This dish has an inherent sweetness – the honey of course, but also the pumpkin and onions. However the slightly salty feta cheese, vinegar and the vegetal spinach will temper the final flavours allowing us to go for a dryish style white wine which, nevertheless, retains a certain crispness.
Moscatel and Gewurztraminer will be too aromatic; Sauvignon and probably Verdejo, too acidic. A good bet will be an Albariño white from DO Rias Baixas – the 2010 vintage should be excellent.
Or we could look for a Viognier, a variety that is becoming more prevalent in Iberia – one from not too high a vineyard which may have a very slightly increased residual sugar content to match those sweet flavours.
I’ve chosen two wines here – the first a Cava for the amuse gueueles before sitting down to eat and the second, a white wine to accompany the starter.
Bodegas Domini de la Vega’s ArteMayor Brut Nature Reserva 2004/2005 is a stunning Cava – in fact Spain’s highest ranked (with 93 points out of 100) in American Wine Guru Robert Parker’s list! This Valencia bodega surprised the cava-making fraternity when two of their reserva wines were voted the best in Spain at the turn of this century and they go from strength to strength.
ArteMayor is made from reserva Chardonnay and Macabeo, there are bready notes as you’d expect but a much greater depth of flavour with some herbs on the nose. Top cava which will delight all!
From DO Valdeorras, in Galicia, Pezas da Portela 2007 is an excellent wine from the Val de Sil Bodega. It’s made from 100% Godello, darling grape variety of the DO but these grapes are selected from different parcelas, fermented separately in oak with stirring of the lees and left for a longer period in tank to blend perfectly together. The harmony between the ripe fruit (look for white stoned fruit) and oak couldn’t be better and the whole will make a super foil for the smoked salmon.
Like Pinot Noir of Burgundy and, for some, fine Bordeaux made from Cabernet and Merlot, Spain’s Tempranillo has a certain affinity with turkey. Many commentators look to La Rioja or nearby Ribera del Duero for perfect matches – I have in the past myself, and been delighted with the results. However this time I’m going with the same grape variety, though known by one of Tempranillo’s aliases, Tinta de Toro, but coming, as you might expect from DO Toro.
Bodegas Fariña has been making top class wine near Toro for generations and their flagship wine, Gran Colegiata 2004, is a perfect wine for the turkey and all it’s trimmings. Dark and light red fruits (strawberry, loganberry and blackberry) and earthy minerality (think Autumn leaves) with integrated oak and a touch of mountain herbs (thyme and a whiff of bay) combine on the palate to complement the light and dark meat of the Christmas Turkey!
Finally, as Noelle so succinctly put it, the liquid-Christmas pudding as experienced when you open a bottle of Bodegas Peréz-Barquero’s, Gran Barquero PX (Pedro Ximenez) Sherry from DO Montilla-Moriles – will go absolutely perfectly with Christmas Pudding! The dried figs and ripe dates on the nose will blend so well with the pudding that this really is a marriage made in heaven!
** Please note that Noelle’s alternative Christmas dessert made with succulent Oranges, so appropriate for South East Spain will be very happy to be accompanied with Bodegas Vicente Gandía’s Fusta Nova dessert wine made from Moscatel which always has a lick of orange peel on the nose and the palate; or look again to Bodegas Fariña for their white dessert wine too – another perfect match with similar orange notes.