In Part 1 of my Christmas wine posts for 2018 I was fresh and fruity. Now I have more depth and complexity. If you’re just catching up with me then … no …. I’m not describing the ups and downs of feminine emotions, but white wines for Christmas.
You might be thinking “what is this depth and complexity of which this woman speaks” – “and why is it interesting for my Christmas feasting?”.
Winemakers can call on a heap of different production methods to turn what could be a humble fruity white wine into something with a bit of interest. That can include aging or fermenting in oak, or stirring on the lees.
Chardonnay loves such treatment. Whatever winemakers choose to do, this grape always puts its hands on its pips and says “go on then, bring it on”.
All my Christmas choices in this post are chardonnay wines, more by coincidence than design, as I went on the look-out for wines which sit perfectly alongside food.
My first three chardonnay Christmas wines
I’ll start with Extra Special Barossa Chardonnay 2018 (Asda, £5.98) which is partially fermented in French oak. This is a great value white as there’s some complexity but not too much if you’re nervous about wines with statement. My notes said “apple, lemon, with a hint of baking spice”.
The Co-op has introduced several new wines this season and one is Vandenberg Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2018 (£10) which is a refreshing, not-too-heavy chardonnay from South Australia’s Adelaide Hills region. Aged in French oak, it boasts a creamy texture and you can taste the citrus and pear without your palate being overpowered.
Tesco finest* Gisborne Chardonnay (£9) is nurtured in the Gisborne region on the North Island. Grapes are fermented in oak and the result is a wine which has lovely tropical fruit notes and a zesty finish alongside a nuttiness that intrigues.
My final three chardonnay Christmas wines
We’ll leap over to France for Macon Villages, Burgundy Chardonnay (£10, Marks and Spencer) which is a comforting hug of a white wine. A rich unoaked chardonnay, it is creamy and smooth with a sharp hit of apple and a whisper of peach and a long, delicious buttery aftertaste.
When I met Spar’s wine consultant Philippa Carr MW the other week, she told me her favourite wine in the retailer’s new range was Bourgogne Chardonnay (£9) and it is indeed rather tasty. It is unoaked and has a nice bite of apples and a good acidity.
We’ll stay in France for the classy Louis Jadot Pouilly Fuisse 2017 (RRP £20, Tesco, Morrisons, Nisa) where half of the grapes were partly fermented in vats and the other in oak barrels. This gives layers of freshness and fruit, but has a creamy, nutty mouthfeel which cushions those same delicious fruits. It is elegant and special.
All this talk is making me crave a glass of something with a mound of parsnips, sprouts, turkey and potato. Can’t wait.
Read more of my Christmas 2018 wine thoughts
First published in over 30 regional newspapers including:
Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News – Liverpool Echo –South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner
– The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Gazette –
Birmingham Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express