The French Wine Centre Christmas Lunch Mixed Dozen

First things first, Christmas lunch starts at 11:30am in my book. If no one else arrives until 1pm then c'est la vie, however that is the time the first cork will be popped!

It's 32 degrees, the lawn is green and freshly cut (this morning) and there is a whisker of a pleasing breeze. Your hands are icy and slightly wet from breaking the ice as the doorbell rings, friends and family start to spill in.

There is no doubt, the first bottle of bubbles gives an initial satisfying 'ahh' then, zip, gone, your glass is empty. The emotion of it all makes me think a bottle of Champagne JP Morel Carte Noir is best. Pleasing classic brioche notes, perfume and persistent Michael 'Bublés'.

Of course as the excitement of it all simmers Aunty Helen (sensible aunty) suggests perhaps a few oysters as she notices the bubbles go to everyone's heads. Freshly shucked of course, paired with Champagne Guiborat's next level up, Prisme.14. Superbly mineral like that of a grand cru Chablis but with laser like focus that cuts through the iodine and saline oysters. The mood still vibrant, however the senses are getting a little more attention by now.

Smoked salmon, dill and a caper-crème-fraîche on a little pancake paired with Pierre Amiot's Aligoté will be perfect. 2018, quite a solar vintage as the French would say. The extra fruit will go beautifully with the sweetness of the smoked salmon, and the caper crème fraîche will cut through the additional body. The first white won't last long so pop the 2018 Jean Pabiot Pouilly Fumé, and pair with a very simple thin-wafer cracker and good quality chèvre cheese. The 2018 Domaine Millet Chablis Vieilles Vignes will go beautifully with both nibbles, in fact try all three wines with the nibbles and see who prefers what. It'll be a fun little game that creates some great chat. This early in the day a little debate is fairly safe. Do not have a debate with Uncle Phil at the end of the day.

There is usually a bit of time between now and lunch. Some relaxing and still nibbling on prawns with whipped mayo, avocado and wasabi dip while others play a little backyard cricket. For this reason I made the executive decision to include three bottles of 2019 Domaine Michel Bedouet Muscadet Sevre et Maine 'Clos des Grands Primo'. The perfect hydrator and seafood accompaniment. You can think, or you can just drink!

An Australian Christmas spread can be as varied as a Chinese wet market. A nice array of varying reds is in order. Camille Cayran Le Pas de la Beaume with roast pork, particularly with crackling. Domaine Robert Denogent's Macon Rouge is a Gamay from 100 year old vines, it will go beautifully with glazed ham. Have the Domaine Rouchier's Syrah 'Luc' with lamb. Maxime Dubuet Boillot's Volnay 'sur Roche' with absolutely anything. The nature of French wines having higher acid; will keep the conversation that little bit more sprightly and even give Garry an extra half an hour before he falls asleep on the couch.


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Jono Hersey