with or without the rum!


Hi there, this one threw me for a moment until I thought about it from the opposite direction. It’s the sauerkraut which is the element of this dish which poses the problems as it is full-flavoured, can be slightly salty and is also pungent and so you need a wine which can stand up to it.

Therefore I’ve gone down the line of ‘what goes together grows together’ this dish as you say is Germanic in style and so you could look to Germany, Alsace and Hungary for options for your wines.

In terms of white wines, anything with some sweetness and body would work really well with this dish (I think) so you could plump for a German riesling (Spatlese level of sweetness/richness ideally as this will help counteract the salt/acid) or an Alsatian pinot gris or gewurztraminer.

For reds you could try something like the Hans Igler Classic Blaufränkisch:

It has lots of ripe red fruit – which again should help counterbalance the salt, and even though it is medium bodied, the touch of spice gives a bit of character and depth and makes it very drinkable.

I think that faced with the acid and salt you should probably avoid anything with too much oak to it as in this case the ingredients can make the oak taste bitter, and go for a wine which has got a lot of fruit to it, without too much tannin structure – so again a pinot noir could do the trick.

Do let me know how you get on! :smiley:


Actually wine and nuts tend to generally work together really well and I think this includes pistachios – agreed, they do have a quite particular flavour, soft of green and creamy and surprisingly ‘nutty’ all at the same time!

I think that your choice of dry Alsace riesling could work – many food and wine matching websites pair nuts like pistachios with wines like sauvignon blanc and vermentino, all of which have high acidity, but personally I would head for the creamy, nutty aspect of the pistachio, and look to match those flavours in the wine.

For me this would send me heading for a marsanne/roussanne blend from Australia, Tahbilk currently do a nice one - Tahbilk The Tower MVR:

Alternatively you could look to the Southern Rhone in France. Here you’re pretty much spoilt for choice, but the Saint-Péray Les Pins, Domaine Bernard Gripa should work really well I think.

As for the reds – pinot would be lovely I’m sure. I think what’s most important is that whatever wine you choose doesn’t overpower your nutty dish – this of course also applies to the rest of the dish, not just your pistachios.


Sage counsel as always, Emma, and I tend not to need much of an excuse to crack open a Tahbilk white :heart_eyes: thank you very much!


:christmas_tree: We’ve really enjoyed chatting about Christmas while Emma answers your questions - time for one or two last questions if you’ve got them, otherwise we’ll wrap up! :smiley: :christmas_tree:


One more from me:

What would you serve with this wine

as a starter than doesn’t contain any fish or pate.

This is my current idea but by no means decided!

Oeufs en meurette (with white wine obvs) and gougères


That’s a really interesting combo. I have to admit i’ve not had oeufs en meurette before - partly because my husband hates eggs! Personally I would play it safe and have the wine with a cheese souflee - again, this is mainly because i love souflee. Leave it with me and if i come with any better answers i’ll add them in!


My mum suggested that but I’m terrified of ruining it. Perhaps I’ll practise a few - never cooked a souflee before! Thanks.


Not a problem! My souflees are a bit like my yorkshire puddings, they can be hit and miss, but i eat them anyway!
Having had a look at one of my food and wine matching bibles - Victoria Moore’s the Wine Dine Dictionary, she suggests chicken with tarragon, and eggs benedict as good other options for Chablis. I also liked the sound of a little roasted butternut squash risotto, stir a little bit a cheese in just before serving - I think that might work really well.
Obviously food and wine matching is 90% personal taste, but it’s always fun trying combos out as long as you dont get too hung up on the results. I’ve had some matches made in heaven, and sadly, the odd epic fail!
Have fun!


Thanks so much for all your questions - we’re now very hungry and off to find lunch! :smiley: Hope you’ve enjoyed this foodie chat and if you have any further questions, why not ask your fellow members by starting a new topic in our food and wine matching section?

Bye from Emma and I! :wave::wave:


Wow thanks for such a thorough response! I do have each of those bottles in the cellar… Surely some sort of snap xmas day tasting is on! :joy:


It’s calling to you…


Thanks Emma, this is really helpful. Off-dry Riesling is a big favourite of mine and that Greywacke looks intriguing. I think I’ll need a couple for New Year and one to do quality control on in the meantime…

As for the Gewurtztraminer, the cheesecake idea sounds great, but I love a proper baked rice pudding (as, importantly, does my daughter) so that is definitely Plan A now.


Excellent! There is nothing nicer than rice pudding - especially when it’s home made. Aware I I’m in danger of sounding like a Gordon Ramsay fanatic, but have you tried his spiced rice pudding recipe - it uses spices like cardamom which adds a nice twist. Traditional, just like my gran used to make, is also fantastic though. Let me know how you get on with that - and I hope you enjoy the Greywacke!


That sounds absolutely perfect. Sometimes a wine tasting on Xmas Day is the perfect way to get through the potential stress of it all! That and Christmas carols on repeat! Have fun!