A Christmas list


Photograph: Simon Peel

Photograph: Simon Peel

With advent underway, Damian Carrington from our agency arm – Fields, Morris & Verdin – collates the wines and spirits featuring on his colleagues’ Christmas menus, offering insight into what those in the trade will be drinking on 25th December.

Christmas is a time of lists, as everyone knows, whether it is your own to do list, endless lists for shopping and Christmas supplies, or for those of you with young, (spoiler alert!) still-believing children, the most poignant of all, the list for Mr Claus. It is also – in our business – the time for agonising and debating what really is the best match with turkey, or what really is the best medicine to help one drown out dear little nephew Jim and his new harmonica/drum kit/recorder…

Well, dear reader, I have succumbed to a list too this year: I have pooled the collective knowledge and experience of my colleagues here in the Agency division of Berry Bros. & Rudd to come up with their definitive Christmas tipples.

For the present-opening or apéritif stage a German Spätlese from a great producer like Willi Schaefer fits the bill. The low alcohol content means that it is totally acceptable to start drinking early while unwrapping gifts. The other classic is Champagne, perhaps Jacquesson Cuvée 738 or for those with a penchant for buying English the fabulous Hambledon Classic Cuvée.

For the classic roast turkey, colleagues have plumped for Cru Beaujolais as a good match, preferable in the much approved magnum format – perhaps something like the 2013 Morgon Côte de Py this year, shared grudgingly. We also had some great recommendations for duck (confit or roasted) ideally something from the Côte de Nuits and a great producer, maybe the 2007 Nuits-St Georges, Les Pruliers from Grivot.

Selections for Christmas pudding or cake were fairly classic, ranging from a southern French Maury to the classic East India from Lustau in Jerez. While very much a wine-focused business, I wasn’t surprised to find colleagues recommending spirits for the season. These ranged from Lustau’s Gran Solera Brandy, through vintage Armagnac from Nismes-Delclou and our very own Glenrothes Select Reserve, to the quite brilliant Berrys’ own-label Guyanan Rum. We also had a vote for Bual Madeira combined with dried fruit, nuts and suitably trashy Christmas tv.

Finally a colleague who grew up in Normandy suggested the delights of Pinot Gris from Alsace with galette des rois (a frangipane tart containing a ceramic bean – a fève – in it. The person who finds the bean gets a crown and is “king” for the day).

Whatever your tipple may be on 25th December, I wish you all a very happy Christmas!

Browse our seasonal collection of wines, spirits and gifts on bbr.com.