Festive food and fizz
Unsure of what tipple to serve with your festive feast? Keep it simple, say Hawkins Bros, and make it an English fizz.
Sparkling wines are traditionally only served with canapes or as an aperitif, but a good fizz can hold its own with mains and desserts in ways that might surprise you. English sparkling wines are incredibly versatile and span a vast range of styles, they also pair beautifully with a whole lot of seasonal foods.
Simon and James, the brothers who are Hawkins Bros wine merchants, are big fans of fizz. And English fizz at that. So much so, they sell only English sparklings wines from their shop based at Secretts farm shop at Milford. They’re hosting a festive wine pairing masterclass on Fri 15 Dec.
Here’s what they like with their Christmas favourites. But remember everyone’s palate is different, don’t be afraid to experiment with flavours, go out there and have fun with your fizz this Christmas.
Smoked salmon is normally seen as the go to food for a sparkling wine. Whether its the wonderfully oily Inverawe smoked salmon or the delicate Mere Fish Farm’s smoked trout, you can’t go wrong with our own Hawkins Bros Brut Reserve 2013 (£25.00). The fuller flavour of our classic cuvee from Surrey balances beautifully with the smokiness of the fish whilst the crisp, appley finish cuts through the natural oiliness of the salmon leaving you with a cleansed palate, ready for the next bite.
Goose and duck
Naturally fatty foods work very well with English fizz. Jenkyn Place Blanc de Noirs 2010 (£31) from Bentley in Hampshire is a 100% Pinot Noir produced by Irish winemaker Dermot Sugrue, it has a savoury, almost umami, character which complements the dark unctuousness of duck and goose.
We like a little levity with our Christmas turkey. Whilst the traditional bird can sometimes seem a little flavour free it can be lifted into foodie heaven by accompanying it with a glass or two of Greyfriars Rose Reserve 2014 (£24.50). This delightful, light-coloured 100% Pinot Noir rose from Surrey has loads of fruit and not a little vanilla on the nose which belies the very dry finish, it really brings out the hidden gamey notes you want in your turkey.
A hard cheese like Goodwood Organic Cheddar pairs beautifully with a very dry sparkler like Upperton’s Alia 2013 (£28). This 100% chardonnay blanc de blanc, grown just outside Petworth, won two international gold medals this year and matches the nuttiness of Goodwood Estate’s impressive cheese.
Draw the curtains, forget the Sauternes or Gewurztraminer and go for Ambriel’s English Reserve (£35.00). This Demi-Sec from the village of Nutbourne in West Sussex is a perfect match for the silky, guilty pleasure that is foie gras.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a little chocolate! The Hungry Guest’s chocolate brownies are everything a brownie should be, soft, mouth-melting and full flavoured and for that we recommend something slightly unusual, Bolney Estate’s Cuvee Noir 2012 (£24.50), a sparkling red! Grown and made 10 miles north of Brighton this dry, sparkling 100% Pinot Noir wine was born to pair with chocolate. You’ll just have to trust me on this! Its stunning.
Hawkins Bros are wine merchants with a difference, they sell only English wines. Based at Secretts Farm Shop in Milford they deal with 32 vineyards across the south of England.
Hawkins Bros are hosing an English Fizz and Christmas Food Pairing Masterclass on Fri 15 Dec. Tickets are available here.