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Match your Xmas lunch and wine

dita close up champers

Excuse me, pass me a towel, I’ve just had my morning champagne dip. Here, hold my nipple tassels for a second…. Ah, that’s better!

Muddy is no stranger to the joys of a good bottle of wine, and the more I meet independent wine producers the more I fall in love with their ethos. I know you can buy Chianti for a fiver in Tescos or whatever, but the indie merchants really know their stuff (I mean, really), advise you better and most importantly if you’re watching your pennies they’re surprisingly competitive on price when it comes to quality, because they’ve learnt the hard way that they have to compete with the supermarkets to survive.

Proper indie wine stores (no Majestic, not you!) are now sadly few and far between, but the ones that are hanging in there are successful because they’re seriously good. I went into the Old Butchers Wine Cellar in Cookham, just on the Bucks/Berks border last week and, aside doing a mental supermarket sweep along its aisles *hiccup*, owners Angela and Paul were so knowledgeable that I ended up buying up a whole load of wines matched for my Christmas Day lunch. It was massively helpful, and unless you’re a secret Master of Wine hope you it helpful too!


Bubbly aperatif


I always start Christmas Day with a bubbly. Doesn’t have to be champers, Prosecco can be just as lovely. Have on its own or pop in a rhubarb liqueur for something a bit different. The liqueur we stock is fresh and natural, and is also available in gingerbread, cranberry, creme de menthe, peach (for a bellini) etc. We have around 20 different champagnes including a special cuvee Renee Jolly that will knock the socks off a Bollinger.

Suggestions: Prosecco Le Contesse, Italy £11.99 – fresh and vibrant, a wonderful easy drinking Prosecco. Renee Jolly Blanc de Noir, Champagne, France £29.99 – made with 100% Pinot Noir giving a wonderful structure and palate.

Smoked salmon

smoked salmon

Keen on your smoked salmon blinis? A crisp fresh sauvignon blanc is the ideal aperitif. A New Zealand Malborough would work well, or even better, how about a sauvignon blanc from Les Charmettes, a small vineyard in the Languedoc-Roussigon region that produces superb, quaffable wines between £1-3 less than the NZ sauvignons.

Suggestions: 2014 Les Charmettes Sauvignon Blanc, Cotes du Thau, Languedoc Roussillon, France £8.99 – fresh, vibrant, zingy, a lovely citrussy style that will leave you wanting more. 2014 Two Rivers Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand £12.99 – a fresh green and grassy NZ Sauvignon Blanc that delivers on the palate and has a long finish.



Pinot noir is a perfect complement to turkey. It’s not too overwhelming, it’s soft and rounded and quite fruity, but not too fruit driven and complex. We have a fantsastic pinor noir from Australia and another from the South of France that I’d definitely recommend. If you’re not keen on reds, a good chardonnay would match nicely too – maybe a superior Chablis, or a lightly oaked wine from the south of France. Steer clear of Sauvignon Blanc for this course – it will be too acidic and you’ll want more complexity on your mid palate.

Suggestions: 2013 Cave Saint-Verny Pinot Noir, Loire, France £10.99
– a smooth Pinot with lashings of red cherry fruit and a firm structure. 2014 Philip Shaw Wirewalker Pinot Noir, Orange, Australia £12.29 – strawberries and red cherries on the palate with an element of spice this pinot noir has excellent fruit, weight and texture.
2013 Domaine Aspes Chardonnay, Languedoc Roussillon, France £11.99 – a wonderful example of what this region has to offer, Burgundian in style, lightly oaked with a long finish. 2013 Maison Auvigue Macon Fuisse, Burgundy, France £14.99 – citrussy and floral with a touch of hazelnut, this wine has a wonderful texture, is fruit driven with a long finish. 2013 Château Panery Côtes du Rhône, France £9.99 – a blend of Grenache and Syrah, a lovely fruity number with a touch of spice, good structure and fine tannins.



Not everyone is crazy for turkey and we are definitely seeing an increase in customers wanting to try something different at Christmas. Game has some punch but can still be quite delicate – it’s not as full a flavour as beef – so for wine you’re looking for something a bit more elegant and restrained. A good match would be a red Bordeaax – there are some very good cru bourgois wines out there that offer very good value for money from about £12.99 up. Traditional clarets, barolo, rioja will work brilliantly. As a white wine option, you could maybe go for a pino gris, but unless you’re allergic to reds, I’d stick with them with game.

Suggestions: 2008 Finca Loranque Lacruz Syrah, Toledo, Spain £11.99 – a spicy nose with a soft and elegant palate jam packed with rich cherry jam flavours and a long elegant finish. 2008 Château Prieuré des Mourgues, Saint Chinan, France £11.99 – a rich and fruity wine bursting with blackcurrants with a touch of spice.



I like Claret or Bordeaux with my beef, or another good option is an Argentinian malbec, a big powerful wine that was virtually created to match the Argentinian’s love of meat!

Suggestions: 2012 Marco Zunino Malbec, Rapel Valley, Argentina £9.99 – the perfect accompaniment to beef, rich dark fruits on the palate, a full bodied and well balanced wine. 2008 Chateau Fontesteau, Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux, France £19.99 – rich ripe red cherries and blackcurrants followed by a touch of violets on the palate, smooth tannins and a long generous finish.




I have the totally perfect accompaniment for Christmas pudding – an amazing Australian muscat for 14.99, a raisiny fortified wine that still has a lovely freshness to it and a great match for mince pies, Christmas puds and cakes. I actually dream about having a glass of this at  Christmas! For lighter puddings, a Sauternes would be a good option – it’s a bit cleaner, paler, lighter, so won’t overpower a more delicate dish.

Suggestions: Stanton and Killeen Rutherglen Muscat 37.5cl, Australia £14.99 – classic rich raisin fruit flavours and well balanced, the perfect accompaniment with Christmas pudding.

Cheese course


Well, you could match a different wine to every cheese, so this one’s tricky. In truth by this stage really anything goes. Drink what you enjoy, whether it’s an oaky chardonnay, a bordeaux, a dessert wine, even port. Personally I always like a glass of white wine, usually a Reisling or a Gewürztraminer.


So there you go, peeps. Hope you found that useful! Call Angela if you want some advice, and she can put a lovely selection together for you, totally based on your budget – they really want your wine experience to be a happy one (I know – awwww!). There’s free delivery within 5 mile of Cookham, or if you’re further away it’s a small delivery charge of £6.90 for a dozen bottles, and £9.99 for less than a dozen.

Old Butchers Wine Cellar, High St, Cookham, West Berkshire SL6 9SQ. Tel: 01628 819027.








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