6 wines to enjoy around the Christmas table this year
Daniel Eros Carnio, the founder and director of Oenofuture, picks out six wines to enjoy around the Christmas table this year.
The season of generosity and good cheer is upon us and it is time to fill the pantry and the cellar with delicious things. Christmas is the one time of the year when being a little bit naughty with your diet is positively encouraged so it is the perfect moment to savour those special bottle’s you have tucked away or splash out on a wine you’ll remember forever.
We’ve chosen six exquisite wines to bring elegance and charm to your Christmas table and delight your family and friends right from the aperitif through to the cheese board.
Start your Christmas lunch the way you mean to carry on with a showstopping vintage Champagne. A sensational option is be the sensational Salon Blanc de Blancs 2002 made by arguably the finest Champagne house in a breathtaking vintage. Salon produces tiny quantities of this breathtaking Blanc de Blancs from vineyards in the legendary Le Mesnil-sur-Oger which is considered to be one of the greatest crus in the Champagne region. The sheer grace and elegance of the Salon Blanc de Blancs is something every Champagne lover should experience at some point and Christmas offers the perfect excuse to indulge in this very special bottle.
2. Hors d’oeuvres
The richness of the Christmas lunch usually calls for light, fresh hors d’oeuvres to provide balance and get the feast off to an easy start. Smoked salmon, scallops and oysters are all classic choices that call for a crisp white wine like the Baron de L Pouilly-Fumé 2015 from de Ladoucette. Widely considered the very best Pouilly-Fumé on the market, this incredible Sauvignon Blanc is only made during the finest years from old vines. The wine is matured on the lees for up to 14 months which gives it a wonderfully rich, creamy texture balanced by freshness and crisp fruit flavours. Baron de L was even served by Elton John at his Christmas wedding in 2014!
Choosing the perfect wine to match the centrepiece of your feast is no easy task. Since most people tend to prefer red wines at this time of year, we’ve chosen a dark and handsome Rioja. Marqués de Murrieta is one of the oldest and best producers of Rioja and their Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial 2004 is something truly special. Made during a relatively cool vintage, this refined Rioja is perfectly balanced with plenty of ripe dark fruit and savoury leather character from the extensive ageing in oak. The elegance and freshness in the wine combines well with the turkey meat, while the rich fruit complements the flavours in the cranberry sauce and pigs in blankets.
If your preferred Christmas meat is a juicy ham, you can opt for a more powerful red wine like the knockout Sassicaia 2010 which is drinking really nicely right now. This magnificent Super Tuscan truly lives up to the Sassicaia reputation with an incredibly complex flavour profile married with smooth yet firm tannins and a remarkably long finish. It’s the perfect bottle to turn your Christmas feast into an experience you’ll cherish forever.
When it comes to dessert there can be no better match than the greatest sweet wine of them all, Chateau d’Yquem. Alternatively you can go French and serve a nip of Chateau d’Yquem in a small, elegant glass alongside rich foie gras or even blue cheese. These incredible wines can age for decades, although finding older vintages can be tricky due to their popularity and rarity. If you are able to, look out for the famous vintages of 1988, 1989 and 1990. More affordable and easier to source are the more recent vintages like 2011 and 2012 which offer a little more freshness and vibrant fruit character. You might also want to consider purchasing a half bottle unless you have an army of dessert wine aficionados on hand to help you finish it.
6. Cheese board
On the traditional Christmas menu cheese is allied to port for the good reason that these two make for a gorgeous couple. Thanks to the delicious combination of sweet and salty flavours, blue cheeses like Roquefort go especially well with a mature port like the Dow Vintage Port 1975. This magnificent bottling offers a seductive bouquet of dried fruits, cigar box and caramel which make the ideal foil for hard cheeses or salty blues. Or you can simply enjoy a glass on its own as a digestive to end your Christmas feasting for another year.