Whilst Christmas is one of the most enjoyable and social times of the year, it also involves a lot of planning and preparation. It also has a nasty habit of creeping up on you, and before you know it you are rushing around trying to keep all those plates spinning on their poles!
One of the very best aspects of Christmas is indulging in really good food and wine – and sharing these experiences with family and friends. We have given a lot of thought to helping with this part of the organisation.
To assist with the various menu and party options I have put together some recommendations covering all the main food types and options over the holiday period. As a fervent amateur chef – who will also be in charge of a number of the Christmas dishes – I thought I would share more about the thinking and options we have and why they could work well with your own food and menu plans – from the big day itself and New Year’s Eve/Day if you are hosting.
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Canapés, nibbles and party pourers
These range dramatically in styles and flavours, but one thing that should link them all together is that they are savoury. Candidates and flavours often include pastries, cured meats, smoked and cured fish, egg and dairy, tomato and green vegetable, soft spice and mild curry, also saltiness … to name a few. This is not usually a natural area for red wines. In general white wines which are crisp and unoaked work best (one exception is if the canapé is itself well smoked then an oaky wine can work well). Sparkling wines and Champagne are classic partners but a dry and refreshing white wine can work just as well. If the nibbles have a gentle spicy/curry note than be bold and go for more exotic wines, such as a racy Riesling. Good, “all rounder”, examples from our list include:
- Prosecco di Paolo Frizzante NV – great party-crowd pleasing quaffing
- Ayala Champagne Brut Majeur NV – the perfect canapé wine, really delicate
- Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve NV – especially for richer, more savoury and pastry dishes – great with smoked salmon – and, not least, just to indulge
- Picpoul de Pinet Domaine Gratiot 2013 – fashionable and chic southern French – ideal with seafood
- Verdejo El Tesoro 2013 – modern Spanish – fantastic value for money crowd pleasing white
- Riesling Mosel Trocken Sybille Kuntz – 2010 – off-dry and zesty – take people out of their comfort zone! Exhilarating
- Lawson’s Dry Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 – nearly everyone’s favourite New Zealand style – goes with so many dishes
- Pasquieres Grenache|Cinsault 2013 – rosés are great fun in the winter as well as the summer. really gentle and fruity southern French style
- Borsao Garnacha 2013 – from Spain and one of our biggest customer favourites – plenty of punch and fruit but nothing heavy
- Calbuco Merlot 2013 – spot on, smooth and juicy black fruit Chilean standard bearer style
We have also put together a series of mixed cases of wine (which will be up on the site in the run up to Christmas) which deliver outstanding quality and range of choice, but are also perfect gifts and matches for the varied menu options we love to indulge in at this time of the year.
The Christmas Giftbox (case of six):
- Langlois Crémant de Loire Brut NV,
- Lawsons Sauvignon Blanc,
- Pasquiers Rosé,
- Rioja del Oja Tinto,
- ½ bottle Andrew Quady Essencia Orange Muscat
- Fonseca LBV Unfiltered Port 2005
Six of the Christmas best. This is a “chocolate box” of six individual wines which captures a broad cross section of wine styles. Diverse, contrasting but above all hugely enjoyable and offering outstanding quality for value and offering the cross section of wine styles. Start with a refreshing glass of Fizz from Bollinger’s venture in the Loire Valley; a bright fruity rosé from the south of France; a classic Kiwi Sauvignon; a juicy modern style red Rioja; an exotic Californian dessert wine, finishing with a rich and textural late bottled vintage port.
This case provides a complete cross section of styles for the Christmas period, but is also designed to be the perfect gift for any wine lover.
Twelve Days of Christmas:
- Coates and Seely Rosé,
- Ayala Brut Majeur NV Champagne,
- Rosa dei Frati,
- Moreau Naudet Chablis,
- Garenne Sancerre,
- Sequillo White,
- Fontodi Chianti Classico,
- Gran Cabernet Franc Pulenta,
- Rioja del Oja Reserva 2004
- Vin de Constance,
- Quinta de Romaniera LBV Port
- Chateau Petit Val St Emilion Grand Cru
The Deluxe Dozen. This is a top class mixed case, with the emphasis very much on “the Classics”. Although the focus is on fine wines from Champagne, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Italy, Spain, Port(ugal) – we blend in some fine examples from the New World too – not least the quite extraordinary dessert wine Vin de Constance from South Africa. And we remain patriotic to the core with the leading Hampshire estate of Coates & Seely and their standard setting rosé.