• Simon Reilly

Wineloon's wines for Christmas - Part 1


When does something become annual? I wrote a Wineloon’s wines for Christmas this time last year and I am writing one now. Is this an annual occurrence or have I just done it twice?

If I do it next year it will definitely be annual, but the jury is out on this year.

The jury is also bored shitless of this tedious, drawn out introduction and wants to hear what they should be buying to drink with their turkey this year.

Right, here goes…

Fizz

If you don’t drink Champagne for breakfast on Christmas Day you are a complete loser and don’t really get the spirit of Christmas.

You are ruining Christmas for yourself and everyone else.

Not only does Champagne cut through the fat of your morning sausage perfectly, making it easier to digest, but it will make you seem less boring to the poor people who feel obliged to spend the day

with you.

So what should you be drinking?

Well Champagne obviously, it’s Christmas FFS.

Non-vintage is fine, don’t be snobby and pull out a vintage number, its only breakfast. You can show off with your luncheon wines.

As luck would have it, this week is Sainsbury’s regular buy any 6 bottles, get 25% off deal extravaganza.

Perfect for splashing out on your Christmas fizz. (NB also perfect for your festive port drinking to be covered in part 2, but I might not get round to writing that until after the deal is finished so read my lips – Taylor’s 10 year old tawny £12 if you buy 6, down from £20 – I almost pissed my pants when I saw this in Sainsbury’s on the way home tonight)

If you want to take advantage of Lord Sainsbury’s generosity, I’d suggest you go for the Lanson Black Label (down to £16.50 if you buy any 6 bottles) or Piper Heidsick (down to £15.75 if you buy any 6 bottles).

Why not buy one of each and treat your family to a comparative tasting over breakfast, they’ll think you’re a complete knob end. Get your kids to count the number of bubbles in each glass as a “Christmas project”, they’ll really hate you for it.

If you want to be a bit more adventurous, and your family might hate you less, why don’t you try a grower Champagne this year. That’s a Champagne made a by an independent grower rather than the famous brand names who buy in their grapes and produce wines in bulk to a house style year on year.

Get yourself lots of Pierre Bertrand’s Brut Premier Cru NV, an absolute bargain at £21.95 from Exel Wines in Perth. Back up the truck….

Whites

There are two categories here.

Category 1 are the whites you have to buy in quite large quantities for house guests like my mum (hi mum!) who turn their nose up at anything with a hint of golden colour or a whiff of oak, but drink a lot of what they like.

Yes, the affordable crowd pleaser is a necessary evil of the Christmas period.

Don’t just do what I used to do for my mum and buy in a load of supermarket Malborough Sauvignon Blanc to keep her sweet. Push the boundaries a bit.

A recent find which me and my mum both like is a South African Sauvignon Blanc called Dombeya, available from Lea & Sandeman at £10.95, or £9.95 if you buy any 12 bottles.

Another option at the “just under a tenner” price point worth looking at to fend off house guests is the Coviar Albarino 2016 by Paco & Lola, available from Roberson Wine for a paltry £9.99, down from £15.

Still on an Iberian slant, I went to Lisbon this year and drank lots of great Portuguese whites. They are generally good value and very gluggable.

Try the following for size;

Filipa Pato’s FP Bairrada Branco 2016, only £9.95 from the Wine Society

Soalheiro Alvarinho 2016 (£14.39)

Luis Pato Vinhas Velhas Branco 2015 (£12.59)

The majestic Niepoort Redoma Branco 2015 (£16.19)

The last three wines are all available from Roberts and Speight.

The Redoma is a bit more serious than the others and is worthy of an upgrade to the Christmas table - see Category 2, below.

Category 2 are the big guns you pull out at lunchtime, to wash down your prawn cocktail.

I normally wash the prawns down with Chablis. My strong preference is Premier Cru. Not that much more expensive than village, but much more concentration and a lot cheaper than Grand Cru with a lighter touch for lunchtime.

My favourite producer is Vincent Dauvissat, but his wine is rarer than hen’s teeth and as expensive as new teeth. If you ever see his wines buy them, they will make you weep.

In the absence of such treasures, try one of Domaine Moreau-Naudet’s 2015 premier crus from Lea & Sandeman. The Montmains, Vaillons and Forets (all different Premier Cru vineyards) are £26.95 each if you buy any 12.

If that is too rich for you, Domaine Adhemer et Francis Boudin’s village 2015 Chablis, also from L&S is a very good cheaper alternative at £14.95 if you buy any 12.

I like the 2015 Chablis vintage, a nice bit of fat sunshine about them, compared to the lean, mean 2014s.

Another great value white burgundy I would push you towards this Christmas is Olivier Merlin’s 2015 Macon-La Roche-Vineuse, available from Berry Brothers & Rudd for £17.25. A delicious white Burgundy that punches well above its weight.

I probably should suggest something outside Burgundy for the Category 2s, but it Christmas, you should drink Burgundy. Alright?

If you must deviate, go for a South African Chenin Blanc.

David & Nadia’s 2015 David chenin is fantastic and available from Waitrose at £24.99. If that is too much, go for Aadi Badenhorst’s 2016 Secateurs White, another chenin, available for £11.50 from Stone Vine & Sun.

Both wines are from Swartland. Swartland is where it’s at.

Stay tuned. Part 2 – Reds and Fortifieds to follow soon…. hopefully before xmas. In any case remember about the Sainsbury's deal on the 10yo Taylor's (£12 a bottle, get on it..)


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