We absolutely love Christmas in our house. The night before the 1st of December, the kids advent calendars are put out, and just the knowledge of them being able to eat a piece of chocolate before 8am everyday is enough to kick off those tingles of excitement. The Christmas elf is dug out from wherever he may have been hiding for the last 365 days - and yes, it's safe to assume that we can never remember where, and therefore the house is torn apart around 11pm each and every 30th November!
But one of the best things about hitting December is planning what we will eat and drink in the lead up to, and over the Christmas holidays. The Christmas cook books come out, along with stacks of pre-purchased magazines to cover every clear bit of work top surface and table in the house. New ingredients claim their places on the weekly shopping list and mince pies replace the digestive biscuits.
One thing we always prepare early is what we will be drinking. This can be a minefield for some people, as there is of course lots of choice out there. But rather than just opt for the cheap stuff in bulk, we've devised a little list to help you.
Starting with the parties (of course)....
If it's a gathering at your own house, chances are you will need a sufficient amount so your guests glasses don't dry out. Our advice for this would be to buy a BIB (bottle in a bag). Wine on tap so to speak is great because it is more cost effective due to the packaging. The wines that we have are the same as the bottled wine, so no loss of quality.
But if you prefer bottles or are heading off to party elsewhere, opt for Chateau Des Tourtes Duo Red and Duo White. Both very easy pleasers that won't break the bank
The big day has arrived. Our recommendations based on food choices are the following:
Shellfish, salad, veg based starters - Chateau Haut Grelot Cremant de Bordeaux (great with smoked salmon and scrambled eggs too), Coteaux du Giennois blanc 2015, Chateau Des Tourtes Blanc Classique are fabulously fresh, with great acidity and citrus flavours.
Turkey with trimmings - White wines with good body, and low tannin medium bodied reds pair best. Turkey has little fat in it, however, flavours pouring in from the trimmings need to be factored in.
Chateau Haut Canteloup Eleve en Fut 2015 or Domaine Cazulet Chardonnay are both a great match with enough acidity for the white meat and body for those creamy bread sauces and flavoursome buttery parsnips. If you are not a fan of an oaked white wine, then try Domaine Des Soulie Cuvee Mathilde made from 60% Marsanne.
For red, Domaine Des Lauribert Cotes du Rhone 2015 and Domaine Des Soulie St Chininan 2014 are great matches. But the hero may be a beaujolais red, so our Chiroubles Nature would pair perfectly too.
Big Beautiful Beef
Where do we start? As it's Christmas, we would definitely go for something bolder either Chateau Les Pierreres Blaye, Chateau La Croix David Bourg or Mas Des Caprices Anthocyane and Domaine Seguela cuvee St Julien. If you really don't want to drink red, then I would personally opt for bubbles which work well with the fats in this roast. The Philippe Raguenot Cremant rosé is a great option.
Goose requires something with robust flavour and good acidity. We have opted for 1 red and 1 white in this category. For the red we would opt for Domaine Seguela Les Candalieres 2014, and for white a lovely Domaine Hubert-Verdereau for its fabulous structure and freshness. Both have that perfect balance for this fabulous bird.
A lovely fresh salmon, or salmon en-croute is screaming out for something like a Sancerre or Pouilly Fumé. Both are great with this great dish.
Curry all the way in our house. We always buy a turkey that feeds double the amount of people we have at the table on Christmas Day. This way, there is plenty left over for sandwiches and turkey curry.
It may seem peculiar to say, but a great pairing with curry is a good rosé. Not your pale provence rosé, but one with some good fruity flavours which will tackle those spices in the curry. Our faves are Domaine des Soulié rosé or for something that little bit extra special, Domaine Seguela rosé.
Now all you have to do is enjoy! Merry Christmas
The aromatic purity marked by the sauvignon blanc is what characterises this wine. On the nose there are floral and mineral notes, followed by citrus fruits. On the palate it is dry and fresh with subtle fruit and citrus flavours. This sauvignon blanc blend is great drank alone or pairs well with all appetisers, grilled fish and seafood. A very pleasurable easy drinking white wine.
70% sauvignon blanc, 20% semillon, 10% muscadelle
AOC Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux
2014 VINTAGE ARRIVES MID JANUARY 2017 - Recommended by Decanter Magazine, Chateau Des Tourtes Rouge Classique really is worth a try, and an excellent value Bordeaux wine. One of our larger family estates, their cuvee rouge classique is a bright ruby red in colour. It has a reserved nose of blackcurrant and raspberry bouquet. It is medium bodied, soft in the mouth and very well balanced. This is an great Bordeaux red that can be drank in its youth.
70% Merlot, 30% cabernet sauvignon
AOC Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux
LOW STOCK - This fabulous wine from Chateau La Croix-Davids has a beautifully dark, deep ruby colour. It has a delightful warm, complex, and rich aroma with intense notes of ripe dark fruits (plum, blackberry, black cherry), and is characterised by subtle and elegant woody notes. In the mouth, it is full and lingering, with an abundance of plum flavour and exhibiting velvety melted tannins. As it opens up, you start to discover new flavours of coffee, vanilla, tobacco, and the plum becomes more intense – it just gets better and better. A truly elegant wine. Enjoy with game, red meats or cheese.
90% merlot noir, 10% cabernet sauvignon
This Coteaux Du Giennois blanc 2015 from Domaine Chauveau is fresh, crisp, fruity and light. Just north east of the ever so popular Sancerre and Pouilly fumé appellations, lies the lesser known, but not to be ignored Coteaux Du Giennois. Awarded its 'appellation controlée' in 1998, vines are planted in silica and limestone soils across vast and varied landscapes, with temperatures averaging near to its neighbouring Sancerre, developing light bodied and crisp flinty wines. This Coteaux Du Giennois blanc is pale lemon with green flecks and has a soft freshness, with a flinty zing and slight green pear and lemon fruitiness. A really great white wine, and less costly than its neighbours down the road. Drink on its own, or great accompaniment with fish and shellfish.
100% Sauvignon blanc
AOC Coteaux du Giennois
This Coteaux Du Giennois Pinot Noir Gamay blend 2015 from Domaine Chauveau is an extremely pleasant light and fruity wine. Just north east of the ever so popular Sancerre and Pouilly fumé appellations, lies the lesser known, but not to be ignored Coteaux Du Giennois. Awarded its 'appellation controlée' (AOC) in 1998, vines are planted in silica and limestone soils across vast and varied landscapes, with temperatures averaging near to its neighbouring Sancerre, developing lighter bodied wine. Red wines are of Pinot Noir and Gamay and have distinct cherry and berry fruity flavours. This Coteaux Du Giennois is a beautiful garnet in colour with aromas of dark berries from the outset. Structured in the mouth with lovely notes of cherry and light rounded tannins. Drink on its own, or great accompaniment with red meats and chicken
90% Pinot Noir, 10% gamay
AOC Coteaux du Giennois
Domaine des Lauribert has been producing its own wines, under the guidance of Laurent Sourdon and his team, since leaving the cooperative system in 1997. The Côtes Du Rhône Tradition 2014 has a superb nose, with forward notes of black currant, redcurrants very slight raspberry. Vibrant ruby red colour. On the palate there is good light fruity balance of red berries and raspberry, and tiny bit of liquorice coming through at the end. Beautiful soft tannins. Slips down very nicely, and is a nice alternative to a beaujolais. A lovely light-medium red that won't disappoint. A fantastic Côtes Du Rhône that can be enjoyed by itself or great with lighter meals.
80% Grenache, 20% Syrah
This Cremant rose from the Raguenot family of Chateau Des Tourtes is a delight to drink. For those that love their pink champagne, but don't have the budget to enjoy the really good stuff, this cremant rose is a perfect compromise. It is a perfect pretty pink, with lots of very fine bubbles, rising to the top to give a fabulous creamy mousse. Delicate and well rounded in the mouth with a lovely creamy strawberry flavour. An excellent fizz you'd be proud to raise a glass with.
Merlot Cabernet blend
AOC Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux
Pale yellow robe with tints of gold bursts into fine bubbles. Elegant and lovely floral and fruity flavours. Fresh, harmonious, complex with a long finish.
Cremant de Bordeaux is made the same way as Champagne. Manual harvesting and carried in perforated grape boxes. The grapes are pressed immediately, bypassing the crushing equipment, to avoid both oxidation and color in the wine. The 1st alcoholic fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. At this point the wine is still. At bottling, a small amount of liqueur de tirage (sugar, yeast) is added to start 2nd fermentation. This creates the bubbles. The bottles are stocked during 9 months, where the winemaker turns the bottle a small angle everyday. Next is a process known as Dégorgement (removing the sediment from the bottles which has built up due to pressure).
AOC Cremant de Bordeaux
Domaine Huber-Verdereau was founded by Thiébault HUBER in 1994, and originates from the 19th century when the family Verdereau began to grow wine on their estate in Volnay, Burgundy. Thiébault's grandfather Raoul Verdereau, worked hard developing the estate between 1928 to 1976, before sharing his properties between his two daughters. Thiébault's parents inherited around 3 hectares which they rented out until 1994, as they were neither winegrowers nor living in Burgundy. Their son Thiébault Huber who is the present manager, studied all about the hotel business and the art of being a sommelier at the famous Hotel Catering School in STRASBOURG. In 1990, he chose to take over the family estate, training for three years at the Wine School of BEAUNE, and with his cousin winegrower Jean-Marc BOULEY. He was the ready to create the Domaine HUBER-VERDEREAU, harvesting for the first time in 1994. In biological culture since 2001, Thiébault now applies the biodynamic farming to all the Field since 2005.
The 44 year old vines of this great Burgundy wine reside on the edge of the appellation Puligny-Montrachet, taking full advantage of the typical soils of Montrachet. Manually harvested, with pneumatic pressing of whole grapes and fermentation in oak barrels for 10 months. This gives the wine a great structure, it is round in the mouth, fresh and aromatic with notes of exotic fruits.
80% Chardonnay, 20% chardonnay muscaté
The grapes are totally de-stemmed and fermented at a controlled temperature for 35 days. 12 months ageing of 50% of the wine in new oak barrels and the other half in the tank, therefore preserving the freshness of the fruit. On the nose, ripe, sweet red fruits. Very clear and fragrant. Aromatic and bold in the mouth with fine peppery notes. A truly magnificent wine
60% syrah, 30% carignan, 10% grenache,
AOC Cotes du Roussillon Villages
Domaine Seguela Les Candalieres. Deep ruby red. Blackberry and cinnamon on the nose. In the mouth delicious rich red berries, fresh with subtle minerality. Slight spice with soft tannins. Perfect partner to beef.
60% Carignan, 20% Syrah, 15% grenache, 5% Mourvedre
AOC Cotes du Roussillan Villages
Pouilly Fumé wines are known for their mineral and fruity aromas. The soils on which the grapes are grown are of tiny oyster marl (kimmeridgien marl), and it’s this plus hard calcareous rock that gives Pouilly Fumé its minerality, finesse and fresh lively character.
This Sainte Clélie Pouilly Fumé is no exception. Pale yellow in colour with a mix of floral notes and white fruits on the nose, and a touch of citrus that’s bordering on exotic. On the palate an abundance of freshness, lovely aromatic precision with balance and delicateness.
100% Sauvignon blanc
Chateau Des Tourtes Red Wine Bag in Box – 5L (BIB) Wine bag in box are becoming more popular, with good wineries making the decision to provide these as they are better for the environment and more cost effective than bottles. One of our favourite vineyards Chateau Des Tourtes produce excellent quality wines, and their classique range are now available in 5 litre boxes (or BIB as they are also known), each box holding just over 6 and half bottles of wine. They are perfect for parties and very cost effective without losing the quality of the wine. The packaging keeps air out, meaning the wine can last longer, therefore if you only fancy only 1 or 2 glasses, you can do so without worrying the rest might spoil. Or for dinner parties you can just decant!
Merlot, cabernet sauvignon
AOC Blaye cotes de Bordeaux
Chateau Des Tourtes White Wine Bag in Box – 5L (BIB) - White Wine bag in box are becoming more popular, with good wineries making the decision to provide these as they are better for the environment and more cost effective than bottles. One of our favourite vineyards Chateau Des Tourtes produce excellent quality wines, and their classique range are now available in 5 litre boxes (or BIB as they are also known), each box holding just over 6 and half bottles of wine. They are perfect for parties and very cost effective without losing the quality of the wine. The packaging keeps air out, meaning the wine can last longer, therefore if you only fancy 1 or 2 glasses, you can do so without worrying the rest might spoil. Or for dinner parties you can just decant!
Sauvignon blanc, semillon
AOC Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux