It has been a long time since I posted about Christmas in Finland. This year, in the final days before Christmas, when the stress starts to build up for the final buyings, wine is probably the one thing you will buy last and most probably the most complicated.
When it comes to Finnish Christmas dinner, the good thing is that there is little variations. Rather than picking a wine for each meal, let’s eliminate.
There are two key problems in Finnish Christmas meal. The first and obvious is the mix of everything on the plate, which means that you will need a very versatile wine.
The second problem are the difficult food flavors or tastes.
In both situation you have two approches: facing the problem with subtlety or with brutality!
1 – the mix
To fix this issue, you either need a versatile wine or you simply need not to take all of the different meals at the same time.
Easiest solution is then to have a red wine and a white wine. Match the red wine with joulukinkku (or elk), laatikot and possibly perunasalatti. Then the white with fish (graavilohi, savulohi), rosoli, salads and everything involving puolukkahillo.
Or you can pick a wine that will be flexible enough: a white wine with acidity and roundness like Chardonnay or Riesling. A light and powerful red wine like Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo or Tempranillo.
Less delicate solution, brutal indeed, is to pick a very strong wine to overpower the food but in that case, avoid puolukkahillo at all cost. In that case, you can aim at very ripe Chilean Cabernet or Australian Shiraz. Even more interesting, a LBV (late bottled vintage) from Portugal. The former may even be a match for the evil puolukka.
2- difficult meals
Two meals are particularly difficult to match: rosoli and puolukka.
In both case, you can manage with Riesling or a sweet wine like Port. Typically the LBV mentioned a paragraph earlier.
Or best, don’t drink wine on these.
As a conclusion, the best wines for Christmas in Finland are :
- Sparkling wines (Kuohuviinit) like Recaredo Terrers or Gramona Celler Battle. Some Champagne will be perfect too, though much more costly (don’t buy anything. bellow 40€)
- White wines like German Rielsings or Chardonnay in general.
- Light (good acidity and stucture) and powerful red like Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo and Tempranillo
- Some fortified wines like “ruby” style Port wines (NO tawny!), like LBV or Single Quinta.
And mostly, enjoy the company!