Festive Wine Pairings with WSET

The parsnips are peeled, the turkey’s trussed and the brussels are boiled… now, what to drink? Our local experts Christine Marsiglio and Lauren Denyer from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust are here to help you select the perfect pairings.

Lauren has a background in education having taught at secondary school level for 12 years, before a slight career change to teach about wineHer favourite regions are Languedoc Roussillon, Priorat & Champagne. Lauren is also a certified Sherry educator and has recently spent a week in Jerez.

Christine holds a Master of Science in Oenology and Viticulture.  She worked in Provence before moving to London where she started working for Decanter magazine, however now she’s a full time educator at the WSET School London.  Christine is currently enrolled in the Masters of Wine programme. Her favourite wine regions include Loire valley and New Zealand.


Crayfish Cocktail  “Cremant de Jura is great alternative to Champagne and is made from the same grape, Chardonnay. This sparkling wine would complement many seafood starters and is a perfect way to ramp up your appetite for the main course. With zingy acidity and lemony biscuit aromas, it’s a great way to start your meal.”  – Christine

Turkey & Trimmings “A light and refreshing red wine made from Pinot Noir, Sancerre Rouge has delicate tannins, cranberry fruit flavours and hints of spice. This will pair well with your main turkey dish as it won’t overpower the meat. Perfect, especially if serving a cranberry sauce on the side.” – Christine

Nut Roast “One piece of food pairing advice is to pair like with like. An older white wine like a white Rioja Reserva will have developed lovely walnut and hazelnut character. This is a rich full-bodied dry style of wine that has also spent considerable time in oak barrels so will enhance the flavours of the dish by adding hints of smoke, vanilla and coconut.” – Lauren

Christmas Pudding “Rivesaltes Grenat is a sweet, fortified wine coming from the South of France and has ripe and baked red and black fruit flavours with silky soft tannins and hints of chocolate; a perfect match with your Christmas pudding. Watch out though as the alcohol can be up to 18%; in this case a little goes a long way!” – Christine

Cheese Board “Palo Cortado Sherry is a complex dry style of Sherry with some savoury olive and yeasty flavours. With age it has developed nuttier, caramel and dried fruit character making it a great accompaniment to many different styles of cheese. The fruity and caramel notes compliment the more lively goats cheeses and blue cheeses, with the nutty and savoury character adding more depth to more mature harder styles of cheese.” – Lauren

Established in 1969, WSET School London is the flagship course provider for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET). WSET qualifications are globally recognised as the international standard in wine and spirit knowledge. They are designed for those who are just starting out in their careers, as well as established professionals, and the many enthusiasts who have a passion for wines and spirits.  Thanks to industry leading educators and our carefully selected tasting samples, our courses help students take their knowledge to the next level. Interested to know more? Visit: www.wsetschool.com


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