Forget about the best wine match for cranberry sauce. The important question over the coming holidays should be what to charge your glass with while you listen to all those classic Christmas tunes. We’re here to help with some vinous inspiration.
White Christmas, Bing Crosby
Those of you who live somewhere where you can look outside to a blanket of snow on Christmas Day, lucky you! The rest of us will have to make do with this golden oldie, paired with – well, what else? – blanc de blancs of course. Take your pick of your favourite Chardonnay-based Champagne. Ruinart’s NV Blanc de Blancs is a treat.
Driving Home for Christmas, Chris Rea
We’re all resigned to crawling along in traffic as we make our way along clogged motorways to celebrate with friends and family. And even worse, you have to stay sober to do it. Thankfully, the low- and no-alcohol wine category is booming – we’re not pretending it’s a substitute for the blanc de blancs Ruinart, but needs must. Freixenet’s 0% sparkling wines are widely available from UK supermarkets.
Baby It’s Cold Outside, Dean Martin
What could be a better match than an ice wine, made by leaving the grapes to freeze on the vine and extracting the concentrated juice. Germany and Canada are the most famous ice-wine producing countries, and this example from Canada’s Niagara Peninsula won Gold at this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards.
Sussex Carol, John Rutter
The English wine industry has made incredible strides in the last couple of decades, meaning that today you can enjoy this beautiful carol by one of England’s most famous choral composers, while sipping on a sparkling wine from the county of Sussex that rivals Champagne for quality. Nyetimber’s Classic Cuvée earned 91 points in a recent Decanter panel tasting of English sparkling wines. Other top names in Sussex sparkling include Ridgeview and Ambriel.
I Saw Three Ships
It’s a traditional English carol, but we’re off to Bordeaux for this one. St-Julien fourth growth Château Beychevelle, like many top estates in the Médoc, lies close to the Gironde river.
In the early 17th century it was owned by the Duke of Epernon, a man of great political influence and power who became Admiral of France. The label portrays a sailing ship with a griffin prow, in reference to the story – which may or may not be true – that ships travelling up and down the Gironde were ordered to lower their sails to affirm loyalty to the duke. That may also explain the name of the château, a corruption into Gascon dialect of baisse-voile, or ‘lowered sails’. There’s only one ship on the label, so you might need to line up a few bottles for this one… Jane Anson, Decanter’s Bordeaux correspondent scored the 2016 vintage at 94 points last October.