Wines with Christmas lunch

Just the four of us for Christmas lunch this year. It was delayed: poor behaviour (don’t even ask!) meant that both boys were sent to their rooms, but then they got the message and, after this delay, we managed to eat together. Just two drinking, so it restricted the number of wines. Still, I’m curious, so I like to have a few bottles on the table even if they aren’t all finished.

It’s tough selecting wines for an occasion like this. You want something special, but special doesn’t always mean wildly expensive. So three bottles were opened, and all justified their presence, even if they weren’t all traditional picks. Two Champagnes preceded lunch, and they’ll be covered separately.

Stephane Tissot Savagnin 2006 Arbois, Jura, France
14% alcohol. This spends 30 months in barrel, and develops a Fino-sherry like ‘flor’ of yeast cells. Startling, volatile, lifted nose of apples, nuts and spice. Really complex and tangy. The palate is fabulously rich and complex with warm, broady, spicy flavours of cheese, herbs, nuts and vanilla. Finishes with a lovely salty, spicy length. Great wine: complex, alive and distinctive. 95/100 (£25 The Wine Society, UK agent Richards Walford)

Domaine Long-Depaquit Chablis Grand Cru Moutonne 2004 Burgundy, France
13% alcohol. Young Chablis can be a bit boring, but this wine reminded me why it is worthwhile. Yellow colour. Complex honey, nut and citrus nose has some mineral freshness. The palate has lovely breadth and nuttiness, finishing nicely mineral. Complex and delicious. 92/100

Vina Leyda Single Vineyard Cahuil Pinot Noir 2007 Leyda Valley, Chile
14% alcohol. It may strike you as strange for me to choose a Chilean Pinot Noir on a special day. Well, it’s because Vina Leyda are making some superb Pinots – among them this beauty, from a west-facing site with low fertility, harvested at 4 tons/hectare (very low by Chilean standards). It’s a lovely wine, and getting better every year, so I’m going to buy some when the 2009 is released, because it’s even better. But this is pretty good. Bright red cherry fruit nose with some sweet berryish depth. The palate is focused and reasonably elegant with nice, pure, supple red fruits. The only slight downside is a rather stern green note in the background. Lovely purity and focus. 91/100 (£11.95 The Wine Society)

3 comments to Wines with Christmas lunch

  • Alex Lake

    Sounds fun. You talk about how we might perceive it as strange to serve a low-end wine on a special day like Christmas. Well, I suppose we were at the other extreme, with 16 for dinner, but I find it very hard to give wine the attention it deserves on such a chaotic day and would rather save the good stuff for some other time (Christmas Eve and Boxing Day would be less of a waste!).

    FWIW, my wine of the day was a white Rioja, Tondonia, from 1987 (which, er, I suppose goes against my own Scroogelike guidelines, but there’s plenty left for today…)

    Merry Christmas, though!

  • Yes, with 16, you don’t want to open just one bottle of each wine, really – and it’s probably not appropriate to focus too much on the wine anyway – how did your guests find the tondonia?

  • Alex Lake

    I thought some of them liked it, but perhaps not to the degree I did…

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