Annual Wines for Christmas Day article – 2017


My annual Christmas Day wine recommendations article is one that I perhaps enjoy writing 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!

With my involvement with the 50 Great Cavas competition this year, I guess it’s inevitable that I’d be recommending that we start proceedings with some sparkle! For me, Sparkling Wine on Christmas Day is obligatory – I like to start the day with fizz, and then enjoy some with canapés, perhaps when family and friends arrive. Before the main meal, be it lunch or dinner, I like fizz, too – usually something a bit special, to toast the efforts of the chef and to accompany such a wonderful repast! It’s also particularly good to continue with this sparkler to accompany the starter – this gives me the excuse to order a couple of bottles at least of ‘the special one’!

And after the banquet? Well what better way to revive a slightly jaded palate, than a glass of fizz!

The Cava I’ve enjoyed most this year has been Rovellats Masia Siegle XV Gran Reserva ( and it’s this that I’d recommend for ‘the special one’! It’s not cheap, but it is soooo worth it!

For the cava to be enjoyed at canapé time etc I’d still choose a Premium Cava (meaning either a Reserva or a Gran Reserva) but one more moderately proced. The Dominio de la Vega range of Reserva Cavas is excellent, and so well priced! – and some are available in Mas y Mas!

For white wine – I think this particular feast deserves a white with some body to accompany the freshness, so a little ageing will be good. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean oak ageing. This year I’m recommending Albariño de Fefiñanes III Año – it’s a wonderful wine with the fresh, white stoned fruit aromas and flavour of Albariño as well as a certain intensity, depth, body and slight creaminess following its 30 months in tank, 7 months of which have been with lees contact! (

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, top quality 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, but I’m extremely happy with the wine I’ve chosen for this year – Bodegas Enrique Mendoza’s Santa Rosa is an excellent wine that perfectly fits the Christmas Lunch/Dinner concept! The flagship of the winery, this elegant Cabernet (70%) Merlot and Shiraz mix is a Spanish wine that, although the grapes are French in origin, would make lots of French wineries quite envious!

The Cabernet has obviously been picked at the optimum time – the grapes were fully ripened but retained their crucial acidity. Lots of blackcurrant aroma and flavour. There’s a touch of plum/damson in there with some stony minerality, a little smoky oak and some rich dark cherry with a touch of spice – it has great length and an admirable complexity, a really cracking wine! (


Out on a limb, for my choice of dessert wine? Well, you might think so, as I’m straying away from my traditional PX Sherry recommendation! But, taste the wine and you won’t think so! My favourite dessert wine of this year has been Finca Antigua’s Moscatel Naturalmente Dulce and I think it will go so well with dessert! There’s a touch of lemon zest freshness, which develops into orange blossom fragrance, with orange peel aromas and flavours with some bitter orange, almost marmalade, flavour and aroma too, with a candied dried fruit finish to remind you that this is a pudding wine! (

Happy Christmas to you all!

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