I definitely need a bottle of English bubbles for Christmas morning. Although I love a good Champagne, the wineries dotted all over the UK are doing such a great job, that I generally buy from our own shores now. Wiston Brut NV is a very sophisticated sparkling wine from Sussex and it’s a serial winner in blind tastings against premium Champagnes. There are many other great English sparklings out there, so do explore and try an alternative to your usual bottle of Champagne.
If you are having smoked salmon, a Sauvignon Blanc is necessary! I recommend the Sauvignon A Peu Pres 2019. ‘A Peu Pres’ means ‘nearly’ or ‘almost’ and this is almost as good as a top Pouilly Fume. It’s from David Maudray in Tracy sur Loire and overdelivers on everything. Importantly, it doesn’t break the bank, so you can afford to buy more of it!
Christmas Day needs a classic Bordeaux to go with the turkey. It’s always interesting and cost effective to look at the second wines from some of the top Bordeaux houses. Les Piliers de Maison Blanche from St Emilion is delicious with sweet spices of dark plum and blackcurrant and sets you back just £19.95. It’s dense, well structured and biodynamic too.
If you prefer to go ‘New World’ with a fruit forward style, South Africa is producing juicy wines that can work with or without food. Adi Badenhorst’s Family Red is elegant and supple with hints of spice, savoury notes and a little garrigue herb. Perfect! Plus, Adi Badenhorst looks just like Father Christmas!
Of course many of us prefer whites with turkey, and I highly recommend one with weight. A good Burgundy works or perhaps something with similar weight from Portugal. In Alentejano, Fitapreta are producing an impressive wine very much in the buttery Burgundian mould. Palpite Branco Reserva has beautiful balance, richness and texture. It has the right amount of creaminess and pairs perfectly with turkey. And with a smaller than usual Christmas, you might not even have to share it far!
When it comes to dessert wine, we all love a good Sauternes; however sometimes they can be a bit too rich and sweet. My new favourite region for dessert wines is the under-appreciated Jurancon region. Domaine Castera produces some delightful half bottles which have an amazing backbone of acidity that stops it from being cloying. Enjoy the beautiful delicate stone fruit and floral flavours with your Christmas Day dessert.