This year will mark my second Swedish julbord. My mother-in-law sets the table with julmust and aquavit. But she loves wine and is definitely eager to include a bit of wine tasting at the Christmas table. As the Julbord is a fairly new concept to me, I am anxious to explore some of the pairing options as I think it is one of the all time most difficult tables to choose one wine for. So, for our Christmas collection we are releasing this December, I chose wine that I will be serving at my own in-laws house for the Julbord.
I like a kabinett riesling from Mosel for almost everything at the table but especially for the gravlax. I want something with bright acidity and that is balanced with a bit of sweetness so that it mirrors the gravlax that has been cured with salt and sugar. The mustard glazed ham also loves Kabinett riesling as the juiciness of the riesling almost infuses itself into the ham.
When the warm dishes make an appearance like the Janssons frestelse and the köttbullar I want something with a splash of red juicy fruit. I find that ample fruit helps balance the saltiness of all the dishes. I want there to be acidity in the wine but I don’t want the wine to be too lean or austere. The wine needs a bit of plumpness and so, out comes the Grenache. I like the wines from Montsant because they all have a bit of weight and concentration without compromising their freshness. Other wines that could fit the bill would be a riper, fuller style of Gamay or Pinot Noir. A Russian River Pinot Noir from California would sit well at the table as would a more concentrated Gamay from Morgon within Beaujolais.
After we have all had our share of the Julbord, we usually still want to hang around the table and continue conversation. That’s when we open our next wine. I like a wine at that point which matches ourselves. I want to drink something that is comforting and continues with some of the flavors we have just had. My colleague Lars Trogen recommends Syrah and I have to agree! Syrah has this inherent bit of clove spiciness to it as well as lots of berry tones. Of course the world of Syrahs is a diverse one and can run the game from very ripe to very austere, in this case, I like something with a bit more concentration. The clove tones extend all the warm tones that were just enjoyed throughout the meal. I find that sticking with one more dry glass of wine helps to digest the giant feast.
Erin Stockton, sommelier at Gaston winebar.