Whether getting set for a big family Christmas or gearing up for an intimate event we think it is important to be selective with your festive tipple, to be enjoyed responsibly (or not – it is Christmas after all!!)
We will consider sparkling options, our favourite whites, delicious reds, options for dessert and your favourite cheeseboard with pairing suggestions to cover all eventualities and budgets.
It is always handy to keep some high-quality fizz in the fridge over the festive period that will be a crowd pleaser for any unexpected visitors that appear, that get the “oh this is rather good, what is it?” reaction we all love as hosts!
Firstly Tarlant Champagne, this superb family run Champagne house is centred in Oeuilly in the Vallee de la Marne. Benoit et Melanie are in the minority of Champagne producers along with Krug and Bollinger that still ferment their base wines in barre, block the malolactic fermentation to give greater ageing potential and believe in ageing their wines for far longer than the legal minimum.
Tarlant Zero Brut Nature is our top festive Champagne tip. Zero refers to zero dosage (sugar addition) in the final part of the Champagne production process. The result is a fresh, frank and fruit driven Champagne with toast and a touch of honey and bright citric finish. This wine is versatile and food friendly. Perfect served as an aperitif, with elevenses, shellfish, pork dishes or soft cheeses.
Another favourite sparkling option would the Liberator Episode 30 “Come Quickly I am drinking the stars”. This South African Methode Cap Classique is from a 25 hectare farm located just outside the town of Napier, some 30 minutes drive from the ocean on the Cape south coast. A total of some 60 months on the lees, with a relatively low dosage. The fruit is well defined, with rich and nutty complex palate making this the perfect match for your festive elevenses too.
From South Eastern Australia Richmond Ridge would like to firstly show a Chardonnay Semillon blend that offers great quality. This everyday white offers citrus, melon and hints of pineapple fruit with good balance and fresh clean finish. Unoaked and a great match with roast white meats, grilled salmon or range of soft cheese, a great budget option.
Our thirst for all things Sauvignon Blanc based is ever present so next we would like to highlight an Italian Sauvignon of the highest quality, Marchesi di Gresy. A generous style of Sauvignon with excellent depth and length of flavour. Ideal as an aperitif. Also, the perfect companion to hors d'oeuvre, seafood or your festive Christmas dinner – especially good with sprouts in beurre blanc and grilled seafood.
Last but not least, Jacques Carillon, Puligny Montrachet 2015. This is what Puligny is all about. Poised, complex and fine, with a great balance of nutty, honeyed fruit, richness and crisp acidity. Just a whisper of oak in evidence at this stage. Jacques has long been a master at making Puligny for the purist, and this 2015 - from a number of plots around the village - is no exception. The perfect match with anything cooked in butter, grilled lobster, turkey with a mushroom stuffing and delightful with cauliflower cheese.
Gran Cerdo 2020 is all about the purest expression of fruit with whole bunch fermentation, no filtration, no stabilization and minimal sulphur. The winemaker, Gonzalo Gonzalo Grijalba is a legend (and not just for his name) because he has proved that you can make a fantastic wine following Organic & Biodynamic practices, at an affordable price. With its cherry-red, purplish, brilliant colour Gran Cerdo reveals primary notes of fresh fruit, strawberries, raspberries, cherries and violets with clean mineral tones from the granite. This little natural wine is phenomenal value with no funkiness. Screaming for red meats or game but also great with braised red cabbage and sausage stuffing if you go traditional.
Monte Bernardi, Fiasco Vino Rosso is an unoaked red blend made with organic grapes sourced from all over Italy, and is very, very drinkable. It's medium-bodied and full of juicy red berry flavours, with floral and spicy hints. Most importantly, a bit of a bargain in 1 litre format and a great addition to your festive dinner table. Classic food friendly Italian table wine here with a quality twist. We love it with cranberry jelly and pigs in blankets dipped in Dijon mustard.
Gevrey Chambertin Vieilles Vignes 2015 is our perfect match for a turkey, goose or duck centred Christmas dinner. This wine has generous fruit, muscular tannins, spicy touches and beautiful mineral finish with great depth and concentration of fruit. So good with chestnut stuffing and all the trimmings you might need a second bottle on hand!
PORT and PUDDING WINES
Maturity is everything. Fonseca 1985 Vintage Port has luscious black fruit laced with dark chocolate, liquorice and roasted coffee. Perfect to accompany a Lancashire bomb! log burner or open fire optional, but highly recommended. An alternative from Stellenbosch, South Africa's The Bishop of Norwich is a field blend of Portuguese varietals this LBV ‘port’ had x8 years in cask and offers incredible value. Best served with any dark chocolate or strong hard cheese. Both compliment Christmas pudding very well too.
Del Duque VORS Amontillado which shows a dark golden colour due to the extended time spent in cask. On the nose sharp aromas combined with walnuts from the time spent under flor. As well it shows dried fruits, roasted hazelnuts, antique furniture and polished leather. Serve slightly chilled in a small white wine glass in order to appreciate the full bouquet of aromas. The perfect matched with an aged Manchego cheese.
A treat to finish our festive wrap up and your meal Chateau Rieussec, 1er Cru Classe Sauternes a leading Sauternes for many generations. Rich notes of apricot jam and woody spices encircled by a distinct lemon and orange rind freshness. Concentrated yet lively and juicy powerful enough for Christmas pudding, crème brulee or any blue cheese.