CHRISTMAS and celebrations go hand in hand so what better way to get the party started than with bubbles!

Made by the same ‘traditional method’ as Champagne, Spanish Cava is an excellent and much cheaper alternative. Legally it can be produced anywhere in Spain but most comes from the Penedes region of Catalonia.

Grape varities and percentages used to make Cava vary, depending on brand style but Macabeu, Parellada and Xarel-lo are the most traditional strains.

Look out for Brut on the label for a dry style, or Semi-Seco if you prefer something a bit sweeter. If you really want to push the boat out, invest in a bottle of Juve Y Camps, the Cava of choice for the Spanish royal family.

Turkey is not an overly flavoursome white meat and, twinned with its low fat content, can taste dry if not cooked carefully. With this in mind, a wine shouldn’t be too strong or powerful, but does need a compatible flavour profile.

PERFECT MATCH: Turkey and Garnacha

A medium bodied red wine such as Garnacha with its red fruit flavours of strawberry and raspberry will match well with the cranberry sauce. Carinena from Aragon is another red fruit-dominated wine but with a meaty backbone and notes of cinnamon and allspice.

If red is not for you, then a full bodied white like oaked chardonnay would taste just as delicious, but if you want to keep it Spanish go for a white Rioja.

Made with the Viura grape, this wine is traditionally fermented in oak barrels and develops delicious dried yellow fruit aromas.

Love it or hate it, Christmas pudding is the go to for afters. Figures released by the Freight Transport Association show that 25 million of them where eaten in the UK alone in 2014.

Packed with dried fruit and dense in texture, this dessert demands a wine with weight behind it. Malaga wine is produced by drying Pedro Ximenez grapes under the hot sun to concentrate the sweetness.

The grapes are then used to make a thick, black liquid before being fortified. The resulting wine is sweet, strong and tastes like raisins and molasses. Perfect for pud!

 

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