The first use of the word Christmas normally peeps from my lips in mid-November, but this year I was all things festive at the beginning of September, so I can be ready and waiting now you’re thinking about it too.
I shared Christmas dinner wine with a lovely bunch of wine people, complete with Christmas hats and crackers. I guess it’s a bit crackers to celebrate in the autumn but it was fun and gave me lots of wine ideas.
Four Christmas dinner wine choices
Here’s a couple of delicious whites and two very tasty reds which you can tuck behind your ear (not literally) for your own festivities or seek out just for a lovely Sunday lunch.
We sipped Wakefield Estate Riesling 2016 (RRP £12.99, ampswinemerchants.co.uk, 12.5% abv) with prawn cocktail but you won’t go wrong with Thai food, fish or salads. The Clare Valley in Australia is this wine’s home and it has gorgeous lemon and lime characters and shows some age in classic riesling notes of petrol. Trust me. It may sound odd but it’s amazing. The wine is clean, refreshing, vibrant and has “pezzang” (a word one of my fellow diners used, and I’ve pinched because it’s a perfect description).
I love, love this wine. Louis Latour Grand Ardèche Chardonnay (RRP £13.99, farehamwinecellar.co.uk, Majestic 12.5% abv) It has the buttery nuances of an oaked chardonnay and is created in the Ardèche region of France, where Louis Latour were the pioneers with this Burgundian style. I think you can guess we sipped it with turkey, but any roast would be a treat. This wine would sit comfortably poured throughout a meal. It just fits the bill, with creamy, buttery notes of vanilla, slices of apple and dashes of citrus.
Ooos and aahs (from thoroughly knowledgeable wine people!) accompanied the sipping of Banfi La Lus Albarossa 2015 (RRP £18.99, weaverswines.com, 13.5% abv) Now here’s a grape I’d not heard of before – albarossa. Its parents are barbera and nebbiolo and it grows in Italy in the region of Piedmont. It is an inky-black colour and has a fresh, fruity, lightness of touch. Cherry and plum fruits, and notes of liquorice and vanilla, combine with great structure and acidity to make for a perfect roast dinner wine. It even managed to win the complicated stand-off with cranberries.
Finally, Henry Fessy Fleurie Le Pavillon 2014 (RRP £13.49, Waitrose, 13.5% abv) is a wine ideally suited to see you through all your roast dinner (and Christmas) wishes. It has a nose of red fruits, slashes of spice, pepper, and a good acidity. Sprouts, I said. Not in a derogatory way, aimed at anyone in particular, but because it would be a great match to their savoury woodiness. When you roll out the cheeseboard this wine will also tilt its head to one side and say, bring it on, I’m made for this.
Thanks to the team at Louis Latour Agencies for inviting me to Christmas dinner in September, and to the venue, the Wine Cellar at The Bleeding Heart in Farringdon, London.
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