Drinking with Christmas birds

Christmas is a break from work so is an ideal time to eat and drink. If one is cooking a baroque feast it only seems reasonable to have something nice to drink. Here are some suggestions.

Of course, turkey is a dreadful bird that is almost invariably dry and tasteless. If you are mis-guided enough to cook turkey you’ll something refreshing and thirst-quenching to drink. German Riesling at Kabinett or Spätlese ripeness works quite well. 2004s and 2005s are sitting on a lot of shelves at the moment and they have plenty of fruit and good acidity so make for crowd-pleasing drinks. The last time I was unfortunate enough to eat turkey I enjoyed some rather nice Chablis with it. Look out for 2002s and 2004s. Macon or Pouilly-Fuissé are also good matches, again 2004s and 2002s are good to drink well.

If you want something with a bit more character than boring turkey then a decent chicken can provide pleasure. I’ve ordered a 4.5kg chicken for general eating purposes from this place. If you are eating chicken you really want to make sure it is free-range and has been generally well treated. Poulet de Bresse are damned good birds (if a bit small) and are getting more generally available these days. If you have a good enough bird then it will be worthy of some serious wine. I suggest damned good white Burgundy from one of the three big villages, Meursault, Chassagne-Montrachet or Puligny-Montrachet. Try and get a decent Premier Cru and serve it slightly chilled, not at fridge temperature. Savennières is also a good match.

For a properly baroque Christmas feast you’ll be cooking goose. I have ordered one from the same place I got the chicken from. Goose meat is very rich and fatty and also quite gamey. Again, serious white Burgundy is a good match. I’ve got a bottle of Lafon Meursault Premier Cru Charmes to have with it. Because of the richness of goose they also go quite well with richer wines. Alsace Pinot Gris is a good match, and German Auslesen with a bit of age works very well. The darker meat of goose can also stand up to red wine. I would suggest a lighter-style red Burgundy that has a bit of age on it. If you have access to any Chambolle-Musigny or Volnay this would be an ideal match.

Whatever you cook and drink I hope Christmas for you will be as excessive and hedonistic as it will be at casa Strange. Hooray for good food and drink!