Wow – where did that go? Another year has gone by and here I am once again writing about wines that I’d recommend to grace your dining table this Christmas Day!
In fact, while I am a fully paid up member of the ‘Keep Christmas in December Campaign’, I always look forward to starting it, metaphorically, in November. It’s that month right now so I need to write about Christmas today, from a wine perspective, of course. I don’t think I’m going against the grain of the campaign, and anyway, you’re reading this in the correct month!
As always my Christmas Day starts with Cava. Yes, I know, I write quite a lot about cava – but hey it’s one of Spain’s national treasures, and it surely has to be first in line when it comes to Christmas!Cava Josep Coca Gran Reserva is made with indigenous old vine Xarel.lo and Macabeo grapes, it has clearly enjoyed its four years ‘en rima’ where it has developed into an exquisite mouthful. The Brut Nature style might suggest to some that it could be a little too dry – but no, it’s really rich! It’s so fresh on the palate too, despite its age. It’s rounded, with some toasted almond notes and a pleasing herby floral fragrance. It fills the mouth and lasts for ever! (www.castellroig.com/en/)
This Premium Cava actually pairs brilliantly with turkey, for those who prefer white to red wines, though I’m suggesting it here for the canapés and starters. It partners smoked salmon perfectly too, and, if you have a fish dish, you’ll find it just right! A catch all cava!
My white wine recommendation has caused me some problems this year as I’m spoilt for choice – a testament to the excellent quality of Spanish white wines these days! However, I’ve decided upon Bodegas Valduero’s Blanco Viadero Albillo, from DO Ribera del Duero – yes a white wine amongst so many glorious reds!
The only white wine variety that is approved by the Consejo Regulador – Albillo grapes are here harvested from Valduero’s 10-hectare vineyard and taken quickly to the bodega where the gently pressed juice is fermented at a low temperature using indigenous yeasts, to ensure the aromatics of the resulting wine. There’s a rich and ripe tropical fruit note on the nose as well as some blanched almond nuttiness. It’s rich on the palate too, full, with presence and a super grapefruit acidity which keeps the wine fresh. (www.bodegasvalduero.com)
Now, if the whites caused me some problems, blimey so did the reds – and some! I had been quite comfortable with my, more or less decision – up to a couple of weeks ago, when I was invited to two major tastings. So extraordinarily good were these wines that I was forced to change my mind – as I have for next week’s article as well, the annually much anticipated Top Ten Wines of the Year!
Signo Bobal 2012 from Finca Sandoval (www.fincasandoval.com) despite its name, is a blend. Bobal, indigenous to the Valencia region and arguably giving of its best in DO Manchuela, from whence this excellent red hails, moves over a touch for 11% Syrah to join the party! It’s had eleven months in used oak 300 litre barrels and is one of the wines within the outstanding Grandes Pagos de España portfolio.
Leading first with its fruit, juicy black cherries and dark plums, it develops on the palate displaying weight and presence at the same time as its beautiful elegance. Perfectly integrated oak adds depth and some complexity ending in a super flavour packed enduring length. Will be such a delight with turkey!
Not everybody loves Christmas Pudding, Christmas Cake and Mince Pies, so, this year, rather than recommending the tried and tested, perhaps most perfect pairing of all time, PX Sherry, I’m going to recommend another sweet sherry instead.
Also not everybody is aware that, whilst PX is the variety used to make most sweet sherries, there are also some excellent dessert sherries made from the good old favourite Moscatel. Some are outstanding and will go nicely with the above, but also lots of other Christmas Day dessert possibilities.
The multi-award winning Moscatel Emilín is my dessert wine recommendation for Christmas Day 2018. You’ll find figs, dried fruits and spices on the nose and palate, for those traditional Christmas Desserts above, as well as some pleasing and balancing citrus notes too. Plus, if by this stage you really are too full to eat another morsel – have this alone as your dessert!