We believe a jolly festive feast deserves a wine list to match. As fans of a locally-made drop, to complement our exclusive yuletide menu created by Leiths School of Food and Wine, we have paired each dish with a sumptuous English wine, designed to add a splash of excitement and a touch of quintessentially British style to the celebrations.

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Want to try out the dishes for yourself? Three of the recipes can be found here, while the full story featuring this wonderful feast can be found in Wildflower Magazine’s new festive issue.

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CANAPÉ

The dish: Cheese biscuits with tomato mascarpone cream and slow roasted tomatoes

The wine: Ashling Park Estate Rosé £31.50

You can’t start a Christmassy feast without bubbles. Slow roasting the tomato tempers its acid, proffering a sweet tang against the fatty cheese, which is perfectly cut through by the almost freshly-squeezed acid of the sparkling wine. As a rosé sparkling, created with 80% Pinot Noir, this wine offers complexity and depth with dark berry notes to complement this wonderfully sweet yet salty canapé.

This rosé, made from grapes grown on the chalky slopes of the South Downs in West Sussex is a worthy Gold Medal and Trophy winner for Best Sparkling Rosé (WineGB 2020 Awards).. Created in the Traditional Method (just like Champagne), it has spent an incredible five years on its lees infusing subtle brioche notes amongst the fruit forward bubbles.

This is an elegant English Sparkling Rosé (and a very glamorous way to get the party started).

ashlingpark.co.uk

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STARTER

The dish: Warm salad of tender stem broccoli, lemon labneh and mushrooms

The wine: Woodchester Valley Culver Hill 2019 £12.95

A unique blend of Ortega, Seyval Blanc, Solaris, Pinot Gris and Bacchus grapes in this white wine lends body, creaminess and complexity without compromising our flavour-filled starter. With garlicky pesto and creamy yoghurt dressing, our warm salad needs an easy drinking, light wine with a slightly sweet roundness to allow the umami flavours to shine, yet with high enough acidity to cut through the dressing.

From the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, Woodchester’s Culver Hill is great example of an English still white wine that is also very food friendly. With a number of interesting grapes making up its cast, standouts are the oak fermented Ortega (that’s where the creamy roundness comes from), Solaris (that’ll be the lovely silky texture) and the all-star Bacchus leading with its fresh acidity and trademark gooseberry and elderflower notes.

A wonderfully balanced wine, combining hints of crisp apples, ripe peach and lemon notes with a subtle minerality. And at 11.5% alcohol, this is very easy to enjoy and a great way to dive into any feast.

woodchestervalleyvineyard.co.uk

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MAIN COURSE

The dish: Venison fillet, Madeira and juniper sauce with pickled blackberries

The wine: Simpsons Rabbit Hole Pinot Noir 2020 £26

A stylish dish deserves a stylish wine. Matching the gamey meat and blackberries, this red wine simmers with notes of dark cherry, smoky oak, ground coffee and tart strawberries.

A tip for wine matching is to pair delicate dishes with delicate wines – here it’s all about partnering the lean, gamey venison and fruity sauce with a wine that is light to medium body with fruity gaminess on the palate, yet with low to medium tannins so as not to clash with the subtle combination of flavours in the dish.

A fruit forward Pinot Noir is a great choice, and with one of the UK’s leading winemakers at the helm, Simpson’s, you are in for a treat. Born, bred and produced in Kent, this is more of a European style Pinot Noir, wonderfully complex with a long finish.

It’s so popular, the Rabbit Hole Pinot Noir usually sells out each year, so we suggest you get cracking on securing your order.

simpsonswine.com

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DESSERT

The dish: Gingerbread baked Alaska

The wine: Biddenden Late Harvest Ortega 2018 £122

This decadent dessert complements this delightfully moreish. lusciously sweet wine, which is surprisingly light, yet warming, its floral aromas evolving into honey and butterscotch notes on the palate.

As this dessert comes with a little gingery kick, a sweet wine with low alcohol will complement it beautifully. At 10% alcohol, this absolute belter of a wine from Kent punches way above its weight on the nose and palate, aromatic florals give way to complex, round and irrepressible flavours of nectar, honey and butterscotch. The finish goes on for what feels like forever, with the tiniest hint of pepper at the end. Matching the sweet tang of the dish with the high acidity of this wine, keeps everything fresh, clean and crisp.

The 2018 vintage in the UK was renowned as one of the best to date, a warm spring followed by a long, hot and dry summer allowed the grapes to be left on the vine until well into October. As the specially-adapted-for-sweet-wines Ortega begins to raisin, the sugar concentrates, creating high, naturally occurring sugar levels.

This wine has spent time in oak barrels and over two years ageing in bottle, which means age-ability, however a wine this good may not last too long in our cellar, especially for a special occasion!

biddendenvineyards.com

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PETIT FOURS

The dish: Christmas biscotti

The wine: Nyetimber Cuvée Chérie MV £38

The perfect way to salute a celebration, the honey and citrus notes of this special multi-vintage Demi-Sec sparkling is a decadent pairing to our sweetly spiced biscotti.

World-renowned Nyetimber, with vineyards across West Sussex and Hampshire is one of the UK’s most prestigious producers and this 100% Chardonnay Demi-Sec is amongst its best. Designed with food in mind, this slightly sweet wine pairs beautifully with both sweet and savoury dishes and partners particularly well with our more-spice-than-sugar biscotti.

Brimming with delicate honey notes, the wine is balanced with hints of lemon and tangerine, finishing with a lean minerality, whilst its famously fresh English acidity and silky-smooth bubbles keeps it fresh, fun and festive fabulous..

Starting (and ending) a special meal with sparkling is always a winner in our books!

nyetimber.com

*All information correct at time of publishing however may be subject to change