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Stratford wine merchant offers Christmas drinks advice

PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 December 2015

Reporter Mark Shales tries a drop of wine from northern Italy at Bottle Apostle, in Stratford

Reporter Mark Shales tries a drop of wine from northern Italy at Bottle Apostle, in Stratford

Archant

Christmas time, mistletoe and...

Miranda Fong and reporter Mark Shales with Lazlo VagasiMiranda Fong and reporter Mark Shales with Lazlo Vagasi

Perhaps not be the first thing we think of, but for many families the addition of wine will complete meals and social occasions over the festive period.

But with supermarkets stocking bottles of all shapes and sizes, it can be easy to get lost and confused.

As someone that doesn’t know his bourrisquous from his montepulcianos, I visited one of the borough’s newest wine merchants for some expert advice.

Bottle Apostle opened their latest store in Stratford’s East Village earlier this year and currently stock 475 different wines.

Wine list

Chablis 2014, Domaine de la Malandes (Burgundy, France) £16.50

Good with: Seafood

Vorgeschmack White 2014, Arndorfer Mitges (Niederosterreich, Austria) £14.80

Good with: Ham

Santenay Vieilles Vignes 2013, Jacques Giardin (Burgundy, France) £19

Good with: Turkey, chicken, beef wellington

Barbaresco Sanadaive 2011, Adriano (Piemonte, Italy) £22

Good with: Rich roasts like lamb or beef

Sydre Brut NV, Eric Bordelet (Brittany, France) £8

Good with: New Year parties

Dry White Port NV, Niepoort (Douro, Portugal) £16

Good with: Christmas pudding, cheese

Table Beer, The Kernel Brewery (Bermondsey, London) £2.60

Good with: most occasions

I was treated to a sample of seven beverages catering for practically every yuletide occasion, starting off with a Chablis, Domaine de la Malandes – a perfect seafood accompaniment.

“It’s something that ticks all the boxes at Christmas time,” said marketing manager Miranda Fong, 30.

We followed this with a little Austrian number, Vorgeschmack White, Ardorfer Mitges, a recommended choice for the families that enjoy a good Christmas ham.

But what about those tucking into turkey on Friday?

"Ooh that's a snazzy bouquet"

A supple red Burgundy is the choice of the professionals – Santenay Vieilles Vignes, Jaques Giardin, none-the-less.

“This wine actually smells like Christmas,” added Miranda. “It’s Christmas in a glass.

“It’s very light wine, which is good because turkey’s not a very fatty meat.

“The golden rule with wine is to let the food shine. There’s no point in getting a bottle of wine that overpowers the food.”

Already a fan of wine, though definitely not an expert, I was amazed to learn a few new tricks for unleashing more liquid taste.

Sniff the wine, sure. Gently sip it, of course. Swill it around your mouth, ok, why not?

But then after swallowing, breathe out through the nose. I certainly wouldn’t have thought of that, but I was amazed at how much flavour a little snort could unveil.

For those planning a stronger meat – a roast beef or lamb perhaps – a Barbaresco Sanadaive, Adriano, is advised.

“If you’re having a dish with rich meat then this wine is perfect,” explained Miranda. “When you have something really fatty you need something to cut through that flavour.”

But it’s not just wine that will be quaffed over the festive period.

A Brittany cider could be a sound choice for those New Year parties – Sydre Brut, Eric Bordelet – while a good-tasting social beer – The Kernel Brewery’s Table Beer – provides something for those not swayed by vino.

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