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Christmas Wine Selection and Easy Home Made Gravad Lax
Christmas is coming and along with the seasonal good cheer, we have to think about what presents to buy as well as preparing food and drink for the whole of the festive period. To make life a little easier we’ve been tasting wines on your behalf so we could draw up our London Unattached 2019 Christmas wine selection. Like most families we have Christmas traditions – so we were keen to find something that would pair with our easy home made Gravad Lax. But, it’s one of those days when you need to plan what you will be serving from morning drinks through to a bed time nightcap. Here at London Unattached, we are big fans of sherry and in terms of bang per buck, sherries are probably the best value wines around. With trendy tapas bars on every high street, sherry drinking is no longer the province of fusty old relatives and is reclaiming its rightful place in the drinks world. Tio Pepe (£10.49 from Waitrose Online but widely available) is the world’s best-selling Fino sherry – but don’t let that put you off. It’s a quality wine and its salty tang is ideal with nuts and olives, so perfect as a Christmas aperitif or you could do as we did this weekend and have a glass or three to get you in the mood for Sunday lunch. A Fino sherry is best served chilled just as the Spanish do. Christmas isn’t Christmas without some fizz so we were excited to hear that Jenkyn Place, a Hampshire wine estate run by Simon Bladon and daughter Camilla, have just launched the new Jenkyn Place Blanc de Blancs 2015, RRP£38.00. Fiona went to the launch where is was beautifully matched with a crab canape, but we have been drinking it as a delicious aperitif. At Christmas, I would match it with our usual starter of homemade gravad lax. It is very creamy with a deliciously lemony finish and is perfect for a seasonal celebration. Here is our gravad lax recipe, adapted from one given to us by Patrick Gwynn-Jones of the sadly missed and delightfully louche Pimlico basement restaurant Pomegranates.
Easy Homemade Gravad Lax with Dill Sauce
- 2.3 kg raw salmon cut through bone
- olive oil
- 1 bunch fresh dill
- 1/3 bottle Aquavit
- 1 breakfast cup sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 small handful white peppercorns crushed
- 2 cloves crushed
- 1 bunch dill
- 450 g white sugar
- 2 whole eggs
- 225 g Dijon mustard
- 1 dash white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp Colman's English mustard powder
- 1.1 litres olive oil
Mix all the ingredients for the curing mixture and put aside
Scale but don't skin the fish, then fillet it and with tweezers extract every small bone
Take the two sides of the salmon and smear with olive oil. Place one half of the fish skin sides down in a container on a bed of fresh dill and cover with a layer of finely chopped dill and a 1cm layer of the pickling mixture. Sprinkle the Aquavit over the salmon. Place the other half of the fish skin side up on top to complete the sandwich. Cover with more dill and place a weighted board on top.
The curing time will vary with the thickness of the fish but leave it for at least 24 hours and not in a fridge. The whole fish must be turned over at least three times during the process.
Blend all the ingredients apart from the oil in a food processor. When smooth add the oil until a smooth and creamy consistency is achieved. Bottle the sauce and put in the fridge till you are ready to use.
We have three whites for you all of which would be perfect for Christmas with a smoked salmon or prawn cocktail starter though we tried them with a huge roast trout this weekend and all three paired really well. Villa Maria Private Bin Riesling 2018 (£11.20from Majestic, Ocado or Waitrose) also makes a refreshing apéritif or with its concentrated pineapple notes and crisp lime finish would be great accompanying that legacy favourite Coronation Chicken.
Our next two whites are going to make a great pairing with your Christmas bird. Robert Oatley Signature Chardonnay 2017 (£13.95 from Coop) is perfect with roast white meats with its peach and vanilla flavours and just a hint of oak influence. It’s also handily vegan and organic if that’s an issue with some of your Christmas party.
For our final white we have gone down a more traditional French route with Louis Jadot Bourgogne Chardonnay Couvent des Jacobins 2017 (£17.85 from Wine Rack). This is a more full-bodied wine that along with turkey makes a great match with roast pork. It has a creamy, buttery flavour with some green apple notes and I’m going to be drinking it with my Christmas cheddar.
We have picked two robust reds for you: Chateau Pey La Tour Reserve 2016 (£11.50 from The Wine Society) is a very classy claret and winner of a Silver medal at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards. For the price point, it is great value with big blackberry flavours and will go perfectly with any roast red meats.
If you like your beef rare then why not try CVNE Cune Rioja Reserve 2014 (£15.80 from Majestic and Waitrose), a Spanish blend of Tempranillo, Carignan, Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo grapes, that will also work with lamb or the stronger end of your cheese board with its spice and bramble notes.
Have a great Christmas and do let us know if you have tried and enjoyed any of these wines.
If you are looking for other recipes suitable for Christmas do take a look at our easy Christmas turkey parcels – perfect if you don’t have a large family. Or how about this delicious recipe for a posh mushroom tart with Iberico Bellota ham – the perfect alternative if you don’t like seafood. For dessert, we have a delicious advocaat and mincemeat Christmas ice cream that you can make in advance. We’ll be sharing some more Christmas recipes over the next few days so keep checking the site.