If your house is anything like mine then by the time Christmas lunch rolls around (last year, 7pm, mentioning no names) you're already onto your fifth Baileys, which is not so much with the turkey. Instead of whacking a few 'half price' bottles of mediocre white into your trolley during the big Christmas shop, it might be an idea to think about what would be nice to drink with your festive meal this year. I popped into my local butcher / deli / fromagerie / winery Hampstead Butcher & Providore and asked what they recommended this year wine-wise without spending a fortune (in case of the aforementioned Baileys scenario).
Owner Philip Gossom (spent 20 years on the London bar and restaurant scene before opening his lovely shop) recommended two impressive Italian numbers - he must have seen me coming. Firstly, a good old reliable Sauvignon blanc: characteristically cool, green and with loads of tropical fruit flavours, this stands up to many a New Zealand sauv and is worth spending the £11.95 on for something you know is going to be good. Philip says it will go perfectly with light starters such as charcuterie or seafood and is a dream match for your turkey dinner.
For red wine lovers, he suggests a Pinot Noir from the same vineyard of Borgo Magredo, and its a very good one at that. From the Fruili region of Italy, just north of Venice, the cool-ish climate means the berry flavours are not allowed to over-develop and become 'jammy' like some pinot noirs can be in warmer regions. Instead, cherries and strawberries dominate, meaning that this one is good for turkey or - controversial for Christmas lunch - beef! Hams will also do well with this one, and apparently you can stick with it for the cheese if you want too. I'm sold*.
Hampstead Butcher & Providore has a fabulous place on Rosslyn Hill down from Hampstead Village, and excitingly a new store has opened in NW6. There are regular wine tastings in both, so do check them out.
* Philip kindly gifted me with the bottle of Pinot Noir to allow me to properly try it at a time other than 11am when I visited the shop! Thank you Philip