With just over three weeks to go to Christmas it’s time to begin planning your holiday drinking if you haven’t done so already. You may have already decided what to eat and drink for the Big Meal itself but chances are you’ll have to provide several other meals over the holiday period for which it’s useful to have an appropriate bottle.
Fish pie is a family favourite in our household not least because it provides a contrast to all the rich turkey and nibbles that seem to dominate our eating for several days. It also has the virtue of being able to be made ahead. I generally make it with cod, prawns and a few tiny queen scallops all folded into a creamy sauce with a mashed potato topping.
Winewise I think it’s hard to beat a fresh young unoaked or very lightly oaked Chardonnay as a companion. I recently came across just such a one in the charmingly named St-Bris le Vineux outside Auxerre from an organically run property called Ghislaine et Jean-Hugues Goisot. It’s a Côtes d’Auxerre 2006 and just delightfully fresh and crisp. Unfortunately they are pretty well sold out of this year’s vintage so that unless you’re passing the domaine or in a good independent French wine merchant you may find it hard to get a bottle but there are many other simple, modest white burgundies - or cool climate Chardonnays from elsewhere - that would do an equally effective job. What you should be looking for is clean, citrussy rather than tropical fruit.