Find out what the Decanter team will be raising a glass of this year, as we take you through our Christmas Day wines. From morning fizz with smoked salmon, to great turkey dinner all-rounders, and finally topping things off with delicious dessert and after-dinner wines...
Decanter team’s Christmas Day wines
See below the Decanter team’s Christmas Day wines, click on the wines to buy now if you like the sound of our selections…
Morning Fizz with Natalie, James and Eleanor
Natalie Earl, Tastings Assistant
For a lot of people, Christmas morning is all about festive pyjamas, opening stockings, and peeling potatoes. For me, it’s more about how much smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, Panettone, fresh fruit and fizz I can get through without spoiling my appetite…This year I’ll be washing down my Christmas breakfast with Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs (£39.95); the complex nutty and brioche palate is perfect with a few slices of Panettone, and the zesty lemon finish cuts through the richness of smoked salmon.
James Button, Digital Sub-editor
On Christmas morning I tend to go for a Chablis premier cru with a little bit of age, paired with the classic smoked salmon. I will be enjoying William Fevre’s Les Preuses 2006 (£39.33) – beautifully minerally, crisp and complex all at once. It marries well with the oiliness of the salmon and works with the squeeze of lemon.
Eleanor Douglas, Assistant Web Editor
This year ten of us will be invading my parents’ house for Christmas day. The day starts with mum putting on her favourite CD of carols from Kings College as she starts the dinner preparations, and once everyone has arrived we’ll be popping open the fizz. This year, we’ll be drinking the Nyetimber, Sparkling Rose NV (£29.97), which my parents snapped up a few bottles of in an offer from Majestic.
Christmas dinner with Chris, Harry and Christelle
Chris Mercer, Web Editor
Christmas dinner is fraught with difficulties for wine pairing . Then there’s the guests, who don’t always connect the season of goodwill with a spirit of compromise. My aunt brought her own bottle of rosé last year, and drank only that, for instance. But it’s hard to avoid being a little selfish, isn’t it? Perhaps everyone should bring their own bottle to the table and share them around?
This year, I plan to uncork a bottle of Mas de Daumas Gassac 2005 (£25.86) that I’ve been storing for a few years now, and which is also a small nod to estate founder Aimé Guibert, who died this year and was one of the very first people I met as a young journalist in the fine wine world. The wine’s age-softened tannins and bright red fruit and acidity should work well with turkey and please most people around the table. I’m also plotting a Mornington Peninsula Pinot and a California Chardonnay that’s been careful with the oak.
Harry Fawkes, Digital Publisher
The Christmas dinner flavours are many and various: from bread sauce to cranberry sauce and from stuffing to sprouts, it can be hard to get a handle on wine pairing – and that’s before you’ve taken into account who’s sat around the table. Uncles who only drink French, uncles who only drink Australian and the aunt who only drinks rosé, until glass two then anything is game. For whites, an oaked Chardonnay is still the best all-rounder; lifting acidity to cut through the fat, with enough body to take on some of the spicier elements on the plate, all-rounded off with a touch of sweet oak to counteract any dryness that comes with the Turkey. I’ve gone with Littorai’s, B.A. Thieriot Chardonnay from Sonoma Coast (£66.70).
Christelle Guibert, Tastings Director
I will be back in France for Christmas and, on previous form, no doubt I shall return to my family with a large Christmas hamper, recommended by the owner and wine fanatic Laurent Taupin. Being from the west coast, shellfish always has a starring role in our Christmas dinner, and this year will be no different. What better than a delicious glass of Muscadet or maybe a Chablis like one of my favourite producers Pico Thomas, 1er Cru Butteaux 2014 (£30).
Christmas dessert with Tina, John and Vahan
Tina Gellie, Associate Editor
I won’t be in charge of cooking it, but rumour has it this year’s festive desserts will be traditional: Christmas pudding, mince pies, brandy butter, shortbread, stilton – all the delicious usual suspects. Consequently, I will need to be well stocked, with six adults looking forward to something suitably impressive from my cellar. Will it be Kopke’s 40 Year Old Tawny (£99) or maybe that bottle of Quinta do Noval 1997 (£142) that I’ve been saving for a special occasion? Perhaps the one wine that will really floor them is a true taste of Australia: a thimbleful (as that’s all you need) of Old Premium Rare Liqueur Muscat from Morris of Rutherglen in Victoria (£79.63). Cheers!
John Stimpfig, Content Director
My dessert wine will be the glorious Suduiraut 2003 (£39), which will go nicely with a very rich and gloopy Christmas pud. Hopefully, there will be a bit left over for the cheese. However, if the Suduiraut has been drained, I will be opening a chilled tawny port. Having tasted the Graham’s 20 year old (£36.49) in Shanghai, that will take pride of place on the dining room table for the rest of the festive season to be liberally dipped in and out of.
Vahan Aguilan, Tastings Executive
I’ll be having my dessert and cheese with the lovely Emilio Lustau, Amontillado de Sanlucar Almacenista Cuevas Jurado (£22.95). My share of Christmas pudding has to be washed down with a healthy dose of this complex, long lasting aromatic drink. The dry wine matches the flavour profiles beautifully. Apricots and walnuts with the raisin and nut flavour of the pudding, plus that ying-yang flavour also encourages its presence on the cheese board too. I usually keep drinking this on its own long after the meal.
Evening drinks with Amy, Sylvia and David
Amy Wislocki, Managing Editor
The usual trip to scenic north Devon for Christmas, and a walk on the grey, windswept beach after lunch will set us up perfectly for a fireside glass of Port in the evening, once the kids have all gone to bed. For me, it’s tawny Port that brings me great pleasure – the cooler serving temperature, the deep amber colour, the nutty and dried fruit aromas, and the fresh acidity cutting through that opulence. Twenty-year-old is my usual choice, but this year I’ve bought a bottle of Kopke Reserve Tawny from Waitrose, which is aged for a minimum seven years in its cellars at Vila Nova de Gaia – it was such a steal at £10 that I couldn’t resist. Seasons Greetings!
Sylvia Wu, DecanterChina.com Web Editor
At the end of a busy day of cooking, gift-giving and entertaining the guests, nothing is better than a small glass of the lusciously sweet PX Sherry. The sticky, raisin-cake-like drink will be instantly attractive to your sweet-toothed guests, and those who never liked the acidity in wine. With roughly 15% alcohol, it’s friendly and approachable yet heart-warming—perfect for a Christmas family movie night, especially when you have some left over blue cheese. The best part is that it won’t cost too much either, the ‘Nectar’ PX sherry from Gonzalez Byass (£14), and it takes forever for you to finish sipping the whole bottle.
David Longfield, Sub-editor
Rummaging through the fortified options lurking in a dusty corner of my cellar, I came across a bottle of Rozès, Infanta Isabel, 10 Year Old Tawny Port (£16.99). I’d forgotten I’d put this aside some seven or eight years ago, but it’ll be the perfect thing for winding down the evening on Christmas Day this year. My own ‘infanta’, not-so coincidentally named Isabelle, just turned 10 in early December, so there can hardly be a more appropriate moment.
The 10-year-old styles frequently come with fresher, fruitier notes of orange peel or even berry fruit, which means they are eminently matchable with all sorts of Christmas-night fare, from walnuts and remaining slabs of blue cheese through to grandma’s Christmas cake and the inevitable After Eight mints. But, if you’re anything like me and my ex-Royal Navy brother-in-law, simply in a glass on the sofa, with the bottle near to hand.
Merry Christmas from the Decanter team!