Turning your lunch into a special occasion!

My Christmas wines

My Christmas wines

Photo by Libby Penner

Even in 2020, the world got to Christmas, beyond all expectations.

For us it was a special one. It was our first Christmas as a family of three 💙 and we wanted everything to have that extra special touch.

Three weeks to go and the decorations and tree were up. The flat lit up as a lighthouse in the Atlantic.

Two weeks to go and the presents were all wrapped and under the tree. Bublé on loop, unfailingly.

One week to go and the Christmas Day lunch menu had been defined. My partner in charge of the solids. Me, supervising the liquids.

The Christmas food and wine menu

Here is how it went:

Tuna Tartare wine pairing - 2009 Castello Bonomi “CruPerdu” DOCG

To start light, my partner planned a smoked tuna tartare. He dressed it with kiwi, mint, coriander & bergamot zest. It was sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. On the side he decided for a fennel and kiwi salad. That, too, was dressed with mint, coriander, bergamot flesh & juice!

Christmas lunch entree
Fancy tuna tartare!

Yup, not an easy recipe to pair. The starter was complex, fresh, with intense aromatic flavours. My response was to pair the tuna tartare with a vintage Franciacorta, “Cru Perdu” 2009 from Castello Bonomi estate.

My Franciacorta pick!
Franciacorta 'Cru Perdu' 2009 - Castello Bonomi

The wine had some solid years on its back. Remarkably, the CruPerdu spends 80 months in the bottles in contact with the yeasts. And this allows its rich, complex bouquet to develop.

Roasted Goose wine pairing - 2011 Milleeottantatre Usiglian del Vescovo

We had started with a light appetiser, so my partner felt entitled to roast a goose for the main course. Yes, a whole one, a 4 kg bird. For 2 people.

Christmas lunch main
The goose!

And again, there was noooo intention to keep matters simple. The recipe called for a rub of lime and lemon zest plus Chinese five spices. Also, the bird would be stuffed with the citrus fruits, sage, parsley and thyme.

I must admit that the flavour spectrum sounded pretty intriguing. Of course, 4 kg of meat is no Christmas meal on its own so he added some trimmings. You name it… Roasted potatoes and carrots? Yes! Brussel sprouts with tangerine sauce? Of course! Caramelised onions? Why not! Roasted prunes wrapped in pancetta? Definitely! The guy cooked for three days. No joke.

The main dish was going to be rich and complex in taste, in textures and… in quantities. I needed a wine that would stand up to the flavours and balance the unctuousness of the goose.

I had the appropriate card to play. My wine pairing for the roasted goose was a 100% Petit Verdot grown in the north west side of Tuscany, fermented 24 months in barrel and at least 18 more in bottle. Aka Milleeottantatre 2011 from Usiglian del Vescovo estate.

The Tuscan 100% Petit Verdot that I paired with our main
Milleeottantatre 2011 - Usiglian del Vescovo

The wine tasting

So, how was it?

Wine notes

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

The Castello Bonomi “Cru Perdu” 2009 has a full lemon to golden colour with fine, persistent bubbles.

On the nose, a distinctive note of apricot tart comes across. It’s yummy with its buttery aroma, the creaminess and the tart, aromatic, pulpy character of the apricot.

Apricot notes

Photo by Wilfred Wong

On the mouth, the wine bouquet unfolds with vanilla ice cream notes, marzipan and a hint of sour cherries. The bubbles are fine and tingly on the palate. The finish is medium long to long.

The Franciacorta stood well to the aromatic-ness of the herbs and the smokiness of the fish.

On the starter front, success!

As for the 2011 Milleeottantatre; the wine has a deep, inviting ruby colour with purple hues.

The nose opens with a distinctive leather note that gives way to dried violets and underwood. As it opens up, graphite comes through.

Milleeottantatre notes

Photo by m0851

On the mouth this Petit Verdot is warm and tingly almost spicy. Graphite and leather are found on the palate too, plus a distinctive, eucalyptic note. The tannins are round and pleasant, the mouth full and the finish long.

After a couple of hours, the wine shows more and more sapidity, an umaminess reminiscent of soy sauce.

Again, pat on the shoulder for me. Usiglian del Vescovo Milleeottantatre didn’t fall short of the spices, herbs and general combination of flavours on our table. The long finish was up to the intensity of the roasted goose. Also, the tannins and energy of the wine balanced the richness of the dish.

What about the dessert and wine pairing?

To close the meal?

Of course, we had planned a dessert and its dessert wine pairing to close up the meal. The goose crushed us though and after that we couldn’t swallow another crumb! Sign up for my newsletter to read the next post desserts and wine pairing!