The last word in festive wines – part one


Domaine Louis Claude Desvignes, Beaujolais

Domaine Louis Claude Desvignes, Beaujolais

Our trio of Berry Bros. & Rudd team members – Anne McHale MW, Edwin Dublin and Barbara Drew – have pooled their wisdom to divine the on-trend wines worth entertaining this Christmas, from Champagne, Burgundy and the Loire

Anne McHale MW on Burgundy 

Beaujolais is making a comeback. As a whole the region is gradually shaking off the negative image bestowed upon it by decades of thin-tasting Beaujolais Nouveau and, particularly in the finer Cru villages, quality has never been better. This 2011 Morgon (from the youthful partnership of Claude-Emmanuelle Desvignes and her brother Benoît) is densely concentrated with the potential to age, yet also delightful in its youth. Light-bodied enough not to overwhelm roast turkey, but with the structure to cut through all the trimmings, this is a delicious match for Christmas dinner.

2011 Morgon, Côte du Py, Domaine Louis Claude Desvignes – £17.25

Edwin Dublin on Champagne

Pinot Meunier is usually blended in Champagne, and oft-derided as incapable of interest or ageing, even though in truth Krug employs a fair amount of this grape in its prestige wines. In the case of Conges, it flies utterly solo in this old-vine cuvée planted in 1960 behind the producer’s Epernay house. Fermented in 100 percent oak and disgorged in 2013 with a modishly low dosage of 2 grams per litre, it has an almost liqueur-like, wild strawberry character and splendid depth with a citric twist.

2006 Champagne Janisson-Baradon, Conges – £53.00

Barbara Drew on the Loire

More often seen in blends, 100 percent Cabernet Franc wines are starting to become more popular due to their lighter style, crisp acidity and vibrant fruit flavours. Undoubtedly the best place to start exploring these wines is in the Loire, Cabernet Franc’s homeland. A perfect counterpoint to the heavier fayre of the season, this wine has the characteristic freshness so evident in many wines from this region, combined with an elegant purity of fruit derived from the Bretêche vineyard which gently slopes down to the Loire River, traversing a variety of soil types along the way.

2010 Bourgueil, Bretêche, Domaine de la Chevalerie – £18.25

Look out for tomorrow’s instalment focusing on the wines emerging from the South of France.