Down under, our winter is their summer holidays. Australians are legendary for celebrating Christmas on the beach; South Africa is even further south than Australia, and often Christmas Day dinner will be around a braai, the Afrikaans name for a barbecue. I’m a huge fan of South African wines and have recently discovered Creation wines, in Hermanus, further east than Stellenbosch, the most famous wine producing area.
Creation wines are also a big favourite with Winetrust100.co.uk. The vineyard is owned and run by a Swiss and South African couple, Jean-Claude and Carolyn Martin, since 2002. The wines created from their vineyards are starting to bear fruit.
They make single grape wines, suited to the cooler area of Hermanus, near the Indian Ocean.
Drink this as an aperitif with your smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for Christmas morning. It’s too good for Bucks Fizz though. Mostly Chardonnay with 20% Pinot Noir.
£14.50 2017 Viognier, Creation wines, South Africa. I loved this floral yet crisp Viognier and found it worked well with Asian and Thai flavours.
£12.50 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, Creation wines, South Africa. This dry, fresh wine would be perfect with a Christmassy shellfish platter, say oysters.
£16.50 2016 Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon, Creation wines, South Africa. This is a classic Bordeaux style blend, ‘sauv/sem’ they call it. Sauvignon provides all the top notes, the fruit and the acidity while Semillon lends structure and butteriness to the mouthfeel. Think lemon and a little oak. This goes well with seafood, fish and chips, bbq food, and perhaps a creamy chanterelle pasta. Coming from an Italian family I like to have a small pasta course, a ‘primi’, for Christmas dinner.
£20 2016 Syrah/Grenache, Creation Wines. This intense blend, reminiscent of the Rhone, is perfectly designed to match the main course, whether it be beef or lamb or a vegetarian dish such as a nut loaf.
£19.50 2017 Pinot Noir, Creation Wines. Violets, spice and light tannins make this a great match with chicken or Turkey. For vegetarians, an aubergine and feta stuffed pumpkin or butternut squash.
£34.00 2016 Reserve Pinot Noir, Creation Wines. The most expensive of Creation’s still wines, but if you can’t splash out on a decent bottle at Christmas, when are you going to do it? I’d say this for the glorious cheese board, resplendant with figs, grapes, quince jelly and biscuits.
Braised Brussels Sprouts recipe
There are many different ways to cook sprouts, my favourite method is braising, that is par-boiling in salty water for five minutes then transferring them into a frying pan to sauté. This recipe is so delicious that I must confess to scoffing the lot, by myself, in one sitting. I do like to combine Brussels sprouts with some kind of nut, whether chestnuts, pine nuts or pistachios. Nuts add a creamy earthiness that works well with the sulphurously sweet green of sprouts.
£16.50 2016 Chardonnay, Creation Wines. This fruit-driven Chardonnay would provide a wonderful foil for Brussels sprouts.
500g brussels sprouts, trimmed
1tsp sea salt
40ml extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
Half a glass of white wine
A handful of pistachio nibs
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan on a medium heat, cover the Brussels Sprouts with boiling water and sea salt.
Boil for five minutes only then strain. Prepare a frying pan, on a low to medium heat. Tip in the sprouts, then add the garlic. Stir for a few minutes then add the wine.
Sauté for a few minutes, then add the pistachio nibs. Finally add the lemon zest and season to taste.
Can be prepared in advance and covered with foil or reheated. But this dish is at its best served hot immediately.
What wines do you like to drink on Christmas Day? Do you buy more expensive wines? Do you go for old favourites and like to try new wines? Do let us know below in the comments. And if you’ve tried any of our Creation wines selection, what did you think of it?