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J’AIME DECEMBER 2021

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F O O D & D R I N K<br />

Which wine this Christmas?<br />

MAKE THE HOLIDAY SEASON EXTRA SPECIAL WITH DRINKS THAT PERFECTLY MATCH YOUR FESTIVE<br />

FARE. KATY EDGINGTON GETS ADVICE FROM STAFFORDSHIRE WINE EXPERT BERT BLAIZE<br />

WINE EXPERT BERT BLAIZE SHARES<br />

HIS FESTIVE PAIRING TIPS<br />

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and you’ve<br />

put enormous effort into stocking the fridge, freezer<br />

and cupboards with the festive fare to match. But<br />

when it comes to choosing what drinks to pair with<br />

each occasion, many of us have only the vaguest<br />

idea. We end up reaching for a familiar name or a<br />

bottle we’ve enjoyed before.<br />

Born and raised in Staffordshire, Bert Blaize is a<br />

sommelier, wine writer and consultant who learned<br />

the ropes at La Belle Epoque in Manchester and<br />

Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons,<br />

before taking the reins at The Clove Club in<br />

Shoreditch - the UK’s top-ranked restaurant in<br />

‘World’s Best 50 Restaurants’ for two years running.<br />

In 2018, Bert was named the UK’s Top Young<br />

Sommelier by Flint Wines. He now takes care of the<br />

wine at Serge et le Phoque in Fitzrovia and opened<br />

his first shop in London in 2020. It’s safe to say he<br />

knows a thing or two about pairing wine and food<br />

Bert’s book Which Wine When, co-authored with<br />

his friend Claire Strickett and published in 2019, has<br />

lots of easy-to-follow advice on choosing wines to<br />

serve alongside all of your festive fare in a chapter<br />

dedicated to ‘going the extra mile’. With roast turkey,<br />

they recommend a zesty, fresh white like an Albariño<br />

or a textured white like a Chardonnay or Chenin<br />

Blanc. If you’re going for rich, dark duck or goose,<br />

try a fruity, spicy red like a Northern Rhône Syrah or<br />

Austrian Blaufränkisch. A vegetarian main like whole<br />

roast celeriac is complemented to perfection by an<br />

aromatic white Rhône blend.<br />

There’s another whole chapter on wines to pair with<br />

cheese - ideal if you’re taking on board our pointers<br />

from the November issue on building the perfect<br />

cheese board. Bert and Claire suggest Pecorino to go<br />

with Pecorino, for example, and a Chilean Cabernet

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