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Reds and dessert wines 


  Now we come to the main course: I have noticed that more and more people are cooking something other than turkey; so I’ll make suggestions for the turkey, and then some alternatives to go with other dishes, such as goose, lamb, nut  roasts, etc.


 As we all know, turkey is a light meat, and so it is best to drink a light red wine with it – avoid big, rich wines, particularly Syrah. The obvious choice is Pinot Noir – lots of flavour, but light; there are good examples from Chile and New Zealand (try Momo, £12.95 from Fingal-Rock), and, of course, there is red burgundy, starting with a simple Bourgogne at under £10, or working up the scale to a Côte de Nuits Villages, or one of the great famous names such as Gevrey-Chambertin or Nuits St. Georges. Alternatively, traditional Rioja is quite a light wine and goes well, but avoid modern-style Riojas which can be almost black in colour and much too vigorous. Also, Loire reds, which tend to be light, are a good match: Saumur, Chinon, Bourgueil and St. Nicolas de Bourgueil are the classic Loire reds, all made from the Cabernet Franc grape.


 For other dishes such as goose, duck, game birds and pork (and for vegetarians, nut roasts) the wines I have recommended above will fit the bill very well, but you also have some more options, since medium-weight reds will work well here: claret (red wine from Bordeaux), Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from the New World (Australia, Chile, etc.), and Italian reds such as Chianti.


For roast beef, lamb and venison I recommend hearty, full-bodied wines such as Shiraz or Syrah (they are the same grape variety), Grenache, and wines from the Rhône, including Châteauneuf du Pape.


  Now for dessert wines: here the obvious choice to go with Christmas pudding is Sauternes, but it is well worth considering wines made in the same way as Sauternes in neighbouring districts, such as Cadillac, Loupiac and Sainte Croix du Mont, which are not as expensive, but produce some really excellent wines. Or here are three alternatives which you might not have thought of: -


1. Maury (or Banyuls) – this is from the far south of France, made from the Grenache grape; so it is red. Made in the same way as port, it tastes of prunes and raisins, and is sweet but not too cloying – a really fine drink.


2. Madeira – in particular Malmsey or Boal, the two sweetest forms of Madeira.


3. Moscatel de Setúbal – a sweet Portuguese wine from the Setúbal Peninsula south of Lisbon. Check out the rarest form of this wine: Moscatel Roxo 1998 Colecção Privada, £18.50 from Fingal-Rock – a really special, quite unique wine.