This year, let’s bring some extra magic to our family reunions, all the more since these are likely to be in more limited company. Large formats, delicate bubbles, mature vintages, majestic reds, and sweet dessert wines are all seeking the same thing: the most elegant of dinner pairings when the big day arrives! Whether you’re a seasoned enthusiast or a newcomer to the wine world, a fan of the classics or looking for something new, we’ll have just what you’re looking for to make this a special Christmas!
A fan of fizz?
Champagne is the festive drink par excellence, but it can also be much more than that! Its energy makes it perfect for an aperitif, but many sparkling cuvées are also complex enough to create rich and interesting food pairings. Get your festivities going with a shrimp starter and a blanc de blancs like Expérience et Minéral from Agrapart or Quattuor from Drappier. Pair chicken and morels with the 2013 grand cru extra-brut Les Valnons by Roger Pouillon & Fils. If you’d rather save the fizz for last, finishing your meal with a very mature cheese will be a perfect opportunity for pairing with a fruity Jacquesson, for example.
Icons for a real treat
Christmas comes but once a year. Mark the occasion with a Burgundy Chardonnay (Etienne Sauzet’s Batard-Montrachet, François Mikulski’s Meursault premier cru Charmes) perhaps alongside rabbit rillettes. Stay in Burgundy and fall for the elegance of Pinot noir; Bonnes-Mares from Domaine de la Pousse d’Or and the Vosne-Romanée Les Beaux Monts by Georges Noëllat are superb. And when it comes to your dessert and/or cheese course, you can’t do better than a sweet wine. Lovely bottles by Egon Müller and Cauhapé will be just the ticket, and if you’re looking for the crème de la crème of dessert wines, it’s now or never for a Château d’Yquem.
Christmas is often seen as a time for sticking to the classics, but the joy of wine is in its vast eclecticism, so there’s plenty of opportunity to get creative with your pairings. You could serve rich dishes such as foie gras with red wines of similar character. Well-developed reds from estates such as Château Le Puy and Château Haut-Marbuzet will go down a treat. If you’re a fan of seafood, salmon with toasted spices and mango sauce is delicious, and will pair nicely with a powerful white wine such as a Gewurztraminer from Ostertag, Bott-Geyl, or Marcel Deiss. You could also take the intensity up a notch with a vintage port from Niepoort or Quevedo; a fortified wine like this will be sublime with blue cheese on fig bread.
You don’t have to break the bank to have a festive time! Get yourself a nice bottle, and maybe discover something new, with a sparkling cuvée from Burgundy (Domaine de Chassorney), Corsica (Empire Extra-Brut by Comte Abbatucci) or the Jura (Rot’Fll’R from Anne et Jean-François Ganevat). There are some deep reds to be had from the Languedoc (La Nine by Jean-Baptiste Senat) and the Loire (Clos du Chêne from Charles Joguet), as well as savoury whites from Provence (Les Genêts from Château de Roquefort).
Take your tastebuds on a journey with some of our favourite, non-French references. We have Glenelly from South Africa, Terrazas de Los Andes from Argentina, Hiyu Farm from the US, Amarone della Valpolicella from Dal Forno Romano and Barolo by Vietti, as well as Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos from the Hungarian Disznoko and some beautiful Scotch whiskies to savour.
A special wine for a special occasion
If this year has you feeling like you need a little adventure, remember that there’s no need to stay within the confines of the usual Christmas options. Head off the beaten path with La Bubulle à Jeannot, a sparkling red from Anne and Jean-François Ganevat, served with a hearty pumpkin gratin. Orange wines such as those from Domaine du Rêveur and Domaine des Roches Neuves will pair wonderfully with poultry in a creamy, mushroom sauce. Have you ever considered a gastronomic rosé for the festive table? Corsican Clos Canarelli and La Tour du Bon in Provence both produce fine rosés that can be enjoyed with salmon!
As you can tell, this is a selection to satisfy whatever desires you might have for the festive period!