If you are entertaining this year and don’t know your Rioja from your Shiraz, or your Riesling from your Chardonnay, then Surrey Wine School are here to help. We have insider tips and expertise to share with you during this festive party season. If this whets your appetite then check out the contact details at the end – there are plenty of opportunities to buy a Christmas gift voucher for a loved one, or maybe even treat yourself to a course!
Surrey Wine School, situated in the heart of Guildford, is an independently run wine education company that specialises in hosting wine tastings as well as courses.
Jeremy Blood from the wine school explained, “the courses are very relaxed with the emphasis on fun and not stuffy and snobby! I make sure all my wine tasting events appeal to the absolute beginner (as well as the wine enthusiast) so everyone has an enjoyable time with the added bonus of learning a thing or two. They are the perfect opportunity to learn more about wine by giving you the confidence to try new and exciting tastes.”
Alongside gaining further knowledge about wine, there is the chance to learn from a highly experienced chef to help you learn how to create delicious food alongside your expertly chosen wine. Jaqueline Wise is a creative and experienced Cordon Bleu Chef who trained at Tante Marie Culinary Academy. Jacqueline has worked at Buckingham Palace, The Ritz and Michelin Star restaurants as well as in TV and Radio.
Matching Food with Wine: Insider Tips
If you are stuck for ideas on what food and drink to serve this festive season, then Surrey Wine School has got you covered. They have given Go Surrey readers insider tips on which canapés match with wines so you can impress guests with your expert knowledge. Check out the delicious options below, and even better, they are high street wines that won’t break the bank.
This tasty canapé with lots of runny cream cheese requires a wine with palate-cleansing acid but some sweetness due to the honey. Try a dry Riesling, like Tesco Tingle Up Riesling from Australia which cuts through the fat in the cheese.
Smoked Salmon and cucumber
Salmon is another food that loves sharper wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc, but for something, a little different try a lovely palate tingling Australian Semillon, like Waitrose Brokenwood Semillon. This is a lovely match with the fish and the cucumber.
Parma Ham and Gruyere Gougeres
Parma Ham has an oily texture but the nutty hard Gruyere adds a more complex element to the canapé. A rich, delicately oaked Chardonnay would make a fabulous match, so pair with Florent Rouve Viré-Cléssé from Marks and Spencer for £14.00. Made from 100% Chardonnay from the Mâcon, the wine is rounded with peach, honeysuckle and citrus aromas and a hint of vanilla oak.
Miniature Moroccan spiced lamb tartlets with mint, cucumber & yoghurt
Spice with lamb and mint is a tough canapé to match, but Jeremy paired it with a fruity ripe Pinot Noir from Chile. The Bicycleta Pinot Noir from Tesco or Sainsbury is a great choice.
Turkey Christmas Dinner
In a panic about what to serve with the traditional turkey roast on Christmas Day? Jeremy says that turkey should be matched with a wine that has lovely fruit, so a young red Rioja (crianza level) can be splendid, as can a fruity Pinot Noir from outside Europe, such as Chile or New Zealand.
A white wine for turkey needs to have some power, so look to Chardonnay with some oak, or whites made from the Viognier grape can also work well.
For after dinner, try a Muscat De Beaumes De Venise from the Rhone valley; a sweet fortified wine made from the Muscat grape is not as heavy as port, but will work with sweet treats and cheese.
The Gift of an Experience
If you are still debating a gift this Christmas, then the ever more popular option of an experience such as the Surrey Wine School would make the perfect choice. All courses and tastings are available to buy as gift vouchers for Christmas, birthdays and other special occasions and can be booked online.
Festive Drinking Tips with Surrey Wine School
Caroline Barretto with Surrey Wine School
Photo credits: Surrey Wine School