The last word in festive wines – part five


Photograph: Jason Lowe

Photograph: Jason Lowe

In our final look at the modish bottles capable of providing vinous pleasure this Christmas, three of our Berry Bros. & Rudd team members – Richard Veal, Fergus Stewart and Martin Hudson MW – look to the far reaches of the Old and New Worlds for the brightest stars.

Richard Veal on South Africa, New Zealand and Australia 

This Christmas I’ll be drinking David Mazza’s 2009 Graciano. Mazza Wines represent a new wave of experimentation with varieties and wine styles in Australia. This native Iberian variety, rarely seen outside Rioja, is vinified with the lightest of touches to deliver a wine of subtlety and finesse, without compromising its fantastic fruit concentration and definition. From the relatively unknown region of Geographe to the north of Margaret River we are presented with a fresh, red-fruited wine with Asian spice highlights that will marry exceptionally with my roast goose on Christmas Day.

Fergus Stewart on the Americas

The Americas are a wonderful source of wines of all shapes and sizes for covering your Christmas needs. California still leads in the USA, as does Mendoza in Argentina for the South Americans, but great strides are being made across both continents, with Chile especially offering exceptional value. Domaine Drouhin’s Dundee Hills Pinot Noir will be my red of choice for turkey this year, although Zinfandel also works brilliantly with its bright berry fruit matching the essential trimmings. Alpamanta’s superb Natal Malbec, the first biodynamic wine in Argentina, would be a perfect match for beef, such is the grape’s affinity to red meat, and is best decanted an hour or so before drinking.

Martin Hudson MW on emerging regions

What to drink over the festive season is always a dilemma – does one go classic or opt for something more esoteric?  We all love our Christmas Claret and Burgundy, but I will be savouring some different tastes this December.  A very appropriate accompaniment to the main event, given its provenance, would be the remarkable Recanati Winery Wild Carignan, a rich, full bodied Israeli red with supple tannins and hints of blueberry, black cherry and damson.  Christmas pudding is always a challenge, it being so rich and sweet.  Many Sauternes would quake at the thought of accompanying plum pudding, but not so the historic sweet wine of Cyprus, Commandaria, whose dark toffee and raisin character perfectly matches the character of the grand finale.  Why not dare to be different this year?

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