Just about everyone is having a go at recommending sherries for these next couple of weeks so I thought I might share my tuppence worth even if, as is certainly the case, I will certainly not be allowed to choose the wine chez mes parents.
With nibbles you of course want a nice light, refreshing fino or manzanilla I reckon the optimum wine would be the Callejuela Manzanilla de Añada 1/11 but given the scarcity it might be better to settle for a nice elegant fino like Tio Pepe or the Fino Maestro Sierra I had the other day. There are a lot of more intense wines (such as my favourite fino) but you probably don’t want to start too big.
The prawn cocktail and its marie rose sauce are a famously tricky pairing and in theory you would want something nice and fruity. Riesling is the classic and along those lines the fruit and suggestion of sweetness of the Exceptional Harvest might be a good bet (I had originally thought of the Forlong blanco for this role but going back to it I don’t think it has enough sweetness) or, just maybe, the Alba Sobretabla (Lot I).
With the turkey, taters, carrots, sprouts, gravy, bread sauce, cranberry sauce, stuffing and chipolatas I would go Amontillado Fino. Specifically, my number one call would be el Tresillo, but a Fossi or a classic Viña AB would go down very nicely too. You could also try a manzanilla pasada but you would want one at the fruitier end of the scale like the lovely Maruja.
With the Christmas pudding, and all that brandy, brandy butter and cream, you need something that will stand up to it and as balance you might even want a big dry oloroso – a Villapanes or an El Cerro. If you can cope with the sugar rush it could also be an excuse to go sweet: my top pick would be the majestic Noe, which has masses of backbone to balance up all that sweetness. A happy medium might be one of the excellent PX olorosos: Gran Barquero or the Asuncion.
Don’t ask me why, but quite often in our house a second round of dessert then appears – Christmas cake or a Yule log. If it is a log, then this is your chance to definitely hit the Noe (or maybe the Callejuela PX), but if it is a Christmas cake I reckon it would match up pretty well with an Apostoles.
With the stilton, a decent Port and some walnuts (some things just can’t be improved upon). However, once the cheese is cleared away it may be time for a drop of Privilegio or even some Toneles. At the very least, a spot of Tresillo 1874.
And then it would be time to rest one’s eyelids for a few moments while enjoying a comfy sofa.