Roast turkey, roast potatoes, roast carrots, roast parsnips, sprouts, chestnuts, peas, green beans, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pigs in blankets, gravy, bread sauce, minimum requirements on a very large plate. Happy Christmas. Now, what about the wine to go with so many roasts and flavours in one meal?

One plate, just one course in a seemingly limitless number of feeding frenzies on one day of the year, not to mention all the other ‘snacks’ of hams and pies and nuts and jellies and cakes and puddings…….

One plate, main course Christmas Day. Is there one wine that can share the load? Well yes, and also at the same time, not quite yes. 

This much food on one plate will leave your mouth and taste buds battered and worn out by the end. You will need a partner wine to assist your mouth to refresh itself and enjoy the taste sensations over and over again and not feel like it is in a protracted battle to the death, or at least a slumber on the sofa. Does such a creature exist?

You’ve probably heard of the wine I’m about to mention, but perhaps not quite as you might recognise the name, Zinfandel.

Rich and dense flavour to clear palates

Zinfandel is the name of a red grape that has made its best known home in California. In the  UK it is often seen as a rosé of blush, White Zinfandel. It is sweet and slightly fizzy. A real alco-pop of a wine. This is not what we are talking about. 

The Zinfandel for red wine grown in California grows a full-flavour grape that develops into a plummy and peppery wine. Hold it against the inside of your lips to see what this means! It comes with good alcohol levels and can be stored for five to ten years and will develop well during that time.

It is a top class grape and works beyond compare with a full Christmas dinner. If you can find one that has been stored in oak that will assist the digestive process too. Red Zinfandel has a rich, dense full flavour with the ability to clear the palate between mouthfuls.

The Zinfandel grape has a reputation that doesn’t deserve. It used to be rather heavy but newer producers are producing with an eye on European tastes, lighter than used to be 20 years ago.

The red Zinfandel is designed perfectly to go with big plates of rich, gravy laden food that will coat the mouth and leave no ability to taste afresh each mouthful. That is a shame, don’t you think?

You can get very good Californian Zinfandel, red, in the £10-£15 price bracket. You’ll taste; plum, date, dark cherry and cinnamon. You’ll smell leather and it tends to leave a smooth mouth in the same way as a good chocolate.

Another good option is a Primitivo, says The Sommelier. Photo by Welcome Home, Unsplash.

At the start of the article I mentioned a yes and a not quite yes. That was the reply to the question is there one single wine. Well, Zinfandel came from somewhere else to California. Where? Italy!

Primitivo. From Puglia [the heel!]. DNA testing has shown that Primitivo and Zinfandel are the same grape variety. As with Zin, you’ll taste forest fruits, tobacco and leather, all in a good way.

This at least gives you a choice of two version of the same grape to look for, especially if you want to lower your carbon footprint this year.

 So, have a great day this Christmas and remember that there is one wine that can deal with that main course plate, it just happens to have two names, Zinfandel, red or Primitivo. 

Follow the Sommelier UK on twitter for more recommendations as the season of excess dining approaches. 

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