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Greg Matisse is Head Steward at The Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket.

 

He is the guardian of the Victorian cellars that are the perfect place for storing an enviable collection of wine.

 

We asked him to come up with some tips for selecting wines for this festive season.

 

Temperature

Temperature is important to get the most from wine’s flavour. We recommend serving white wines at 10 C. Store your wine in the fridge, but take it out and open it 15 minutes before serving.

 

Bubbles and fizz

When it comes to Christmas celebrations you can’t beat Champagne. Look for reserve level of Champagne and/or the 2002 or 2005 vintages.

 

"The old rule about serving a red wine at room temperature no longer applies because most rooms today are kept warmer than in the past. It is actually best if your red wine is chilled ever so briefly."

Something for the turkey?

 

During winter time and obviously the Christmas period, we would recommend Claret. Turkey needs a wine with strong character. Due to the nature of these wines, they may throw some sediment, so decanting your wine into either a decanter is a must. It will also bring elegance to your dinner table.

 

Prefer white?

 

When it comes to choosing a white wine, be guided by what you are going to serve. For fish we would recommend a burgundy white, such as Chablis, it is a perfect match for oysters and other seafood. A Sancerre will also suit.

 

Something for afters?

 

Christmas Dinner wouldn’t be complete without a sweet wine to match pudding. A Sauternes is a perfect partner for the fruit rich traditional treats like mince pies.

 

To finish

 

With cheese it has to be port! We recommend finishing off the meal with a glass of Armagnac. A rustic style of brandy when compared to Cognac, it is often aged for many years and makes an excellent digestif.

 

Merry Christmas to you all!

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