Monday, 9 January 2012

So what did you have for Christmas?

We’re often asked, as wine merchants, what we drank on Christmas Day ourselves. We spend most of November and December every year recommending what are our customers should be drinking for this most special family meal so maybe it is time to spill the beans and tell all.
For us, it is an occasion when old bottles from private collections are dusted down and carefully decanted so this blog may not turn out to be a wonderful exercise in marketing current wines but here goes anyway –
Nigel – “Being a bit of a philistine when it comes to Champagne I kicked off with a glass of La Gitana Manzanilla while everybody else got stuck into the ever dependable Renard Barnier NV. We then progressed to Logan Weemala Pinot Gris (gentle peach flavours and a touch of perfumed oil) and followed that with the stunning Logan Orange Chardonnay (fantastic dry extract, racy and minerally, the best Chardonnay I have drunk this year, a bit like Meursault on steroids). With the turkey; La Lagune 1996 for my end of the table and the succulently sexy Mas D’ Auzieres “les Eclats” for the “kids” worked a dream. The rest is a blur but it did involve some Quinta do Noval and (unfortunately) homemade Blackberry gin.”

Nigel Logan

Henry Shaw

Our Christmas Day is a pretty traditional affair, with fairly traditional wines! I have to keep an eye on my Dad as he is a little unsteady on his feet these days (purely medical reasons, you understand) so we take if slow and steady. We kicked off with the Renard Barnier NV with the canapes. Nigel calls it 'ever dependable' and I agree, but I would also add that its key selling point for me is the richness it achieves by extra time in the cellar before release which enhanced the smoked salmon nibbles marvellously!
The Crossroads Gewurztraminer (NZ) was very interesting against a smooth chicken liver parfait with sultanas previously soaked in a 5 Punt Tokay. Lovely scented fruit with enough acidity to cut the richness of the parfait. I cooked the turkey a bit differently this year and the resultant soft and moist breast meat, alongside slow-cooked dark leg meat was a revelation. I also cooked the best stuffing I have made in years, rich with chestnuts and pistachios. I had a couple of bottles of decent claret in the wings, but opted for a beautifully crafted  Armador Syrah from the Odfjell winery in Maipo Valley in Chile. Smooth and relaxed drinking through the rest of the evening for me! We packed Dad off to the lounge for a snooze at that point, so I enjoyed the rest of the bottle myself while Helen moved onto some Italian liqueurs!

Mike Maguire

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