It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas - Jon Un-Corked

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas - Jon Un-Corked

 

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas - Jon Un-Corked

 

Christmas is a magical time of the year when you can indulge in delicious food you wouldn't normally eat, and one of the only times you can crack open a bottle of wine before lunch. You may want to consider the pairings of your chosen dishes and individual wines when planning your festive meal, and who better to guide you towards the best Christmas food and wine pairings than Jon...

 

The busiest time of the year...

I know that it is highly predictable for a December column, but this month I’ll be looking at what libations to enjoy over the forthcoming festive period. Being in the wine trade, December is our busiest time of year and as ever, I’ll be working 7 days a week. Invariably, by the time Christmas arrives I am  ready to firstly, catch up on some sleep and secondly, to enjoy the wonderful excesses of food and drink as we push the boat out once again!

 

 

Fizz to start the day...

 

Boizel Brut Reserve

 

On Christmas morning, we are usually up reasonably early and start the day with tea and toast ahead of a nice long walk with the dogs. Once back from our walk, breakfast ‘proper’ will be scrambled eggs with either smoked salmon or kippers. Either way, it will be accompanied by fizz, be it Champagne or a decent quality sparkler from elsewhere – the only way to start the day’s festivities in my book! We have the excellent Crémant from Bollinger owned Langlois Chateau! If it has to be Champagne, then the stunning wines from Champagne Boizel are highly recommended, their Brut Réserve was awarded a platinum medal at last year’s Decanter World Wine Awards – the biggest & best wine competition in the World!

 

 

Something of an acquired taste...

My next port of call will be Sherry – not terribly popular, but I am a huge fan and always enjoy a chilled glass (or 3!) of bone-dry Fino or Manzanilla. I adore these wines but am aware that they are something of an acquired taste and don’t suit everyone, but for me, they are a superb aperitif and serve to whet the palate beautifully. Plus, if you are starting to feel peckish at this stage, give it a try with some salted almonds – a marvellous pairing!

 

 

The white is almost always Burgundy...

 

 Rully Blanc J. Drouhin

 

Our choice of white and red wine will inevitably be dictated by what we are eating, but the white is almost always Burgundy! This much-fabled region in the centre East of France produces the best Chardonnay (and Pinot Noir for reds) but will usually set you back a pretty penny, because it's deemed to be the best and demand is global, but the region is relatively tiny. This has been exacerbated recently by a series of challenging' vintages which has resulted in considerably reduced yields; however, if you look away from the more 'glamorous' Appellations, then relatively good value can still be found. If you head South from the likes of Meursault and the Montrachets you will come to the Côtes Chalonnaise where the Appellation of Rully offers some wonderful drinking enjoyment without having to re-mortgage! Joseph Drouhin's Rully Blanc is drinking magnificently right now - rich and buttery with a cleansing mineral edge.

 

 

If turkey is the name of the game...

 

 Domaine de Mourchon

 

If turkey is the name of the game then Burgundy of the red persuasion will definitely fit the bill, and staying in the Chalonnaise, the delightful Mercurey 'Les Perrières' from Perrault Père et Fils is softly rounded full of red fruit character whilst starting to show the secondary & tertiary aromas that make mature red Burgundy so beguiling. However, many people opt for something fuller-flavoured for Christmas lunch / dinner such as goose or rib of beef. If that's the way you are rolling then something more robust is called for. Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a perennial favourite and an obvious candidate, but it does come at a premium. If you enjoy this style of wine, then there are plenty of good alternatives from around that area of the southern Rhône and my personal recommendation would be Grande Réserve from Walter McKinley's superb Domaine de Mourchon. A fabulously rich, concentrated and savoury blend of Grenache, Syrah & Mourvèdre that would put many a Chateu to shame.

 

 

For those with a sweet tooth...

Leone Aged Tawny

 

Personally, I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth (although I do love dessert wines!), but for many people, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without Christmas pudding, cake and mince pies! The received wisdom on a wine pairing is that the wine should be at least as sweet as the dessert, ideally sweeter. With festive puddings you’ll need something with plenty of gumption and I think that the Leone ‘aged tawny’ from Lou Miranda Estate in the Barossa Valley is just the ticket! Being made in Australia, this can’t be called ‘Port’ but that is essentially what it is, albeit a lot sweeter and richer than a conventional Tawny from Porto!

 

Whatever you decide to go with for your festive drinking I hope that it drinks well and makes for a wonderful festive feast – merry Christmas and a happy & prosperous New Year!

 

If you are looking for an experienced wine supplier, simply get in touch with us via email at wine@ewga.net or telephone at 01524 737 100.

 

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