PICK OF THE BUNCH: BEST CHRISTMAS WINES
We’ve asked some of Cornwall’s leading wine experts to share their knowledge with us, and to recommend a bottle of wine to complement your Christmas meal. Between them, they’ve covered everything from Cornish-grown, award-winning fizz to hearty French reds.
Warning: reading this could make you incredibly thirsty.
CHARLES WHARTON, ELLIS WHARTON WINES
“Christmas in my mind is a time to treat yourself and drink less but better. I will have the kids running around, the oldies snoozing on the sofa and lunch to cook so it will be more of a marathon than a sprint for me!
“Prosecco is consumed all year round but on Christmas Day treat yourself to a glass of champagne. £10 a bottle supermarket champagne is fine if you are going to be mixing orange juice with it, but quite frankly why would you ruin orange juice with acidic, cheap fizz? Instead, avoid the big brands and open a bottle of Champagne Tarlant Brut Nature Zero (£33.99). Without spending silly money this is one of the very best champagnes out there and recognised by sommeliers all over the world. Made without any added sugar you will be sipping fizz in its purest form and it’s delicious on its on or with a slice of smoked salmon and scrambled egg for breakfast.
“If I was just looking after my tastebuds on Christmas Day then I would probably indulge in a bottle of really good German Riesling for lunch. Crisp, dry and with rapier sharp acidity, this will refresh my jaded palate after a busy run up to the Christmas holidays. If Riesling isn’t your thing then my reserve wine of choice will be the Toques et Clochers Limoux Chardonnay (£13.99) from Les Caves du Sieur d’Arques. This is as good as really good white Burgundy but at a fraction of the price. More akin to Meursault than a southern French Chardonnay, this wine has seen a bit of oak, but only to complement, rather than mask, the fruit flavours that will fill your glass. Delicious with turkey, goose or roast ham on Boxing Day and great with a wedge of creamy Cornish brie in the evening.
“If you need a bottle of red wine on Christmas Day then head to New Zealand and one of my favourite Kiwi producers. Sue White at Whitehaven Winery in Marlborough produces a brilliant Whitehaven Pinot Noir (£18.99). The region is more famous for Sauvignon Blanc and Sue does produce a really good one, but her other wines are equally, if not more, delicious. The Whitehaven Pinot Noir is very drinkable on its own as it’s not as jammy as some Southern hemisphere reds, but also pairs really well with turkey, goose or a rib of beef.
“When all the debris is cleared away and the kids are playing contentedly with their new presents (or perhaps even heading off to bed) then my final treat of the day will be a glass of Taylor’s 20 year old Tawny Port (£39.49). Don’t put it in a tiny port glass; serve it in a wine glass to savour the aromas, and sip quietly whilst patting yourself on the back for a job well done. In my mind this is the ultimate tawny port – any older and they are too spirity and the fruitiness is overshadowed; any younger and it is not subtle or harmonious enough. And the good thing about tawny port is that once open you have a week or 10 days to polish the bottle off, but somehow they never seem to last that long in my house.”
All wines available from Ellis Wharton Wines in Par. If you can make it to the shop they have 30 to 40 bottles of wines and spirits open to taste. Otherwise order online, or give Charles, Antony or David a call on 01726 825255 and they can answer all your wine-related queries and take your order over the phone. Nationwide delivery is available (last order day for deliveries outside of Cornwall is Wednesday 21 December). The shop is open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday and open on Saturday mornings 9am-12 noon right up until Christmas Eve.
BOB LINDO, CAMEL VALLEY VINEYARD
Camel Valley ‘Cornwall’ Pinot Noir Rosé Brut 2013
“It’s Christmas, so why not treat yourself to a wine that was served for HM the Queen at Buckingham Palace? Gold winners in both the International Wine Challenge and the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships.
“We drink it with scrambled egg and smoked salmon for breakfast and at Buckingham Palace they served it with poached fillets of Dover sole with wild mushrooms and a shellfish cream sauce.”
£26.95. Available online, in just about all Cornwall’s wine shops and in fourteen states in America.
ENGIN MUMCUOGLU, TREVIBBAN MILL
Black Ewe White Brut 2014
“Made in the traditional method and aged on lees for 18 months, this organic sparkling wine has lemon, sherbet and biscuit notes on the nose while in the mouth it’s fresh and zingy with beautiful fine bubbles.
“This wine is a perfect celebration wine so ideal as a Christmas aperitif or to cleanse the palate and cut through a post dinner cheese board.”
Black Ewe Pink Brut 2014
“This organic salmon pink sparkling wine has fresh red berry, cranberry and redcurrant character and a great acidity which gives it excellent balance and freshness.
“It would go very well with smoked salmon blinis as a precursor to Christmas dinner or indeed with goose or turkey as the acidity will cut through the fattiness of the meat while complementing the classic Christmas condiments of cranberry sauce and redcurrant jelly.”
Both wines are priced at £26.00 and are available direct from Trevibban Mill Vineyard, near Padstow or from their online shop.
MARK HELLYAR, CHATEAU CIVRAC
Chateau Civrac 2008
Mark Hellyar is a Cornish winemaker at Chateau Civrac in Bordeaux. “I’d love to recommend my Chateau Civrac 2008. It is a Malbec rich claret: 35% Malbec with blackcurrant and tobacco on the nose and a juicy oak finish.
“This wine is a perfect complement to turkey, game and roast meats. Enjoy at Christmas with friends.”
ED FISHLOCK, FISHLOCK WINES
Since 1989, Ed Fishlock has been importing wine from small, independent growers who bottle their own wines (propriétaires-récoltants), enabling small to medium-sized producers in France to bring their authentic products to the British market.
Cuvée “La Tourlandise”, by Petiteau-Gaubert
“I think this sparkling wine would be very good for the pre-Christmas market. It is made in Vallet (Muscadet region) by Roland Petiteau and his son, Romain. They are the seventh generation of the Petiteau family to be making wine there.
“In 1920, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the passage of Halley’s Comet, Ferdinand Petiteau made his first sparkling wine, following the process he had learned in the vineyards of Champagne. This cuvée is a blend of chardonnay, folle blanche and melon de bourgogne with a small amount of cabernet sauvignon.
“The wine is dry but fairly soft and subtly fruity with a touch of that sponge cake flavour that the French call “biscuit”.”
Montagny 1er Cru 2012 Domaine Michel-Andréotti
“2012 was a great year for most white burgundy, and definitely for Montagny. This Montagny 1er Cru 2012 Domaine Michel-Andréotti is superbly well-balanced and is now at its best. It has a gold medal from the Féminalise wine competition, at which all the tasters are women.
“I have been buying wines from Domaine Michel-Andréotti for a couple of decades, but this is the last batch I will have, as they sold their Domaine and vineyards to the Maison A Goichot of Beaune in early 2015.”
The sparkling La Tourlandaise is priced at £10.85 and the Montagny is £13.40 per bottle, both available online from Fishlock Wines or phone 01208 814222 / 07841 526665.
KATE MILLER, BINTWO
binTwo’s Kate has recommended a white and a red to complement your roast.
Domaine Langlois-Château Vielles Vignes Saumur Blanc 2014, Loire, France £18.50
“Sophisticated, rich yet perfectly fresh, this 100% chenin blanc is a sheer delight! An attractive gold-tinged white, an elegant nose, a palate rich with dried fruits, apple, honey, hints of spice and savoury notes, a moreishly full body and a finish to die for. Langlois-Château’s beautifully layered flagship makes the best accompaniment for your delicious Christmas lunch.”
Parada de Atauta 2014, Ribera del Duero, Spain £17
“If red is your Christmas lunch tipple of choice we’ve chosen a stunning Ribera del Duero to complement the feast.
Laden with ripe black fruits, currants, berries and cherries, mingling with mocha and toasty cedar, balanced with silky tannins and minerality. This extremely satisfying Tempranillo with its rounded, generous body, richness and finesse is a match for any Christmas roast, traditional or otherwise.”
Both wines are available from binTwo, Padstow.
Thank you to….
….for taking the time to write such mouthwatering reviews. Cheers!