There is always a time to drink at Christmas. It is a time to surround ourselves with family, friends, neighbours and colleagues. A time to crack open a bottle for an unexpected or expected guest and a time to drop in unannounced on your neighbours armed with mince pies, a smile and a drop of port! It is with this in mind that we’ve asked Tori, Our local wine connosieur to put together a Christmas drinks list of what to drink this Christmas.
The sound that screams Christmas is the pop of a cork from something sparkly so let’s start with a perfect party fizz from Les Dauphins. Their sparkling Blanc de Blancs ( Waitrose £12.99) from the French Rhône valley is a stunning alternative to Prosecco, it’s bursting with lively fruit flavours and at only 11% abv it’s almost saintly!
I like to keep a crowd pleasing white and red on hand at all times so when friends and neighbours drop by with Christmas cards I can offer a festive glass or two. Bag in box wines are firmly back in fashion, better for the environment too, and once opened they stay fresh for 6 weeks meaning you don’t have to finish a whole bottle. BIB Wines have a fantastic selection of wines from small independent winemakers available in bag in box format.
My favourite white is their Torri Cantine Pecorino D’ Abruzzo £29.90 for the equivalent of 3 bottles direct from their web store) this is a dangerously easy wine, fresh and zingy and great with nibbles. For a festive red I choose their Montepulciano D’ Abruzzo – £29.90 for the equivalent of 3 bottles direct from their web store) this is a fruity little number that makes you say ooooh!
To ensure there is something for everyone I serve three wines on Christmas Day, I like to work my way through all three but I won’t judge if you want to stick to just one. To begin with I’m going to pop the cork on the 2013 Blanc De Noirs fizz from Marlow based Harrow and Hope £38 direct from their web store) with flavours of raspberries and fresh baked croissants and delicate tongue tickling bubbles it’s delicious for breakfast, lunch and supper!
My Christmas Day white this year hails from Burgundy, the Gérard Thomas 1er Cru St Aubin £24.99 Ocado, Waitrose and Majestic Wine) is a fine example of a lightly oaked Chardonnay and the perfect pair for Christmas turkey. Be sure not to serve it too cold or you will loose some of the exciting fruit and buttery flavours.
I’m blowing the budget with my Christmas red, and why not it only comes but once a year! Au Bon Climat may be in California but this does not stop them from crafting the most elegant Pinot Noir I’ve tried all year! The Au Bon Climate Isabelle Pinot Noir ( £49.50 Majestic Wine) is filled with cherry, plums, and baking spices, it is pure precision with a never ending finish, it will be your Christmas dinner’s best friend!
Port is a festive staple in my house, perfect with a mince pie, chocolate truffles, Christmas cake, cheese board…….the list goes on! Good quality Tawny Port is packed with caramel, nuts and sticky figs and the William Pickering 20yr Tawny Port ( £29 Berry Bros and Rudd) is a great example of this. Best get two bottles in as it’s devilishly moorish!
So here’s to a very merry Christmas, surrounded by those near and dear to us! And remember to look in on those who may be alone at this time of year, time after all is the best present we can give.
You can follow Tori Locke on Instagram @mygrapeexpectations.