Christmas is a tried and tested formula and when it comes to wine most of us know what we like. In our previous blog, we gave our whistle stop tour of our Christmas food pairings to suit a number of styles and budgets. Many of the wine pairings are as old as the hills – and for good reason, but this year we wanted to also think a little bit outside the box. Perhaps you want to impress your guests, provide a talking point with other wine enthusiasts or expand your own wine drinking horizons.
We have in mind a few Christmas classics with a twist, a nod to the more traditional and familiar aspects of Christmas we know and love but something a little different that we are sure will stand out for all the right reasons. If you are looking to break the festive mould then perhaps these selected wines will be to your liking. Maybe you have your own avant-garde wine selections – we would love to hear from you!
Christmas celebrations are incomplete without a glass of bubbles, although we are rather set in our ways when it comes to sparkling wine. This fantastic wine both plays to type and offers something new and refreshing. The name itself is very familiar, and indeed the Quartet winery is owned by prestigious Champagne house Louis Roederer. However, the vineyards and winery were established somewhere altogether different – the cool Anderson Valley in Mendocino, California.
The Quartet team have privileged access to 235 hectares located across 4 vineyard sites – hence the name! The cool climate and free draining soils are ideal for the growing of Champagne classic grapes, producing a wine with a wonderful rich and dry texture, creamy with bright notes of stone fruit, comice pear and a toasty brioche bite. Perfect aperitif style, maybe serve with a few canapés.
£19.50, 12% abv
Not the traditional wine of choice, but this rosé has a bit of oomph about it with a fuller body and a juicy, red berry fruit style. Zesty and vibrant, it will make a fantastic alternative to a fruity white or red. Serve cool (10 minutes in the fridge) as this lifts the whole profile of the wine with the food.
From top Italian producers Cà dei Frati. Their vineyards are located on the western shores of Lake Garda in Lombardy, north-east Italy, near Verona which was the famous setting for Romeo and Juliet. Cà dei Frati is a model Italian estate, whose vineyards have grown from 12 hectares to 140 hectares over the past two decades. This increase in quantity has been matched by an increase in quality and today the family is broadly recognised as the best producer in the region.
£14.75, 13% abv
Perhaps you have decided on a delicious cut of beef for Christmas instead, which calls for a rich full bodied red. More traditional options may include a Bordeaux or Italian theme, however this wine from a small producer in a little known region in Greece will challenge these head on!
This wine is made entirely from the indigenous variety, Xinomavro (pronounced Ksee-noh-mah-vro) and displays a gorgeous and individual savoury, spicy dried black fruit character. From Domaine Diamantakos in Naoussa, Greece’s very first appellation, many draw comparisons with a top Barolo – just perfect with a fine cut of beef!
£19.00, 13.5% abv
A real twist on the traditional festive Port, this dessert wine from the south of France is certainly a little different – and less spiritous. Banyuls is located a stone’s throw away from the Spanish border, a French Appellation in the southern corner of the Roussillon region. The estate handles 30 hectares of mountain vineyards spread over 30 small parcels, covering different exposures, altitudes, soils and proximity to the sea, all producing a number of ‘microterroirs’ from which grapes are sourced.
This wine exhibits beautiful bold flavours of ripe Turkish figs, damson jam and there is even a hint of dark chocolate and liquorice. Moreover, it is just made for the festive season and will accompany the traditional Christmas Pudding, a selection of mince pies, a generous cheese board – especially blue cheese, and after dinner chocolates. Otherwise, sip and savour on its own!
£20.00 per 50CL bottle, 16.5% abv