YOUR CHRISTMAS DAY WINES HERE!
I always enjoy writing Cork Talk. Imparting (hopefully?) some of my passion for Spanish wine, as well as (maybe?) informing, and (perhaps?) to an extent, entertaining, is a weekly uplifting experience for me. So, thank you readers, whether you collect your Costa News from the local ‘Prensa’ on one of the four Costas (Blanca, Del Sol, Levante and Almeria), or if you read online in whichever country you may be (hola Doug, in Canada – for example!).
And of course, my annual Christmas Day wine recommendations is one of the articles that I enjoy most. It puts me in the mood for Christmas a few weeks before it happens, plus it always makes me think of readers enjoying their Christmas Day Lunch/Dinner, heightened, perhaps by their enjoying one of the wines I’ve recommended! So on with the show!
Celebration is the name of the game on Christmas Day, so one thinks immediately of Sparkling Wine. Cava is going to fit the bill perfectly – however, for such a day, and to accompany all manner of amuse-bouches, it has to be Cava, and some! I’m talking Premium Cava, of course. It would be particularly thrilling for me to be able to recommend one of the new Cava de Paraje Calificada cavas, but at the time of writing, none are yet available.
Premium Cava, ADN Brut Nature Gran Reserva from Canals & Munné is priced, on their online shop, at an incredible 12·50€! It’s a real steal, so much so that I’d recommend you have a look and see if there’s a deal where, for example, there’s no transport cost if you buy a dozen! It’s had 45 months on its lees gathering depth of flavour and complexity, making it idea with food, and yet it retains that essential joie de vivre fizz!
For white wine – well nowadays in Spain there is such a wide and exciting choice of aromas, flavours, varieties and areas of production that you simply cannot go wrong! Now, my guess is that there won’t be many of my fellow UK based wine writers contemplating a white wine from DO Valencia as a recommendation for Christmas – but that’s probably because they haven’t, yet, had the opportunity to taste the wonderfully fragranced and flavoured Versat from Clos Cor Ví.
Made from an eclectic blend of Riesling, Viognier, Verdil and Moscatel which works like a dream, it is really lovely nuanced dry white wine. There’s a minerality which must come from the the plot in which the Riesling is grown, a superb apricot/peach fruitiness, some body and citrus from the often shy Verdil and a slightly exotic aroma emanating from the old Moscatel vines which really have made their home in this part of Spain. Not so easy to find, but you must!
I admit that Rosé isn’t probably the first style that leaps to mind when considering wines for Christmas Day. Yet many of us will have a fish course involved, where perhaps we’d like a change from a white, particularly if the fish chosen has a rosé colour too. Enter the salmon, and enter too, Bodegas Arzuaga Navarro’s Rosae!
Bodegas Arzuaga Navarro, DOP Ribera del Duero, will be know to many readers – for their rich red wines, and if you’re lucky, their luxury hotel and spa! However, with such good black grapes from old vines, in well situated vineyards, which enjoy their own micro-climates, it’s not a quantum leap to realise that they may also make top rosado wines too!
And they do! Rosae is in a rather sexy bottle, and the wine enhances that theme. It’s delicate and yet is full for a rosado. It’s elegant, and yet has power as well. You’ll find raspberries in abundance, with a faint reference to some bigger, black fruit.
Red wine next, of course – but what with? Turkey, trimmings et al; Chicken; Goose; Duck; Beef ? Who knows, so we have to think of a catch-all wine when recommending just one. Now this is a rather difficult task here in Spain, which has been known for its excellent red wines for centuries. There is such an abundance of top reds that we can choose to pair with the main course of the Christmas feast!
I have thought long and hard about this – believe me, and it has been a very difficult choice. Indeed I could have gone for half a dozen different reds and been just as pleased with my choice. However, bearing in mind that the wine has to complement any of the above possibilities for main course, as well as thinking of the cost of the wine – we are most of us on a budget, even if it is Christmas – I’m pleased with my choice.
Condado de Haza is one of those lovely wines from the excellent DO Ribera del Duero area of production, that has not gone crazy, price-wise, and as such is a really good buy – for top drinking, and for special occasions.
Made by Alejandro Fernandez, of legendery Pesquera fame, it’s had a total of eighteen months in oak and has clearly benefited from its time in wood adding some soft vanilla and cedar notes to the overall dark forest fruit and black cherry flavour, as well as extra depth and complexity. It’s supple and generous on the palate – it won’t disappoint!
I didn’t recommend a Pedro Ximenez (PX) Sherry last year for fear of becoming too predictable – I’m not sure that this delicious and luscious style of Sherry can be beaten at this time of year. Take the cork out of the bottle and just pass it under your nose – the tantalizing aroma speaks immediately of Christmas!
Pour a sherry sized glass of Lustau San Emilio PX and it will instantly transport you to a warm kitchen where your Gran is making mince pies, cutting the Christmas Cake and just about to brandy the Christmas Pudding! It’s amazing, and such a fitting final drink for a magnificent Christmas Day feast! And, if you’re too full to eat the dessert, simply pour some of the PX over some vanilla ice cream – fabulous!
Happy Christmas to you all!
NB The Fine Wine & Gourmet Dine Programme on Total FM 91·8 and online www.totalfm.es has three slots in December: Sundays 4th, 11th and 18th. All programmes are from 18:00 – 20:00 hrs. Please get involved and text your wine questions/suggestions to me on (00 34) 629 388 159 during the programmes and I’ll play you a request too!
On Youtube Colin Harkness On Wine