Perfect Wines for Christmas!
Want to find out what wines go well with your Turkey? Need to choose the perfect tipple for your mince pies? Look no further. The Big Yellow blog spoke to Matt, Big Yellow’s wine storage expert about finding the crispest whites and the boldest reds to accompany your festive season…
BYSS BLOG: We’re thinking of inviting our friends over the night before Christmas, what wine would you recommend as the warm up to the big event?
Take it easy on Christmas Eve – there’s no good done by peaking too early and waking up on Christmas morning with a sore head. I try to stick to wines that are light in body and low in alcohol, these two are perfect:
Domaine Carneros Brut, Carneros, California, 2007 £19.99 from www.thepurveyor.com
Domaine Carneros is owned by the Champagne house Taittinger who make some of my favourite champagnes. This Californian sparkler is made in the traditional method but is more Pinot Noir dominant than Taittinger giving it a bit more weight. The nose is up front and toasty with pronounced green apple, pear and meadow flowers. Light and expressive on the palate with a creamy finish, a great match with Salmon & cream cheese Bellini’s.
Dr. Loosen Graacher Himmelreich, Kabinett Riesling 2010 £11.99 from Sainsbury’s
German Riesling can be an unbelievably good drink and exceptional value for money. Some of the finest, most intriguing wines that I have ever tasted have come from the Mosel Valley and this wine does not disappoint. Graacher Himmelreich translates to ‘The Kingdom of Heaven’ so this has a fair bit to live up to! Soft citrus peel notes intermingle with honey touches and a slate like minerality on the nose while the off-dry palate is filled with zippy acidity that is nicely smoothed out by some residual sugar. Nectarine and a lemon & lime sherbet length make this wine truly irresistible, as does the low (7.5%) alcohol, the perfect match to sweet chilli prawns.
BYSS BLOG: Both sound lovely, so what about Christmas day?
In the morning when the kids have woken up far too early, are devouring/playing with whatever has been left by Santa, and are chomping at the bit to see what’s been left under the tree, it’s a good time to relax over a glass of something special. Hopefully you’re looking out at a snow covered street near a cosy fire, ready to sit down and enjoy the giving and receiving of gifts. Bubbles are the order of the day and although it may seem a tad early for popping corks your palate is at its optimum at around 11am! Here are a few options to fit any budget.
Chateau du Petit Thouars – Blank de Noir NV £13.80 from Griffinwell Wines www.griffinwell.com
Some great wines are made in the Loire Valley and are often overlooked by wine consumers meaning that there are some great bargains to be had. Made from Cabernet Franc, this wine shows attractive notes of honeysuckle and green apple. A great choice if you want Champagne quality at half the price.
Bluebell Vineyard Estates – Hindleap Blanc de Blancs 2008 £27.50 from The English Wine Centre
English wine is going from strength with champagne houses buying up swathes of southern England for potential vineyards; we really are making some world class sparkling wines. This Blanc De Blanc (meaning it’s made from 100% chardonnay) from East Sussex is made in the traditional method, so is champagne in nearly everything but name. A lovely, brioche like nose is backed up by a fine mousse with gentle green apple and citrus notes following through on the palate. Incredibly elegant and great value, if this was from a certain area in northern France you would be looking at twice the price, something to be proud of!
Bollinger Special Cuvēe NV Champagne (Widely available, around £40)
Well if it’s good enough for the Queen its good enough for me! This NV (Non-vintage) Champagne has a royal warrant and is blended of wines produced from various vintages to allow for a consistent house style year on year. Bollinger is a pinot dominant blend that has a fantastic biscuit like toasty-ness that is supremely drinkable, fantastic acidity will also get you salivating prior to lunch.
BYSS BLOG: We’re getting excited already just thinking about it! So what about the main meal?
Traditional Christmas lunch has got to be turkey with all the trimmings, unfortunately all those added extras on the plate can make it a pretty hard meal to match wine with but also giving you the chance to have a bit of fun and experiment with.
I’m a big believer in choosing a wine that you love to drink over something you enjoy less but have just to suit the food you’re eating. We also usually have the added bonus of extra guests for Christmas meaning more than one bottle is usually required, this gives us the chance to do a bit of experimentation! Below are the wines that I will be sharing with friends & family over lunch on the 25th December.
Louis Jadot Chassagne-Montratchet 2008, £25.64 from www.waitrosewine.com
If I could only have one wine to go with the turkey this would probably be it. A good value premier cru Burgundy with an elegant intensity from well used oak maturation followed through with peach & hazelnut character and fantastically well structured mouth feel, would also work well if you are going to have roast chicken.
Domaine Du Chateau-Gris, Clos de Lupe, Bourgogne 2007 £78.60 per case of 6 from www.bestofwines.co.uk
Sometimes a wines texture and balance can be its most important characteristics, helping to make it compliment what’s on your plate. This wine is terrific value, with smooth tannin and a silky mouth feel, the red fruit is soft and doesn’t overbear.
M.Chapoutier, La Bernardine Chateauneuf-Du-Pape 2009 £24.99 from Sainsbury’s
With or without food this is a fantastic wine and at the price point one of the best wines I’ve tried this year. Well layered black fruit that slowly evolves into a smokier, sweet spice and cherry. Black fruit follow through on the well balanced palate picking up morello cherry and liquorice notes, very sexy stuff.
BYSS Blog: And to finish the meal off?
There are many well known cheese & wine matches (blue stilton & Sauternes is one of my favourites). A great wine that will go with a number of hard cheeses and also incredibly well with the traditional Christmas pud would be….
Apostoles 30 Year Old Palo Cortado NV 375ml Half-bottle £15.99 from Majestic
Palo Cortado is one of the rarest kinds of sherry and nothing like what granny uses to keep in that dusty old cupboard. This is a relatively dry light wine with an immense intensity on both the nose and the palate. A bit like a liquidised Christmas cake in itself it is full of nutty, dried fruits with toffee and caramel notes. I may just skip the pudding and have a glass of this instead!
BYSS Blog: Thanks Matt, Have a great Christmas!
MATT: You too!
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