Category Archives: Christmas

Festive Wine

The festive period is one of the busiest in the on- and off-trade calendars, as businesses look to enhance the guest’s experience and create a memorable visit that will encourage return visits.

In a recent survey from guest experience management experts, HGEM, they discovered that during the Christmas period, 40% of guests like to try somewhere new that offers a unique menu. To help set yourself apart from the crowd we have come up with suggestions on what to pair with traditional festive dishes, from both the New and Old World wine producing regions.

As an aperitif:     

Berton Vineyard, Metal Label, Moscato Firzzante 2018

This wine is fresh, light and sweet with a subtle spritz that tickles the palate and aromas of fresh grapes and orange blossom.

Low in alcohol and perfect as an aperitif to ease guests into a festive banquet.

Champagne Collet Brut 1er Cru, Art Déco NV

A more traditional aperitif to serve guests, this is a broad style of Champagne with developed biscuit notes from extended ageing on the lees and a lovely long and salty finish.

Any leftover is also a perfect partner for a light game starter.

With a warming starter:

Larry Cherubino ‘Ad Hoc Hen and Chicken’ Chardonnay 2017

A complex wine with green apple, melon and citrus aromas enhanced by buttered brioche and a toasty nuttiness.

If you are serving a seafood starter, this is the ideal accompaniment.

Castello Pomino, Frescobaldi, Benefizio Bianco Riserva 2017

This barrique aged white wine is elegant and distinctive with a rich array of aromas and flavours such as apple, pineapple, citrus and honey.

Serve chilled to accompany meat starters, such as guinea fowl, chicken or wild mushrooms and white truffle.

To pair with a festive main course:

Doña Paula ‘Selección de Bodega’, Malbec 2015

Awarded 95 points by Tim Atkin, in his Argentina Special Report. This wine is big with balanced flavours of spicy blackberries, dark chocolate and wild herbs with an opulent and mouthfilling texture – elegant, rich and long.

Best alongside a piece of prime beef fillet, with a bit left over for the hard cheeses in the cheese course.

Château de Cîteaux, Philippe Bouzereau, Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru Les Duresses 2015

Beautiful Pinot Noir expression of ripe black fruits, peppery hints and a touch of violet on the nose. Silky, with rich but delicate fruit and a long finish.

When it comes to a traditional festive turkey dish, you don’t need to look beyond Pinot Noir from Burgundy, and this Premier Cur showcases a premium expression of the grape and the region.


To finish off the event:

Saint Clair, ‘Godfrey’s Creek’ Noble Riesling, Marlborough 2016

 A deliciously complex dessert wine, with a bouquet of poached apricot, candied citrus and white clover honey. Opulent and silky on the palate with rich orange, lemon and cocoa notes leading to a long, smooth finish.

This botrytised Riesling is ideally suited to a fruit-based dessert or blue cheese.

Barros 10 Year Old Tawny Port, Douro

Dried fruit aromas complemented by  delicate vanilla and chocolate notes

This is the multi-award winning fortified wine is the perfect partner to go with your Christmas pudding, its soft and silky texture and subtle nuances of wood are balanced by a refreshing palate which culminates with a long and elegant finish.

New Year’s Eve Crackers

Which fizzy tipples are most likely to make a New Year’s Eve celebration go off with a bang? Here we look at what will add some sparkle to your celebration.
Something classic…
Champagne Collet Brut, Art Déco NV

A Champagne from one of the new additions to our portfolio; a broad style  with developed biscuity notes from extended ageing on the lees and a lovely long and savoury finish.

A real foodie Champagne that is perfect as an apéritif or served with a light game starter.

Something English…
Sugrue-Pierre, The Trouble with Dreams Brut 2013

You don’t have to go far when looking for an English sparkling wine to impress than Dermot Sugrue’s Trouble with Dreams 2013, which recently took the top spot in the Independent English Wine Awards.

A pure and elegant multi-award winning sparkling wine, showing lemon and apple aromas, leading to a palate of delicate stone fruit and crisp acidity. Long, biscuity and absolutely delicious.

Something French…
Gérard Bertrand, Code Rouge, Crémant de Limoux NV

As a Champagne alternative, the trend for Crémant has grown dramatically in 2017 with those who are after a fizz with a difference.

King of the Languedoc, Gérard Bertrand’s attractively styled Code Rouge has an enticing floral aroma with notes of pear and citrus,refreshing and vibrant on the palate.

This Blanc de Blanc shows great finesse and elegance and works as well as an apéritif as it does with exciting Asian inspired cuisine.

Something South American…
Doña Paula, Sauvage Blanc NV

Guaranteed to be a talking point amongst guests, Doña Paula’s Sauvage Blanc is Argentina’s first 100% Sauvignon Blanc sparkling wine which shows intense aromas of orange blossom, hints of
grapefruit and an intriguing touch of mint.

An SWA Silver Medal winner in 2017, this fizz also doubles up as an amazing apéritif or served alongside rich fish dishes of salmon,
tuna or shellfish.

Something Italian…
Feudi di San Gregorio, Dubl + Spumante Greco NV

Another conversation starter, this is a traditional method sparkling wine with a fine and persistent mousse made using 100% Greco.

Floral and fruity aromas of pumpkin flowers, honey, mango and citrus fruits contrast with the chalky vibe of the Greco grape. A good weight on the palate combines with youthfulness and a persistent minerality typical of the terroir.

Something to kick off the event…
Quady Winery, Vya Extra Dry Vermouth & Quady Winery, Vya Sweet Vermouth

No better way to welcome guests to an event than with a pre-dinner cocktail. Quady Winery has designed the Perfect Manhattan, using two of its signature Vermouth creations.

  • 60ml straight rye whiskey
  • 15ml Vya Sweet Vermouth
  • 15ml Vya Extra Dry Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Lemon or orange twist

Stir well with cracked ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and twist a swatch of thin-cut lemon peel over the top.

 

What are the training team drinking this festive season?

The training team, led by MW Beverly Tabbron, has put their heads together to suggest a few festive tipples perfect for the party season to serve over Christmas.

To kick off the meal:

Aromatic whites such as Ktima Gerovassiliou, Viogner 2016 or Tandem, Inmácula Viognier Viura 2015 are fantastic as an aperitif to get the party going.

For for those who prefer a zestier style, a standout option is the critically acclaimed Gaia Wines, Wild Ferment Assyrtiko 2016 or the Hiruzta, Berezia Txakoli 2016!

For the main course:

When choosing reds stick with lighter styles such as; Tandem, Ars Nova 2013Michele Chiarlo, 6 Mesi Le Orme, Barbera d’Asti 2015 or a classic Pinot Noir from Burgundy.

If the meal requires a moreish fruity style of wine, the Colomba Bianca, Vitese Syrah 2016 would tick the box.

To finish:

Treat yourself to a glass of Tramin, Terminum Late Harvest Gewürztraminer 2014 – concentrated and intense with flavours of mango and lychee – or Roccolo Grassi, La Broia, Recioto di Soave 2014 – rich and honied, Christmas pud in a glass.

It’s the Most Wine-derful time of the year

The festive season is the time in every wine calendar when the so-called ‘good stuff’ is brought out, dusted off, sold to guests or purchased in the shop.

So what have the experts been recommending for this year’s festive tables?

David Williams, writing in The Observer

Lismore, Syrah 2016 

“Samantha O’Keefe makes some of South Africa’s most exciting wines from her lonely spot in a converted dairy farm in Greyton. This is the best of the beautiful bunch, a satin-textured, black-pepper-scented, raspberry-fruited pure Syrah.”

Jane Macquitty’s Top 100 Wines for Winter, in The Times
Gerard Bertrand, Merlot, Pays d’Oc 2016

“The former rugby player Gérard Bertrand produces some of the Languedoc’s finest wines from all sorts of terroirs, so grab this black cherry, cedar and red plum-packed Merlot.”

Domaine Andre Brunel, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2014

“If you want a robust but velvety, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove-scented red to serve with spiced beef and casseroled game, this one has your name on it.”

 

Will Lyons, writing in The Sunday Times Food Magazine
Lismore, The Age of Grace Viognier 2016

“Down in Greyton on the Western Cape, the Californian winemaker Samantha O’Keefe has built up a strong reputation. Notes of apricot, honeysuckle and kiwi fruit make this gently aromatic Viognier a cracker.”

Olly Smith, writing in Event Magazine
Zorzal, Eggo Tinto de Tiza Malbec 2014

“Game changing Malbec blend with lively freshness and sleek polished richness.”

Victoria Moore, writing in The Telegraph
Lismore, Syrah 2015

“Californian Samantha O’Keefe set up a winery in the remote ward of Greyton, an area not known for winemaking. Her pioneering spirit paid off; her Syrah is magnificent, pure and lucid, with intense flavours and fine tannins.”

Michele Chiarlo, Nivole, Moscato d’Asti 2016

“A deliciously light, airy and effervescent sweet wine that tastes of ripe peaches and sweet fresh grapes. Just gorgeous. Low in alcohol and a wonderful pick me up too. Try it with Christmas pudding – it’s refreshing.”

Jancis Robinson, writing in the FT
Lismore, Chardonnay 2014

“Californian Samantha O’Keefe has somehow ended up making wine way up in the cool hinterland of Hermanus on the south coast of South Africa, and very fine wine it is too. Another one to compare and contrast with fine white burgundy.”

 

Adrian Smith, Sypped, writing his Christmas Wine Guide in the Independent
Berton Vineyard, Botrytis Semillon 2016

“Rich, silky, smooth, honey blossom, apricots and orange rind with a sweet glazing.”

Image result for aldi berton vineyard botrytis

Joanna Simon, writing her Festive Red Wine Guide on her blog
clos Clare, Cemetery Block Shiraz 2014

“From a two-hectare plot of 20-year-old vines in the Watervale sub-region. Benchmark Clare clarity and definition, with cool mint, ripe blueberry and chocolate, touches of toast and liquorice and super-sleek tannins. Drink over the next seven years.”

Lismore, Syrah 2016

“Supremely graceful Syrah from mountain foothills in the hidden-away Greyton region. Fragrant, pure raspberry and cherry fruit edged with smoke and white pepper and the silkiest of tannins. The Pinot Noir is also excellent.”

Henry Jeffreys, writing on why you should head down under for Christmas wine in The Spectator
clos Clare, Cemetery Block Shiraz 2014

“The Clare Valley is better known for Riesling than Syrah. You think this wine is going to be a bit of a bruiser from the spicy and smoky aromas but on the palate it’s more about cool climate grace with floral notes, crunchy fruit and light tannins.”

WOTM: Barros 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Douro

The quintessential Christmas drink and the perfect way to end a festive meal… Port. Although there are many styles to choose from, we have chosen the Barros 20 Year Old Tawny Port as our Wine of the Month for December and one we would recommend being served with the Figgy Pudding.

In a nutshell:

A rich and complex combination of dried fruit aromas,
with spice and subtle hints of wood. Elegant and full bodied, with a long, engaging finish.

The producer:

Having celebrated their 100th year of trading in 2013, Barros Port is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious companies producing and trading in Port. Much of their success comes from Colheita Ports – old Tawnies from a single year matured in cask for a minimum period of seven years.

Their expertise in Colheita Ports has established them as the stand out producer of this style. Barros leaves their Colheita Ports to mature in cask until being hand bottled to order. The loss of wine from evaporation (known as the ‘Angel’s Share’) is much higher in comparison to bottle ageing. It is a sacrifice they are willing to make and one that helps them achieve unsurpassed quality in their Colheita wines.

In June 2006, Barros Ports was integrated into the Sogevinus Group who are now responsible for growing the brand in the international markets.

The wine:

Produced by the traditional Port method. The grapes were destemmed, crushed and underwent a careful skin maceration to extract colour, aromatics and fine tannins. Fermentation took place in vats known as ‘lagares’, with constant pumpovers during fermentation.

Temperatures were controlled and maintained at between 28 to 30°C, until the desired Baumé was reached. At this moment, grape brandy was added, which is known as the ‘benefit’, resulting in a fortified wine with perfect balance. This is a blend of different harvests to achieve the array of characteristics that are typical of these aged tawny Port wines.

The wines have each matured in oak casks for varying periods of time; it is the average age of all the wines in the blend which defines the age on the label.

Serving suggestion:

Starters such as strong cheeses and pâté; or desserts such as toffee brownies, chocolate and pistachio pavé or goat’s cheese.