We recently had Mike Turner of ‘Please Bring Me My Wine’ fame hosting our second festive #AskBordeaux Twitter Q&A
Although it’s another 11 months until Christmas, we thought you’d like to hear his answers – just as turkey isn’t just for Christmas, nor are parties, red wine or fizz! Head to our Everyday Bordeaux selection Oddbins or la Commanderie from The Wine Society.
Any tips for pairing Bordeaux wines to roast beef?
Oh yeah! Abso-bloody-lutely! Although depends on how you like to cook it, rare or well-done. If medium-rare then head up the Haut Medoc for the Cru Bourgeois value here, something like Barreyres from Sainsburys; fruity and smooth, but enough tannin to cope. If you like it well-done then head up to Bourg or Blaye and check out the Malbec blends, like Haut Prieur from Laithwaites or La Croix Davids from 20h33.
How long can I leave a bottle of wine open for and it still taste ok? Do stoppers help extend the time a lot?
Not sure many would make it through the party unfinished, but 4-5 days in the fridge with the cork back in. Just make sure you get the reds back to room temperature before drinking them, cold Cabernet Sauvignon is an acquired taste!
Can you recommend a good white wine to drink with my family over Christmas dinner please?
Am assuming (rightly or wrongly) you”re hitting the turkey! I”d go for a smokey Sauvignon Gris, preferably from Francs Côtes de Bordeaux if you can find it, but Laithwaites have a Sauvignon Gris Château Le Coin Bordeaux Blanc for £11
My office Christmas party tonight. Looking for a red wine to get me in the “spirit” but still allow me to function tomorrow
You want something supple, fruity and just a good laugh of a drink, so go for Bordeaux Superieur all the way. The Cour d”Argent from Waitrose for £11 won”t let you down.
I”m really into pulses & legumes (lentils, chickpeas) what”s a good wine to match with these? It”s tricky!
To serve with pulses and lentils you need more rounded wines, with bit of earth in them. Again the Fronsac which is Merlot based would work, or even head to Graves for a Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon mix up. These wines have slightly more ‘edge’ but will still have the earthiness to them – Chateau des Perligues from Averys would fit the bill there.
If you were to pick one wine to put on your Christmas wish list, what would it be?
Ooh now then! I”m an unashamed Pomerol nutter, so probably something from there, although obviously for the top wines (like everywhere in the world) it’ll make me a bit lighter in the wallet
Dinner party tomorrow night. I don”t know what”s being cooked… best all-rounder white and red?
For whites, get a classic Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon blend. It”ll go with nearly everything fish and white meat. Head to Graves again, for a decent one you”re looking £12-£15, which for a top white wine is not bad at all. For reds then Saint Emilion Grand Crus can be great value (£15-£20 for some good ones), usually packed with flavour, and again a great all rounder with the classic red wine foods.
Does the spoon in the bottle keep the bubbles in sparkling wines? Or is that an urban myth?
Afraid it”s a myth that one, but not saying we haven”t all tried it! But it’s unlikely you”ll open that Crémant de Bordeaux and not finish it in one go, it’s so light and more-ish!
How does the cooking of the beef affect what wine you should pair with it?
A couple of things really, cut and cooking matter. You”ll need any pairing wines fairly powerful, but with fattier cuts – like a sirloin – you need more acidity in the wine to cut through it. So here look to Graves or the Medoc right at the top of the left bank.
If you grill it longer you”re going to have more charring on the outside and need a bit more fruit in the wine to pair the sweeter angle – check out the Saint Julien region there.
If you like it well-done (like my parents do!) then the proteins are a bit tighter and you need a bit more structure and tannin, so we”re back to Bourg and the Malbec/Merlot/Cabernet blends
What Bordeaux red would you make good mulled wine from?
Ah, that time of year, eh? Well I”ll be honest, I can taste it when there”s bad wine in there, so I’m glad you”re looking to use better stuff. Get something with as much Merlot in it as possible – supple and fruity – and if you want to up the ante then Bordeaux Superieur; that”s what I use!
Vintage question – What last 5 red vintages are drinking well now at 4th/5th class level?
Generally speaking go with the even numbers, you can”t go wrong…08, 06, 04, 02, and 00, although my preference would be 08 or 06 as I like some fruit in there.
What wine would you recommend for a meal before having a wine barrel aged rum for dessert?
If you wanted to go for a red then something powerful to get your mouth ready for the spirit, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon, either punchy from Margaux or Pauillac, or great value from Listrac – check out Fonreaud from the Co-Op.
But to be fair, I”d have a classic, unctuous Sauternes in the middle; it will put all those caramel and spicy fruits in your mouth, and the great thing about top Sauternes is that it”s almost become a hidden secret again, so Yquem aside, you can get the best sweet wines around for nowhere near as much as you”d think!
A half bottle of Suduiraut 2009 for less than £20 at Waitrose?! Do it!!!
They say only cook with wine you”d drink. Do you agree? What”s best for a red wine sauce to go with beef?
I absolutely agree, and actually it”s a tip for any dribbles of wine left in bottles, empty them into an icecube try and freeze them for when you need some stuff for sauces. Ideally use the one you”re drinking at dinner, but let”s not go mad!
Turkey twister!! Normally I serve (dare I say?) a Burgundy with the turkey. What”s a Bordeaux alternative?
I”d say something like a Castillon Cotes De Bordeaux (Terre Blanche from Averys £11), a Lalande De Pomerol (Clos Des Galevesses from 20h33, £18), or a Pomerol (Bellegrave from various, £35-£50) would do the trick, very round, smooth, and if you can get one with 5 years or more on it…
Why should I drink Bordeaux Semillon or Sauvignon blanc over its Aussie equivalents?
I think a well made Bordeaux Blanc is designed to be lighter in style. I’m certainly not saying they don”t have lots of flavour, but it’s all about fish dish pairing and living by the sea, whereas the fantastic Aussie wines are a bit more fruity – although I know that”s horribly generalising!
Any advice on good inexpensive Bordeaux for introduction – my 25+ yr old “kids” like wine, limited budget
Bordeaux brands like Mouton Cadet do a good job of producing “classic” styles like Bordeuax Superieur, rosé, blanc, and Sauternes, usually £8 go. I’d give each a go and then go from there!
Recommendations for red over Christmas? What goes well with cheese?
Anything!! We all love cheese! Blue fans are looking at Sauternes but for the rest then something powerful and intense, with a bit of age. Treat yourself to a top Pauillac, or slide down the expense scale and get something fruity but firm from Francs Cotes De Bordeaux (around £13).