I’m getting a bit overexcited now its less than three weeks till Christmas. I’ve watched Heston, Delia and Hugh cook their Xmas dinner already. I’ve heard Band Aid at least once a day for the last week. But I haven’t started thinking about what wines to serve with Xmas dinner this year!!
For the past few years I’ve taken a case of 6 wines to each of the parents to go with their wonderful food. I like to choose a red, a white, a sparking and a sweet (2 each of the red and white).
Last year the red was a Burgundy (Aloxe Corton 2006) the white a Gruner Veltliner from Austria, the fizz was Cava (not a a very good one!), and the sweet was a wonderful sweet Kiwi Gewurtztraminer. The red and white for next year are maturing in the spare room – bounty from our summer trip to France! If you have to know, the white is a white Burgundy from Meursault, the red a spicy Syrah from Cornas in the Northern Rhone. And this helps, because I don’t like repeating things so I now have some goalposts.
So lets pull together a shortlist for each choice and see where it takes us:
The options are English fizz or Cremant de Bourgogne. English fizz because it really is so damn good and there won’t be much wine from the 2012 vintage due to the appalling weather this summer. Cremant because it is so wonderfully elegant with very fine bubbles, almost ethereal. Hmm… I’ll come back to that one.
Chablis is a great go-to for Xmas. Mineral and citrus and just ever so bloody lovely. But I’ve got Burgundy lined up for next year. I have 2 other options. One is a lovely, sexy Italian number. It’s from Lugana, in the Veneto region in Northern Italy. It is made with the rather modest Trebbiano grape but is full bodied and like baked apples. Or I could go for the fresh but aromatic qualities of Chenin Blanc from South Africa. Hmm… This isn’t getting any easier!
I think I’ve hit this one sorted! Our trip to Barcelona gave a fantastic introduction to the wines of Priorat. Made predominantly with the Garnacha grape (called Grenache in France) and has that lovely bramble, earthiness. I’ve tried a good one from Waitrose and have one from Jez waiting to be tested. Yep, I’m happy with the region, just need to decide on the actual bottle. Yes, one down!
I love sweet dessert wines but rarely buy them – Xmas is the perfect excuse to get stuck in. Because I don’t get the chance to try too many, I’ve got a shortlist of two. The first is a classic Beaumes de Venice from the southern Rhone. Made with the muscat grape, this is a truly classic wine. The second option is the wonderful Steindorfer Seewinkel Beerenauslese, from Austria, that we enjoyed at our veggie feast at Steve and Sara’s. A blend of Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Bouvier, giving up peach, apricot and honey sweetness. Damn… Not as easy as I thought.
So there we go… Still plenty of decisions to make! Thought this was going to be a fun and easy task. Definitely fun as I’ve still got lots of wine to try, but definitely not easy! I hope it’s at least given you a few ideas. Xmas is a great opportunity to really splash out and the good stuff… But careful, you might get a taste for it!